by Adina Zinn, Founder of Love Your Work Career Coaching
Hailey was finishing up her degree in Microbiology at UC Berkeley when she reached out to me. Her long-range plans were to attend medical school, but she wanted to take a break from school to get some work experience.
She was trying to find a job, but she wasn’t having much luck and the pressure from her parents wasn’t helping. She dutifully applied for multiple positions and even landed a few interviews, but they had not gone well. Even more troubling, her lack of success started to erode her confidence and she found her performance in interviews continued to deteriorate: she didn’t know how to answer questions about her background, her mind went blank when asked tough questions and she even found herself babbling about unrelated topics. She wasn’t getting called back for follow up interviews and was really frustrated. She knew she needed help but didn’t know where to start.
Hailey’s Main Struggles
The biggest hurdles preventing Hailey from landing a great post-college job were:
- She needed help with her resume and cover letters.
- Her Linked In profile needed a touch-up.
- She felt totally unprepared for interviews as they made her extremely nervous. She found interviews to be super stressful and felt she had flailed in previous interviews.
- She didn’t really know how or where to look for jobs and had no idea what to expect for starting pay.
Hailey Worked Hard
Hailey and I got right to work. Together we:
- Revised her resume to highlight her strengths and abilities and create customized cover letters for each job to which she applied.
- Explored LinkedIn, and I taught her how to use keywords, search for jobs, and follow up with hiring managers after submitting her resume.
- Went to Glassdoor and PayScale to scope out an expected salary range to set her expectations.
Within a week or so Hailey was called for an interview by a great company.
To prepare Hailey, we:
- Extensively reviewed applicable job descriptions, focusing on framing Hailey’s interview responses to meet the job requirements.
- Taught her to express her answers in terms of her accomplishments, always focusing on her contributions to the organization.
- Did some mock interviews, rehearsed her answers to common interview questions, and discussed how to answer a few not-so-common questions.
- Created a list of questions for her to ask the interviewer to learn about the company and position.
- Helped her create her STAR (situation, task, action, results) stories to illustrate her strengths and accomplishments on the spot. We practiced her answers and worked on using ways her stories could be used to answer multiple questions.
Hailey Got a Job
Hailey felt prepared and ready to go into her interviews.
- She knew what she needed to say and how to make the case that she was the best candidate for the position.
- Hailey nailed all the interviews. She was unflappable throughout the conversations and responded to tricky questions calmly and with ease. She knew when to end her answers and when to continue her explanations. She connected on a personal level with her interviewers and asked thoughtful questions that impressed the employers. She felt good about her performance and was proud of herself for representing her background accurately.
- Hailey was presented with a fabulous offer working in a lab at a Biotech company doing cutting edge Covid-19 research. She happily accepted.
- She went from not knowing how to look for a job and dreading interviews to employed with a great company in an exciting position in less than a month.