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Impress, don't stress! Tips to help you stand out during (and after) an interview

Each semester, Cronkite Career Services hosts several interview days to help students secure internships. We spoke with seasoned Cronkite Interview Day hiring managers who shared what they look for when hiring Cronkite interns as well as tips to help students perfect their interviewing skills and stand out on interview day. 


1. Make a good first impression

You never get a second chance at a first impression so it's critical that you make those first moments you interact with a hiring manager count. The way you say hello, your attitude, your posture; these are all things that hiring managers analyze when they first meet you to get a sense of what kind of intern you'll be.


"It's everything," Deborah Sedillo-Dugan, station manager at PHXTV said. "I can tell you, I know right when interviewing you students, right off the bat, whether you're going to fit for us or not."

To make a good first impression, dress appropriately (yes, even on Zoom) and to project confidence and a positive energy.


"We can pick up on the vibe very quickly," Ivana Morales, Cronkite alumna and account manager at Evolve PR & Marketing said. "From the first moment that you lock eyes with us ... we know if you're excited about the position, if you're really interested."


2. Research the company ahead of the interview

One of the biggest mistakes a student can make is not doing any research about the company they want to interview with. Knowing at least the basic information about the company, like their mission statement, goals and values are an easy way to show your interest in the station. The internship shouldn't be viewed as just another part of your college curriculum, you should view it as a networking and personal growth opportunity.


"I don't expect you to know all the different departments we have,"Kaila White, Cronkite School alumna and breaking news editor at the Arizona Republic and azcentral.com said. "It is worth knowing, at least familiarizing yourself a little bit. I think one good way to do that is to look up the work of current interns, so you at least have an idea of what it is you're going to be doing."


3. Send a thank you note

Sending a post-interview thank you note is a great way to let the interviewer know that you genuinely appreciate their time and shows that you are interested in joining their organization.


"It's great to get an email; I love getting emails the same day," Sedillo Dugan said. "Icing on the cake ... in the next day or two I receive a thank you note in the mail and I'm like 'wow, this person has it going on.'"


We recommend going one step further by including something personalized for each note rather than writing a uniform version that is sent to everyone. Take notes during your interview and jot down things that you talk about. You can then include that kind of information in your thank you note. This will not only help the interviewer remember you, but also show them that you were actively listening and that you were engaged in the conversation.


To learn more about these and other best practices, stream the full discussion here. This workshop was originally recorded during the 2020 Fine Tune Friday series hosted by the Cronkite School.

Current Cronkite School students are welcome to book a one-on-one Resume, Portfolio and LinkedIn Review Sessions with any member of our Cronkite Career Services team. Visit www.cronkitecareerservices.com/our-team to book an appointment.

More About Fine Tune Fridays:

Fine Tune Fridays offer students tips on how to fine-tune their professional persona from their resume to their wardrobe. Workshops are open to all Cronkite students and alumni, and are hosted virtually via Zoom. For a full schedule of upcoming events, visit: www.cronkitecareerservices.com/fine-tune-fridays.

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