Author: Sean Qi
Year course was taken: 2014W
Mark obtained: 97%
By the time this blog post is on the CMP website, you would have completed your resume and cover letter assignment. Although the resume and cover letter is undoubtedly the most important part of the course, COMM 202 isn’t over! There are still three assignments remaining that count for a considerable portion of your final grade – the Networking Reflection, the Informational Interview and the Job Interview. These assignments aren’t designed to be tricky at all, but approaching them right way will lead to the best results.
Before I continue, for any first years that stumble upon this blog post, I would recommend registering for COMM 202 next semester if there are any spots remaining. There are a couple of tutorial sections reserved for first years specifically, and it would be wise to take this course sooner rather than later. COMM 202 is on par with COMM 101 assignment wise, and in my opinion, it is easier to take the course in first year because you don’t have to balance 202 with more intense second year courses. If you’re in second year, tell your first year friends about this right away!
- NETWORKING REFLECTION:
The COMM 202 networking event gives you an opportunity to speak with esteemed upper-year students and Sauder faculty members. You might have received the delegate list already. Try not to rely on this resource too much, because it takes too much time to locate the delegates that you are most interested in meeting when there are 200+ people in CPA Hall. In short, DO NOT focus on pursuing individual delegates.
The best piece of advice I can offer is to talk to the people around you and ask intuitive questions about topics that you are curious about (you can prepare some general questions beforehand), or join other conversations and listen to the dialogue. Alternatively, speak with another 202 student and take the time to learn more about their background and experiences – you can definitely mention this in your reflection!
Ultimately, networking is supposed to help you learn, and the written reflection specifically looks for what you took away from the event. Stepping out of your comfort zone and speaking with delegates or students you wouldn’t normally talk to will provide you with plenty of new insights can be incorporated in your assignment.
- INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW:
Your biggest enemy for this assignment is PROCRASTINATION. The Informational Interview requires a lot of effort on your part because you need to schedule an in-person meeting with a business professional – you are NOT ALLOWED to interview a family member, UBC student or faculty member!
A lot of people underestimate the amount of time it takes to contact someone and arrange a meeting. Occasionally, the person you are interested in speaking to may take ages to reply to your message, or they may not reply at all. It might be difficult to schedule a time that works, forcing the interview to take place later than expected. The worst case scenario is having the other person cancel the interview last minute because something came up.
To help you with this assignment, I recommend that you…
- Start looking for people to interview RIGHT NOW. It may not be possible to schedule an interview before the due date if you start the assignment in December, especially since many people tend to start their vacations during this time. If you start now, you actually have time to arrange another interview if your first one falls through.
- Contact multiple people simultaneously to increase your odds of finding someone that can meet you.
- Don’t be afraid to contact someone that you have never met before – just make sure to introduce yourself properly and describe the purpose of the interview in your initial email. Business professionals are usually super friendly and love to share their experiences!
- THE (DREADED) JOB INTERVIEW:
If you have not interviewed for a job or club position in the past, the professional interview will be an interesting experience for sure. You will be interviewed by a current COMM 202 TA, who will ask you several questions pertaining to your job posting, resume and cover letter. The TA will read these documents before the interview begins. My tips for the interview are:
- For each interview, there are three questions that are ALWAYS asked by the interviewer – (1) tell me about yourself, (2) describe your strengths and (3) describe a weakness. It is a good idea to devote some preparation time for the three questions listed above.
- Review your Skills Matrix! The stories that you submitted for this assignment are directly applicable to the interview, where behavioral questions force you to mention experiences that happened to you in the past. The Skills Matrix divides each story into STARL format, which is the recommended way to organize your answer for these types of questions.
- More often than not, we are unaware of the body movements that we display while speaking. Over the top body movements can be very distracting to the interviewer. Practice speaking in front of a friend or a TA at office hours, who can identify these movements and help you correct them.
- Don’t rush into each question! This is a bad habit that has hurt me in past interviews. Take a few seconds to collect your thoughts, as it will help you deliver a more organized answer. For questions that really stump you, don’t be afraid to spend some time thinking about the question before speaking.
- Prepare at least three questions to ask the interviewer. This is something that you have control over, so make sure that your questions really display your interest for the role. Writing them down in your padfolio also helps, as it shows the interviewer that you took the time to prepare them in advance.
- Try not to sound too rehearsed. Preparing too much is sometimes just as bad as not preparing at all. Overpreparation ultimately makes your responses sound unnatural, which is super obvious to the TA interviewing you. To ensure that your answers sound authentic, try to avoid preparing or reciting scripted answers for common interview questions. If you want to remind yourself of important points that you would like to mention during the interview, it might help to write down a brief set of notes to keep yourself on track. In short, be flexible with how you approach these interview questions!
- RELAX AND HAVE FUN!
I certainly wish I wrote this blog sooner, but I hope these tips will help you guys end COMM 202 on a high note. Best of luck! Also, for anyone taking 202 next semester, I will write another blog post next semester covering the full course. 🙂