It’s interview season at the Institute. And it’s an interesting time as we’re applying for the same positions AND cheering for each other’s success. But guess what? We’ve all been through the same coursework. We’ve proven ourselves with numerous certifications. We’ve gained invaluable practicum experience. And we’re all equally qualified for these opportunities.
So now we’re challenged to find the answer to the following key question:
What makes you unique?
A Variety of Educational Backgrounds
At the Institute diversity abounds! Yes, our program is comprised of students who have studied math and statistics, marketing, business and economics, and science and engineering, but there’s also some of the most fascinating degrees here:
- Criminal Justice
- Diplomacy and World Affairs
- Exercise Science
- Food Science
- Middle Eastern Studies
- Religious Studies
- Women and Gender Studies
What does a unique background mean for the career search? We can all solve analytical challenges, but each brings a unique point of view to solving problems.
In a recent interview, I was faced with the following question:
You come from an engineering background, why financial analytics?
At first glance, this question might seem like a challenge, but it is an ideal opportunity to showcase unique skill sets and thought processes.
A Variety of Experiences
By the same token, we’ve all had experiences that define who we are. Sure, work experience falls in that category, but so do internships, lab research, volunteering, Institute homework teams, and our practicum projects. The benefit of all these experiences is that there’s a story waiting to be told.
In all interviews, there’s the potential to be asked several back-to-back questions that begin with:
Tell me about a time when…
Leverage these questions to tell your story and how you are a uniquely qualified candidate for the position.
A Vibrant Life Outside of Education and Work Experience
A final point to consider: What makes you, you? You aren’t just the sum of your education and work experiences. What do you do when you get home from school and/or work? There’s plenty of things you do in your spare time that make you an interesting person.
In recent interviews, I’ve been asked:
What are your hobbies?
We all spend our free time in different ways: it might be playing a sport, playing an instrument, playing nerdy games, crushing it in a video game, or weightlifting to achieve certain goals.
When the topic of hobbies comes up, don’t be shy! Tell your interviewer what those things are. You’d be surprised where the conversation will go and you’ll be unforgettable!