URI students practice interview skills, compete to win $600

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KINGSTON, R.I. – September 27, 2011 – “I am glad that we could find time to conduct this interview. Why don’t you start off by telling me a little about yourself?”

The question that college students and new job-seekers always know the answer to, yet never know how to respond. It can be difficult to sum up all the important information, touching upon academic accomplishments and mixing in unique experiences, in just a few sentences. Without rehearsal, a qualified applicant’s unorganized response could cost him a job.

University of Rhode Island Career Services and Walgreens have teamed up to sponsor the “Tell Me About Yourself” video contest. URI students film their 30- to 60-second responses and upload them to the URI Career Services Facebook page for a chance to win a cash prize. Videos can be submitted until Oct. 24 at 4:30 p.m. The general public voting period is in session until Oct. 31 at 4:30 p.m.

This is the first time URI has run this contest. Kate Chroust, a career advisor for Career Services, knew of other organizations that had held similar contests in the past and thought it would be a fun opportunity for URI students.

“It’s a simple, but hard question,” said Chroust of the contest topic. “Oftentimes, it is an employer’s first impression of a prospective employee. We want students to hone in on their strengths and create a concise, informative pitch that they can actually use when networking and interviewing.”

The first-place winner will be determined by the number of votes cast, and by a panel of employers and Career Services professionals. Chroust said she is looking for creativity and professionalism. The second-place winner will be determined solely by the number of votes the video receives. First prize is $600 and second prize is $300. Winners will be personally notified on Nov. 2 and announced publicly on Nov. 8 at the Fall Internship and Job Fair in the Memorial Union between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Career Services representatives hope that running the contest through Facebook, a favorite social networking tool for young adults, will appeal to students. Its homepage (career.uri.edu) has a link to a YouTube video that shows the dos and don’ts of interviewing.

Pictured above:

INTERVIEW PRACTICE: Danielle Sanda, a sophomore at URI, rehearses her interview introduction pitch as part of the Career Services contest to win $600.