November 16, 2012
Knox College students got the opportunity to sharpen their job-interviewing and networking skills when a dozen Knox alumni returned to campus to conduct mock interviews and offer career advice.
"This is a good way for students to get an insight into different professions," said Tarere Eyimina, a senior from Lagos, Nigeria, who is majoring in economics and international relations. She interviewed with Dave Lambert '70 of V3 Realty Company in Woodridge, Illinois, and with Letitia Schactner '58, a former legislative aide.
Knox junior Devin Compton did a considerable amount of research to prepare for his interview with John Heyer '68, owner of Kettle Moraine Coatings in Wisconsin.
"When I first sat down, he asked me what I knew about his company. That's when I told him all that I had found," said Compton, an anthropology-sociology major from Aurora, Illinois. "He gave me more details, and then we started talking about the fact that his factory produces the face mask for my (Prairie Fire football) helmets. It was a good way to relate to him."
Heyer said he enjoyed interacting with students at the October 18 event, which was planned by the Center for Career & Pre-Professional Development and the Knox College Alumni Council. About 30 students participated in the mock interviews and about 100 students attended a networking session afterward in the Lincoln Room of Seymour Union.
"What was nice about this was it was something tangible that we could put together that could offer something of value to a group of students. It was a lot of fun," Heyer said.
"Inevitably, they're going to have to be interviewed, so we gave them a practice run that didn't have any consequences," he added. "Hopefully, there were some things that we could teach them or give them advice on that will serve them when they do it for real."
Josh Gunter, a Knox senior from Blue Springs, Missouri, said that's exactly what happened when he interviewed with Dave Lambert.
"I got some really great tips on how to review my resume, and also some points on how to answer questions so that I'm focused on the results of things I've done," said Gunter, an art history major.
Weizhi Feng, a Knox junior from Xian, China, (photo above left) said his interview with Marty Glickman '80 of Northwestern Mutual helped him learn more about the life insurance and financial services industry.
Glickman "also mentioned since Knox is a small community, networking is very important, and people like him are definitely the ones you want to look for when you need help," said Feng, an economics major. "Opportunities like this are unique, especially for international students like me."
Knox senior Kristal Romero, an international relations major from Manteca, California, found she had a lot in common with Letitia Schactner (in photo below right, speaking with a student), who served as legislative aide to former state Senator Carl Hawkinson and former state Representative Tom McMaster. Romero worked as an intern last summer in the district office of United States Representative Jerry McNerney of California.
"It was fun to swap stories about daily things that would happen in an office, and it was nice to have confirmation that what I did in an internship is something that an actual alum was doing as a career," said Romero, who hopes to work in a congressional office or with the U.S. State Department. "That was really cool to get to talk to her and have her tell me that I do have the right experience and I am actually on the right path."
Knox senior Hannah Basil, an economics major from Chicago, Illinois, summed up the evening.
"It was a great opportunity to get real practice in interviewing, which is a skill that we don't really get practice for," she said. "You're talking about your skills and accomplishments. That does take practice. "
"And it was done by our biggest cheerleaders," she added. "Knox alumni just want to give you feedback and help."