Any Questions?

Any Questions?

Even though the weather is still snowy, you’ll definitely note the difference between the spring and fall semester. Your assignments will emulate those you’ll be given in the workforce, you’ll feel the pressure to network more and of course, people around you will begin to receive offers. The best way to find a position for yourself is to just keep meeting new people. Whether you meet them in the fall at Newhouse or through LinkedIn, it’s always great to set up a date to speak in person. It’s hard to ask questions at these meetings because you always wonder if it’s too obvious or if you’re overstepping. In my experience though, here’s a few good ones to ask that you might already be thinking about yourself:

• How long would I have for this project in a work context?

At Newhouse, your professors strive to give the most realistic experience possible. At the same time though, you’re taking four different classes that focus on different fields of your area. While you’ll certainly be at an advantage having so many different skills at hand, it’s likely you’ll have a specialty in your industry and you’ll have numerous projects operating at once. So in reality, what are the expectations? Asking this might seem bold, but in truth, it’ll show that you’re thinking about your work in a serious manner.

• What can I learn or improve now?

When you’re talking to someone with potential hiring power, they want to hear that you’re willing to listen to and respond to their feedback. Advice to learn a new program or to brush up your portfolio here or there shouldn’t be taken negatively. For one, they’ll only give you critiques that they know you’re capable of responding to. Secondly, you have to see it as a gift. It’s an opportunity to better your work, and then once you’ve addressed what they’ve pointed out, you can reach out to them again with the improvements. Not only does this start an organic conversation, but it shows them that you can be given an assignment and accomplish it within a timely manner.

• What is it like to work at your company?

This always feels like a scary one. But the truth is, you need to know the specifics of wherever you might be going and you need to know before your first day. You should know how people dress and what kind of space you’ll be given. Or maybe you’re interested in hearing about the equipment you would be given (or not) and how it affects your work. The way daily life functions could affect your interest in the position to begin with. Most of all, it’s a cue to the other person that you’re interested in working specifically for them.

There’s a key balance to strike here and in the end, you can only trust your gut about how these meetings should go. Sure, you want to be conversational with them and be yourself—that’s how they get to know you, right? But always keep in mind that more than anything, you want to learn from them. Even if things don’t work out in the end with this person, you’ll learn something applicable to real life–you’ll have a contact that got to know the real you–and hey, you might even learn something about your professional self.

Isabel Drukker
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