A Moment Of Self Reflection

Sketch by Marc Mercado

By Marc Mercado

I remember when I switched my studies from concrete industry management (CIM) to interior architecture my freshman year. Even the architecture advisor questioned why I wanted to switch programs considering how successful CIM is.

That was the reason why I chose CIM for my academic career at Chico State. At that point in my life, I was driven by the expectations others set for me, with hopes of leaping over the poverty line. It only took the introductory course to push myself to look into other avenues– if this was going to be my full-time career I needed something more;

I was on a line: “to be a concrete man, or to know that I can [succeed without sacrificing]”.

With a minor in theatre arts, I looked forward to pursuing a program that included media arts. I came across the Media, Art, Design and Technology department, researched the major advisors, and I got in touch with Jennifer Meadows.

I hoped that she would be able to tell that I was lost and this was where I belonged, but my path continued to change and after that meeting, I kept looking. I was honestly intimidated by something new.

I thought, “if I’m worried about learning new skills/software in this academic path, then why not look for something that already encompasses my own skills and knowledge?”

Then I found interior architecture, so I figured, I know how to draw, I love design, and this will also satisfy two important areas of my life: family expectations and financial goals. There was much to love about this major, and to this day, I look back and wonder what life would have been like.

  Int. Architecture sketches by Marc

Fall was turning into winter. I was burning up and freezing at the same time; during this time my mental health was declining so during break, I flew to Mexico. Being outside of the country where I studied and worked felt incredibly liberating, I was surrounded by the beautiful Michoacán coast, the most blue skies and the greenest plants. This place is a sanctuary to me, it’s where I spent most of my childhood.

Playa Chuquiapan by Marc Mercado

A month turned into one more night and then I was in the sky, flying back “home”. There was still a lot of healing to be done, I hadn’t spent time thinking about the things I was still dealing with, but at least had a new academic plan.

It’s Junior Year, the first semester is a breeze, I joined AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) and felt comfort knowing I was part of a design community. I forgot to mention that every time I went to academic advising for my major changes, I had to do all the “figuring it out” and show up with a plan. The absolute best advice I got was from a friend, Luciana, who encouraged me to pursue this graphic design path.

The second semester was unexpected. My confidence level in this new program was low, but I knew I was still learning. I felt like I wasn’t doing enough “graphic design” and was still figuring out how I could find passion in this form of art and design. During this semester there were many new professors in the department and talks about how some would say “ you should’ve learned X in Jane Doe’s class”. The unveiling of Chico State’s rebrand happened during the same time students in our program were being told they wouldn’t be able to graduate on time due to class shortages and the entirety of at least two classes emailed the department with concerns about a discourteous professor.

With all this going on, I wasn’t sure of my place here at Chico State. The more I fell in love with graphic design, and learned about how to use it to communicate, to express and to create art, the more I saw how unimportant I was to my university. I turned my cheek and saw the Academy of Arts in San Francisco. Immediately, I began planning; I reached out and began the application process.

I was on the phone with Chico State but they kept me on hold. The Academy was ringing but the minutes were too expensive. I felt like I needed better guidance, I needed professors that cared, a campus that recognized my passion. I was going to end up paying more out of pocket than I ever did at Chico and could tell that my ambition was too much for my family, for our bank accounts. It was only going to be an online program anyway.

A letter was sent to my address, from the Academy. I got in, it all came down to the story I wanted to tell:

Work with what I’m given and persevere? Or succumb to a for-profit school and find myself in a worse financial situation?

Clearly, I chose the former option. It’s like this mantra I heard some years back about how a good artist can work under any circumstance.

Projects done by Marc Mercado
Projects done by Marc Mercado
Projects done by Marc Mercado
Projects done by Marc Mercado

Let’s Talk Professional Communication!

Up Your Email Game Today!

By Skylar Trostinsky

If you’ve ever met me in person, you know I have quite the personality. It’s much easier for me (and many other professionals) to talk with someone face-to-face. This way we can effectively spread information, view body language, and make connections! Alas, this now virtual world has been inundated with digital communication and that means we must learn how to be professional in person and through text, too. 

Communicating with an agency, client or representative can be a daunting task. Do you keep it dim and straight to the point? Or do you add a bit of flare and personality? I mean, you want to express who you are, especially when you work in public relations, right? With a semester of email chains, project delegation and more under my belt, I have learned a few tips and tricks for communicating online. 

  1. Set Goals for Emails 

Staying organized is key to receiving useful documents and information. Before typing emails to agencies, clients or coworkers it’s important to set goals within the communication chain. That person is just as busy as you, so do them and yourself a favor by creating an outline of who you are writing to, what you need from the recipient and what you want them to respond with.

  1. Use Your Subject Line!

When considering the workload your recipient may be dealing with, it’s imperative to use brief, catchy subjects that include keywords. With this, your reader will know exactly what to expect when clicking on your email or maybe even be tempted to respond. 

  1. Be Clear and Concise 

Avoid using an excessive amount of words in emails, especially when providing instructions. Separate thoughts, questions and suggestions with paragraph breaks, bullet points, etc. to highlight information. This also allows recipients to quickly skim through text and find their to-do’s! 

Utilize appropriate punctuation and refrain from using ALL CAPS. Although it’s OK to bold and capitalize some notes, you never want the addressee to feel like you are shouting at them. 

  1. Be Polite and Be Yourself 

Here comes the question of whether personality is necessary, or appropriate, in an email chain. Although clarity and conciseness are imperative aspects to communication, you should never hide your character from anyone! It’s just critical that you remain professional and consistent with a soft, inviting tone. Check out READCITY’s “5 Clever Ways To Give Your Business Emails Personality” for more tips.

  1. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread!

As a PR professional, one of the worst things you can do when communicating with other experts is to send emails without reading them over. Typos may send negative messages about you or your organization and generally come off as unprofessional. 

A way to make sure your emails are grammatically correct and have been spell checked is by writing them in a separate document first. Doing this has helped me draft numerous messages, with different formats to ultimately choose which version will best convey my points. 

“Although clarity and conciseness are imperative aspects to communication, you should never hide your character from anyone! It’s just critical that you remain professional and consistent with a soft, inviting tone.”

-Skylar Trostinsky

Professional communication doesn’t end in email chains! Further your credibility, express yourself and improve relationships by taking skills such as goal setting, clarity and politeness to group and one-on-one meetings. Email away!

Resources: 

Tips For Professional Emails

Effective Email Communication In The Workplace

Tips To Help You Stay Organized

Pen and notebook

By Madison Starboin

Staying organized is very important, especially in the world of public relations.

As a college student I am balancing so many responsibilities, so for me staying organized is not only a priority, but it is how I survive my crazy schedule. 

I work 16-18 hours per week, I have four classes, and I have an internship that requires about 10-12 hours per week of meetings and work. If it wasn’t for staying organized and using my first 3 years of college to find a system that works for me. 

Here are a few tips I’ve learned about staying organized and finding the right system for you.

The first and most obvious thing is to try different time-management systems to see what works best for you. There are a variety of different ways to keep track of your schedule and tasks. This is important because the older you get the busier your schedule is and the more vital it is for you to be organized. Some people use paper calendars or planners to keep track of events and assignments. For me, I have found that online methods work better for me because I can set reminders and check the schedule without carrying around a bulky calendar.

Remember, this is trial and error, so if something does not work, there are always other methods.

The internet is an amazing tool for finding out how people stay organized.

Another tip that I have is if your work, school, or internship requires you to use a tool or recommends a certain tool, try it out. Even if you don’t like it or aren’t required to use it, it is free so it is worth a shot to see if it works for you. For example, my internship uses basecamp which I love for having a central place to post and access documents.

This tip only works if you like using online tools to stay organized, but I highly recommend using Google. Google a ton of free tools to help you stay organized and you are easily able to access them from anywhere. I use google calendar for organizing my schedule. I set reminders, add events, and keep track of tasks. I can even put color codes and have the app send me a reminder 30 minutes before the event. It is also easy to delete or repeat events. The best thing of all is that it is completely free and there is no subscription fee to be able to use most of their products. 

Within the Google Suite, I absolutely love using Google Keep. For those of you who don’t know what Google Keep is, it is virtual sticky notes and lists. I use this for my class assignments and tasks for TGC. I color code them and make checklists. This way I can see all the things I need to do for all my classes and internships in one organized place.

The last tip that I have is to keep a communication log. This is something I learned at work. I work in the Whitney hall mailroom and communicating with people after your shift is key. We use an online excel sheet to make notes about packages or anything that may happen on another shift. I have found that this is helpful when people work at different times, so it may not be something that works for your environment

I hope that these tips have inspired you to stay organized or at least gave you ideas on how to spice up how you organize your life!

Online Resources for Graphic Design

Graphic design of a laptop

By Claudia O’Brien

As a graphic designer, having a foundational knowledge of graphic design principles is essential but can always be helped with tools and resources. 

“We live in an age where there is endless information and material provided by renowned designers and artists online for free.” – Claudia O’Brien

I believe using this online field of information to an advantage is essential to any design student looking to advance their skills. In this blog, I will feature several of my most favored resources online.

Chico State’s Adobe Creative Cloud

I shouldn’t write a blog about this topic without mentioning our university’s prepaid subscription to Adobe. Adobe Creative Cloud is a subscription package that enables access to all Adobe software, fonts, free images, and more. If you’re a student enrolled at Chico State, all you need to do is submit a request to the university’s IT support team and download the Adobe Creative Cloud dashboard. The university offers this service completely free for students.

Colors

Sometimes knowing color theory isn’t enough to create an appealing set of hues right out of your head. My first go-to is Coolors.co. Fabrizio Bianchi founded the website and is a web developer known for creating exceptional and contemporary websites. 

The biggest sell on this particular site is its highly interactive color palette generator. The generator displays attractive color palettes that can be randomized to another color palette, customized by individual hue, be tested for color blindness/accessibility, and many more features on the same web page. Each generated color has its color codes on display for users that are looking for the most suitable hues for screens and printing. Besides the generator, the website has other unique features: hundreds of palettes created and shared by other users, a tool for picking colors from images, and a contrast checker.

Free Images

Free images are classified as public domain- they do not require copyright and royalty fees. Unsplash.com is a beginner-friendly site that has many high-quality free images. The website does not require users to make an account, and there is no limit on the number of images you can download. The images are categorized by themes of Travel, Nature, Business, etc. The site also offers a search engine. When clicked, each photo lists the photographer’s name, the location, and the type of camera used.

Mockups

A mockup is a model meant to display a product or design. An example is a design that has been digitally applied to an image of a T-shirt. When a design is shown to a client, they want to see what the design looks like on the product, not just the design by itself. Mockups can be created within Adobe software, but that takes time and skill. Smartmockups.com offers many customizable mockups free of charge. Users can upload their design to any of the offered images and 3D models and download a JPEG of a completed mockup image.

All in all, countless more free resources are available. I encourage any designer to take advantage of them, as they are there to be used! If you’re interested in learning about more design resources, this article provides various websites to check out.

How To Photograph For An Interview

By Thalia Avila

Great news! You just finished an interview, but now you need to add a photo to complete the story. Snapping a great photograph of a subject can seem intimidating at first, but fear no more. I hope that after reading this blog, your confidence will boost and intimidation will no longer be a factor.

Before you begin the photo session, start out with an email. Remember, email etiquette is important and needs to have a professional tone, clear wording with direct questions. The next step will be to set a date for the interview. After finishing up the interview, make sure to spend five minutes at the end to set a time and location for the photo session. 

If the subject is being photographed outside, the element of time is your best friend! Make sure to schedule the session in the early morning or evening to get the best lighting possible. As the subject is being photographed, make sure to keep the conversation comfortable and flowing. Ask your subject about their hobbies and interests. If their kids are brought up in the conversation and they smile, keep them talking! Observe how your subject reacts when asked how they feel about coming home to their dog or cat later. Always be mindful of the subject of the story. Integrate humor if it is appropriate, and always create a welcoming environment for your subject. 

Be mindful of your subject’s time and schedule. Photo sessions should only last about 30 minutes. Within the 30 minute window, you will want to capture as many different angles and positions possible. Do not hesitate to ask your subject to move to another bench or place in order to get the best landscape in the background or lighting. To wrap things up, make sure to thank them for their time.

Always follow up immediately after your session.  Start to sort through the photos right away to immediately eliminate the bad ones. Narrow it down to 10 photos and then five.  Once you have five great photos, make sure to send them to your subject. Sometimes the subject will pick two or three photos they are stuck with and will let you decide from those. Lightly edit the photo of their choosing if they have any concerns, and then share the final product to confirm.

Lastly, remember photographs are an important part of the story. Getting a great photo of the subject can help the story speak louder. What is an interview without a great photograph?

Overview of key tactics:

  • Email etiquette with professional tone, clear wording, and direct questions
  • Set a date for the interview
  • Lighting is everything
  • Create a comfortable and fun environment
  • Be mindful of their time and schedule
  • Keep it to 30 minutes
  • Play around with different angles and positions
  • Pick 5-10 photos
  • Follow up after the session
  • Narrow it down to five photos
  • Share final product for confirmation

Tips For Designers: How To Present Creative Work

By Sarko Sok

As designers, we learn to use our way of thinking and visualizing to our advantage, allowing us to create stunning work. We can spend hours on a single project and let our minds flow. It can be easy to become submerged in our work while diving into the creative process. That kind of passion may come to a halt for some of us when it comes to the non-design aspects of our work. This could be the organization of our files or documenting our design process as we go, but in this blog, we are going to be focusing on how to present creative work for your client.

Set your goal and know your audience

Before making a presentation, it is important to define the objective and how you can achieve it for your audience. Once that is determined, the next step is to understand your audience. Learn about their interests and motives so that you can ensure that your presentation is concise and relevant. What you are offering should feel like it is framed specifically for your client.

Tell a story

Storytelling is essential when it comes to presenting your work in any setting, and it becomes a very useful skill in life too. By being able to create a connection between you and your audience, you can spark interest in your audience and keep them engaged. Consider the tone and attitude you would like to achieve when presenting. Find a way to relate to your audience. Some examples could be through humor or shared experiences. You are essentially selling your work and your ideas so you want to sound confident and authentic. This will make your audience appreciate your presentation and trust you know what you are talking about.

Presentation visuals

The aesthetic of your presentation is equally as important as your creative work, since you’ll want to present your work as efficiently and effectively as possible. What better way to do so than by applying your design skills to the aesthetics of your presentation! 

Also, remember the design fundamentals that you apply to your creative work and do the same for your presentation.

 Some tips that help me on an everyday basis:

  • Consider your composition and utilize your negative space
  • Be creative with your text, but do not overdo it
  • Everything should still be readable 
  • Use font hierarchy to highlight important messages and clearly communicated content structure
  • Be selective with your text and take advantage of visual aids to keep the audience focused

Rehearse your presentation

A great way to work out any kinks in your presentations is to practice in advance, to ensure what works for you or what is not necessary to include. Once you familiarize yourself with all aspects of your presentation, you will be able to make the necessary adjustments to finalize everything. The presentation of your work should be treated the same way as your design work. Trial and error, revisions, and process work for design, all contribute to perfecting your work. Practicing your presentation will perfect your pitch to your client.

3 Things I Learned From Tehama Group Communications

By Benjamin Goldberg

Stepping into an internship that I knew almost nothing about, I took it upon myself to become acclimated with the environment and learn the essentials of becoming a professional Account Executive. At first, it felt as if the stress never ended and the feeling of being uncomfortable in a new setting kept growing. As cliche as it sounds, I was able to slow time down, gather all of my thoughts and emotions, and put everything that I was taught to the test. 

Here are three things I learned from TGC:

Time Management

Heading into my second semester of junior year, soon after being awarded dean’s list for the year prior, I thought I understood everything that needed to be done in order to stay on task. TGC quickly made me realize that the tools under my belt needed some improvement. Weekly tasks including team and client agendas, slide decks, timesheets, reports, and team member evaluations are just the base of what needs to be completed. As an Account Executive, you take on the role of the middleman between your team and your client, which also means constant communication, delegation of tasks, and running professional meetings. To stay on top of all of this, TGC has taught me to prioritize tasks based on timeliness and importance to the client. Once I began to prioritize my assignments and tasks as such, the light at the end of the tunnel began to shine brighter. The work I was producing was more thorough and to the best of my ability, making for a more confident self and client. 

Etiquette

Being from sunny Southern California, I never dressed in anything but shorts and a t-shirt, unless for special occasions. Even in my first couple years of college, with GE classes and online school taking up most of my time during the pandemic, there wasn’t a need to dress up. TGC has helped me realize that dressing for success actually helps one feel more confident, present, and attentive. Not only does it allow me to feel this way, but it also allows for the quality and presentation of my work to be more effective and professional. 

Teamwork

Without my team(s), there is no telling where I would be at this point in the semester. As an Account Executive, the sense of feeling that everything you touch is your responsibility creeps up on you quite often. Stress and anxiety levels run high, resulting in a poor quality of work. It is important to remember that your team members are there to help you relieve that feeling. TGC has implemented the standard of “don’t be afraid to ask for help.” Getting help is nothing to be ashamed of, but something to be proud of. It shows that you care about what you do, that you want to get better at it, and in the end, be able to help someone else who was in your shoes at one point. 

As my time at TGC comes to an end, I take it upon myself to reflect on the experiences I had and the lessons I have learned. Not only will these lessons serve me throughout the rest of my college career at Chico State University, but  also travel with me throughout my career post-grad . Everyone has to start somewhere, and to be frank, TGC was the best place to start. 

You’re Graduating! Here Are A Few Tips To Kickstart Your PR Career

By Alexis Harvey

Congratulations! You’re graduating! You have the whole world ahead of you! But you are stressed! 

The months leading up to graduation are some of the most exciting times of your life, but they can seem daunting at the same time. After all of the excitement settles down, reality sets in, and you have some decision-making to do. Where do you go from here?

It can be difficult to choose what type of PR you want to pursue or where you want to go after graduation. Here are a few ways to make these next couple of months leading up to graduation smooth and headache-free: 

Finding your niche

The best thing about PR is that it is such a diverse industry. One of the most difficult decisions public relations students face is deciding what type of PR best suits their abilities. You should think about your personal interests and unique experiences to find your niche.

A niche is a combination of your professional skills, interests, and fields you want to work in. It can be a whole department of the industry or even a specialty, such as content creation in the realm of digital media. 

Begin by asking yourself a couple of questions: 

What are my greatest strengths? Weaknesses?

What do I love to do?

What do my peers say I am best at in the world of PR?

Some PR specialists thrive in content creation while others may excel in writing. It is important to immerse yourself in all departments of public relations during your time in college to better understand your strengths in the industry. 

Deciding what area of PR interests you the most

Along with finding your niche, it is also important to tap into your personal interests to figure out what area of PR you want to work in. As an intern or in an entry-level position it is important to take this time to expose yourself to all aspects of the industry to figure out what areas of focus you enjoy working on. 

You may consider entertainment PR if you have an interest in working in the world of television, fashion, music, or celebrity culture. Your role would be to represent and promote those within the entertainment world. 

Maybe you have an interest in healthcare but don’t want to become a healthcare provider. Healthcare PR would be a great match for you! Healthcare PR reps work with various health organizations, non-profits, pharmaceutical companies, and hospitals. They act as liaisons between these organizations and the mainstream media. 

Technology PR is also a great position for those who enjoy keeping up with the newest technological advancements and gadgets. 

There are an array of PR jobs in different industries so it is important to find the one that is best suited to you.

Remember to keep going and not feel discouraged

This is probably the best advice anyone can receive after graduating from college. Yes, change is quite difficult, especially when it comes to graduating, leaving the place you have called home for the last four years, and deciding what to do next.

After finding your niche and area of expertise it is time to start applying to different jobs in different cities. It can be overwhelming in the beginning but it is important to remember to not feel discouraged. We all know how anxiety-inducing it can be to begin the interview process but it is also such an exciting time. You want to take this time to truly understand what you want out of a career and just because one company turned you down, your dream job may be right around the corner.

As a PR professional you have so many different options, but that is also the beauty of public relations. Being so new to the industry it is the perfect time to try new things. Remember that no matter what path you choose to take, all experience is a valuable experience, so don’t be afraid to begin your journey in public relations. 

Adobe Illustrator: My 5 Essential Adobe Illustrator Tools


By Miguel Villalobos

Adobe Illustrator is a popular software application that designers and artists use to create different variations of artwork. This program specializes in creating vector graphics and offers many different design tools that are great for creating things such as icons, logos and illustrations. The program can seem overwhelming for people who are just starting out, however, it does get easier over time. Throughout this piece, I will walk you through a few of my favorite tools in Illustrator that have helped me improve my workflow and skills. 

The Blend Tool

The first tool I want to talk about is the Blend Tool. This tool can be found by going to Object > Blend. This tool can help you create unique and interesting blends between multiple objects, and has different settings that allow you to customize your blends as you work. 

Below is an example of using Object > Blend > Make, while using the Smooth Color option. As you can see, it blends the shapes together and creates a gradient.

Here is an example of using the Blend Tool with letters, while changing the options from Smooth Color to Specified Steps. You can clarify how many steps you want between each shape. You can find this by going to Blend > Blend Options.

Smooth Tool

The next tool I want to talk about is the Smooth Tool. The Smooth Tool really lives up to its name. It helps you smooth out paths that may be a little more rough or wonky than you would prefer. It is great for helping sharpen up your attention to detail on different vector shapes. 

In this example, I created a shape with a few rough edges. By selecting the Smooth Tool, and just running it over the anchor points a few times, it will smoothen out the edges for you. 

Type on A Path Tool

The Type on a Path Tool is without a doubt one of my favorite tools in Illustrator. It allows for you to make text write along different paths that aren’t just horizontal or vertical. You can use it for any path that you create, whether it is by using just a plain shape or by creating a path with the Pen Tool.

Here is an example of how the Type on a Path Tool works. You can create a path using any form. For this example, I just used a circle. Using the Type on a Path Tool, you simply click on the path and it will turn your path into a guide for your text. From here, you can manipulate the text and the beginning/end of the path. 

Here is an example of the tool being used on a different path that was created using the Pen Tool. 

The Knife Tool

The next tool I want to focus on is the Knife Tool. The tool is extremely simple, yet extremely effective. It really does exactly what you would expect. It allows you to slice through paths, giving you more precision with your vector shape building. 

As you can see, you can take any vectorized shape, and simply slice through the shape and it will create a new path. You can move or remove the new sliced part of your vector to fast track your process. 

Paintbrush + Brush Library

The Paintbrush Tool is a tool that allows you to hand draw strokes onto your artboard. You can find the Paintbrush Tool on the side panel or by using its shortcut, B on the keyboard. The tool lets you give your projects more of a hands-on aesthetic to them. 

Along with the Paintbrush tool, there is a whole library of different brush strokes you can utilize. You can find the Brush Library by going to Window > Brush Libraries. The Brush Library holds strokes such as watercolor brushes, calligraphic brushes, and even different types of borders that you can expand and vectorize. 

Here is an example of the different types of brush strokes being applied. 

Wrapping up!

Illustrator can be fun and with a little time and effort, it can become easy to use. All the different tools and icons can be intimidating at first, but instead of being afraid, just jump in and play around with them. I mean, what is the worst that can happen?  When you finally learn how to use one, it can feel extremely gratifying. Add that feeling of gratification alongside gaining more overall skills as a designer, and it’s a win-win! Thank you for reading and I hope that you learned something new along the way!

Preparing For Your Job Interview: Tips And Tricks

By Trenton Taylor

It’s about that time. The school year is wrapping up and college seniors are receiving their tickets to go find real-world jobs. Those tickets are also known as their college diplomas. As we begin to see the slow decline in COVID-19 cases and the increased distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, it is becoming time to bring employees back to the office or to their field, and get things back to normal again. Below I have listed some tips and tricks that will help you ace those intense job interviews, and give you the competitive edge to get that job you have always dreamed of.

Do Your Homework

While finding the right job title is important, finding the right company to have that title under is even more important. Researching the company that you are interviewing will not only get you to understand what you are walking into, but it will also set you apart from anyone else who might be wanting that job. Taking the time to gather information and figure out what ways specifically you can help them sets a wonderful impression on employers or hiring managers.

Interviews are a two-way street

During a job interview, you are trying to learn about the company just as much as they are trying to learn about you. Employers want to see that you are taking the interview seriously and that you are thinking about what the aspects of working there look like. This article on The Balance Careers offers some thoughtful questions that one might ask during an interview:

  • What are some of the challenges facing the company?
  • Where do you see the company in 5 to 10 years?
  • What does success mean to you and this company?
  • What have previous employees in this position gone on to do?
  • I believe I’m a great fit for this company. Is there anything else I can do to dispel any doubts?

These are just a few of the questions that can set you apart from other candidates.

Practice for the cliche questions

At almost any interview that you go to, employers will ask you some of the basic interview questions that help just about anybody get a basic understanding of yourself. These questions include (but are not limited to) asking about your strengths/weaknesses, describing your work style or work ethic, if you work well with others, what sets you apart from the competition, or even the famous “tell me a little about yourself.” Preparing yourself to respond to these questions with talking points that you might have is a good way to boost your confidence before and even during the interview. The key is to not sound rehearsed but to sound confident.

The end of an interview is just as important as during the interview

Following up after the interview is very important to leave things on a good note. When the interview is over, asking your interviewer or hiring manager about the next steps or what to expect will allow you to be prepared for anything you might have to do on your end, such as setting up for a future interview. Another good thing to do is to send follow-up emails to those who interviewed you thanking them for their time while reviewing specific points from the interview. This sets a good work ethic example and shows that you were taking it seriously. Asking for business cards at the end is a good way to get that contact information.