Interview Preparation

As students and alums start to look for their first internship or job, it is important to know some of the items needed to be successful. Below are resources to help navigate searching for your new job or internship opportunity.  

Elevator Speech

Also known as a unique sales proposition, an elevator pitch is a short description of who you are, what you do and what makes you stand out from the rest. It is called an elevator pitch because you should be able to share this information with someone in the amount of time it takes to ride in an elevator. You may be sharing this information with a potential employer or a potential client. It should sound authentic and not rehearsed (but you should rehearse it!). You need to have your pitch prepared and be ready to share it at any moment or any occasion. You never know when you will be talking to a potential future employer or a potential future patient/client. It could be at a party, a networking event, or, yes, even an elevator.  

Watch this short video for more inspiration.

Informational Interview

An informational interview is not a job interview. It is a meeting with a person who has knowledge and experience in a particular field, career or business that you’re interested in. Informational interviews are a great way to get more information about a field that you are considering, talk to experienced professionals about a business idea, or get information about a specific company or employment opportunity. First, research the career or business. Then find contact information for a few people that you would like to interview. If you don’t have actual names, you can research job titles and then ask to speak with a person in that role. You can email or call to schedule the interview. Start by saying that you are interested in a career in this field and that you would appreciate spending 15 or 20 minutes with this person to ask a few questions. The interview can be in person, on the phone or virtual. Start off by telling the person a little about yourself and why you are interviewing them. Feel free to ask them to review your resume as well. Sample questions include:  

  • What drew you to this field?  
  • What do you find most rewarding about your work?  
  • What kinds of problems do you deal with?  
  • What kind of education or training does this role require?  
  • What is a common career path in this field?  
  • How can I get more information about this career?  
  • Is there anyone else you think I should interview?  

After the interview, send a thank you note or email. Ask to join their LinkedIn network. Keep in touch. This is a networking tool! This person may be helpful in finding you a job.  

Watch this short video for more inspiration.


Sometimes people think of networking as a difficult and uncomfortable necessity. Yes, it is difficult to try to “sell yourself” to prospective employers or clients, but networking doesn’t have to be that way. Networking can serve many purposes in many different venues. Networking is about making connections, forming relationships and learning more about your profession. It can be an information-gathering activity or a place to find mentorship. Networking is helpful whether you are looking for a job or are trying to promote your established business. Find an event that interests you and think of it as a social activity instead of putting pressure on yourself to “perform.” Networking can happen at a formal event for job seekers, but it can also happen in other contexts. It is about building relationships.  

Eager and ready to network? Here are a few ways to start:  

  • Join the University of Western States Switchboard.  
  • Choose a cause that is near and dear to your heart and volunteer to help at community events in your area. You will be surrounded by like-minded people who may help you in your job search.  
  • Join your neighborhood business association or chamber of commerce. It is a great way to make connections to people who live in your neighborhood and business owners in your business district. Letting people know who you are is beneficial whether you are looking for employment or have an established business. Volunteer on their committees to help break the ice and meet more people. You don’t have to join the chamber before attending a meeting to see what they are like. Guests are welcome at most chamber of commerce events and by alerting staff ahead of time of your planned visit, their ambassadors can help ensure that you connect with several individuals, even at your first event. Don’t be afraid to ask for more in-depth advice and connection from your local chamber staffers – they are great guides in networking.  
  • Join online groups such as Nextdoor or your neighborhood association to be part of the conversation that is going on in your neighborhood and surrounding areas.  
  • Joining organizations helps you meet people, practice professional skill-building and learn more about your profession. Professional organizations such as state licensing boards or trade associations are a great way to meet other people in your field. Often these organizations will have job opportunities posted on their website or send out emails to their members about available positions.  
  • Toastmasters International may be a good way to connect with others and build up your public speaking skills which will in turn enhance your confidence with networking.   
  • Create a LinkedIn profile so people can easily see your accomplishments and what you are looking for, and you can make connections with people in your field. UWS Alumni and Friends group coming soon.  
  • Attend trade shows, Meetups or other events in your area of interest. Talk to vendors and other attendees to get leads on people with whom you can connect about potential employment or mentorship.  
  • Moving abroad? Meet people, attend events and learn about your new location.  
  • The UWS alumni department hosts many networking events throughout the year and can help you build connections within alumni and friends community. Contact [email protected] to learn more.  
  • Keep an eye out for UWS hosted networking events! These events are great ways to connect with  UWS graduates.   
  • Ask your existing social network for referrals. Everybody knows somebody!  

Resume, Curriculum Vitae (CV), and Cover Letters

A resume and a CV are both documents that you create and submit to potential employers, but they are very different formats. Sometimes employers will specify which one you should submit to them. A resume is a summary of your education and professional experience and is limited to one or two pages. A curriculum vitae (CV) is much longer and more comprehensive and is typically used when applying for jobs in research, writing, teaching or presenting. 

Whether you use a CV or a resume, choose a font that is simple and easy to read. Intricate fonts are not only difficult to read but they may not be readable by the software an employer uses. It may be tempting to use a thin font to keep your resume down to a page or two, but readability is more important. Your name and the headers for each section can be called out by using bold, capitals, italics or a larger font size. Don’t forget to proofread your documents. Watch for spelling and grammar errors. If you’re using Microsoft Word, you can edit the document by clicking on “Review” at the top and then select “Check Document” in the left-hand corner. You can also use the Thesaurus if you need some inspiration.  

Watch this short video for more inspiration.  

Check out this sample skills and assets document to help you identify your professional assets. 

Resume Guide PDF
Curriculum Vitae PDF Guide
Cover Letter Guide PDF


An interview gives you the opportunity to showcase your qualifications to an employer so it pays to be prepared. The following information provides some helpful hints. 

Interview Etiquettes Guide PDF
Interviewing PDF