It doesn’t take long before the stress of being a college student builds up. On top of that, there’s mounting pressure to land summer internships and earn full-time positions after graduation -- that’s where Sandy Golinkin comes in.
Golinkin is the founder of Raising the Bar, a consulting company based in New York that helps young adults and recent college graduates achieve their highest professional potentials.
As the former VP and publisher of several lifestyle and fashion magazines including Lucky, Allure and Departures, Golinkin has ample training and knowledge within more than 30 industries, allowing her to work with clients interested in any field.
When she started and ran magazines, Golinkin interviewed thousands of candidates, hiring only 200 to 300 of them, she said in a phone interview. She partly attributed her expertise in noteworthy interview conduct to her background in the hiring process.
When it comes to interviews, Golinkin emphasized the importance of being well prepared.
“One of the best ways to be well prepared is to read as much as you can about the company, about their competitors and also about the people you are interviewing with,” she said. “You should also be very articulate about what your strengths are, what your points of pride are and how you could make a meaningful contribution to them, given the qualifications they are specifically looking for.”
Golinkin also suggested a series of steps that can be taken to reduce stress during the interview itself.
The first step is to monitor your breathing. Golinkin suggested to do a lot of deep breathing, and if the interview is being conducted over the phone, she proposed the idea of placing a note in front of yourself or somewhere on your desk with a reminder to speak at a slow pace and answer all questions directly. She also recommended some quiet time for five to 10 minutes before you receive the call.
Second, Golinkin pointed out how critical it is to be a good listener.
“A lot of people go into an interview and they listen to respond, they don’t listen to understand,” Golinkin said. “I would urge people to remember when they’re on an interview that they should give succinct, informative answers to questions, and they should try not to talk for more than 30 to 45 seconds.”
Finally, Golinkin advised calming yourself down during an interview by being observant of your interviewer. Golinkin offered a set of questions you can ask yourself while you are walking into their office for the first time: Are there pictures of their children on their desk? Is there a poster on the wall that gives an indicator of how they like to spend their personal time? What can you learn about them as you’re walking into their office that might distract you from thinking about the fact that you are, in fact, very nervous?
Yet the key reminder you should provide for yourself throughout an interview is why you are an excellent candidate, because this will reinforce your confidence as you walk into an anxiety-inducing situation, she said.
Golinkin also provided a list of suggestions for those in search of an internship next summer.
First, she recommended picking a city. Next, select a few companies of interest and then confirm that they have summer internship programs through online research.
Once you have confirmed the company does offer internships, Golinkin suggested writing a letter to that company’s human resources department, as well as searching on LinkedIn to see whether any alumni from your university currently work there. If so, she encouraged messaging this alumnus and introducing yourself before requesting a potential phone call.
Rachel Rodney, the assistant director of career services at UR, explained that although internships may not offer graduating seniors the same sense of security that a job offer would, they are still invaluable.
“Everyone’s path is going to look different,” Rodney said. “If it is what you want to do and what you’re excited about, I think that’s great because typically, that may help you get your foot in the door somewhere, or give you that knowledge to know, ‘Yeah I want to do this,’ or ‘No, I don’t.’”
Golinkin also encouraged the idea of an internship after graduation. Often, students are quick to assume that they need a full-time job after they graduate from college or graduate school.
“A lot of companies are sort of test-driving peoples’ abilities through longer and more in-depth internships,” she said. “I would urge people to consider looking for either part-time work, or internships or an entry-level position at these companies.”
Some of Golinkin’s LinkedIn tips included having a professional photograph in which you are dressed appropriately for the industry, including a few sentences about yourself and your interests in your biography and sharing articles you genuinely care about, because recruiters will see these. She also recommended having people you have worked with, your professors or your colleagues endorse you for any strong skills you may have.
Raising the Bar offers clients either one-on-one consulting with Golinkin or a selection of online classes that cover topics ranging from resumes, to cover and follow-up letters, to interviewing skills and preparation, to life tips after graduation.
Senior Charlotte Stone, who works part-time as the virtual assistant and marketing aid for Raising the Bar, said working for Golinkin had been an incredible learning opportunity for her.
“While it is coincidentally fortunate that her business is in a field that handles information that directly benefits me, I’ve also learned a lot about marketing and sales,” Stone said.
Stone, who is familiar with the courses offered by Raising the Bar, believes they are beneficial to college students in a variety of ways, she said.
“Everyone will take something away from the classes, whether it’s about what to really say, and really not say, during an interview, to how to write the best cover and follow-up letters,” Stone said. “In an oftentimes-daunting process of trying to get hired, these classes definitely reduce stress.”
The classes can be purchased on Raising the Bar’s online site, and Golinkin is currently offering a 20-percent discount to readers and students interested in learning from these courses with code 20OFF. The site will be overhauled and entirely relaunched at the end of this month.
Reflecting on why she started Raising the Bar, Golinkin said she had been inspired by the fact that many colleges do not do enough to prepare their students for how to best figure out their career paths and find jobs.
“I thought it would be wonderful if I could impart the knowledge that I have gained in my career to young adults, to help them get to their career paths more easily,” Golinkin said.
Contact lifestyle editor Jasmine Fernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org.