Interview Musings

Two weeks ago I bought my first suit.

I really hate it.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s well made and I’ve been told that it looks good on me.

But I never in my entire life imagined that I would be the kind of person who needed a suit.

This is my last semester at Ball State, I’ll be graduating in a little over two months time. My professor, Cathy Day, decided to include a practice interview in our Literary Citizenship class. I’ve been on several interviews before but most of them were informal for students jobs that didn’t really hold the level of pressure that my future interviews did. Afterwards, Cathy asked us to blog about our experiences.

There is an insane amount of information out there about how to ace a job interview. And one of my biggest pet peeves is when an article or blog post promises me new tips but it’s really just the same ones with different wordings. So instead of giving out any ‘tips’ I’m going to tell you the one main thing I took away from the whole experience.

My degree is not useless.

There’s a lot of stuff behind this one little tidbit. I’ve been an avid reader and writer all my life, I wrote hundreds of pages of fanfiction in my teens and random bits and pieces here and there but I never really felt like any of it mattered. My parents encouraged me but I could tell they didn’t really know where I could go with writing at the same time. So when I got into college I faltered quite a bit, changed my major five times, and finally settled down with a Creative Writing major.

A lot of the time I feel like a kid finger painting compared to people with accounting or marketing degrees. I feel intimidated when people ask me what I’m writing (because right now I’m not really writing anything creative) and I feel embarrassed.

When I first got dressed and went into the interview I felt like a little kid dressed up in her mom’s pantsuit. But to my surprise that soon faded away and I found myself realizing that even though some people might have doubted the ‘validity’ of my degree it was mostly me who was putting that thought into my head.

There are thousands of written articles/blog posts/tweets/etc. published every single day. Every single one of them needs an author and I have the knowledge and the skills to be one of those authors. The only person holding me back from that this entire time was me.

So maybe this is one of those cliche pieces of advice that comes in every self help book or article about interviews but take it to heart. The worst enemy you have in that room is yourself and no one else.




  1. I hear you! When I explain to people that I’m a Creative Writing major, they give me that look like, “Good luck getting a job, kid.” But seriously? People need good writers. The major’s address needs to be written. Company manifestos need to be engaging and clear. I tell people who doubt, “You wouldn’t believe the number of people who need good writers”– it’s really true.

  2. Oooooh man… I feel your terror on the suit shenanigans. My interview is coming up after spring break and the thing I’m most terrified about is the dressing up part and that weird feeling of being some kind of pant suit impostor…NEVER think your degree is “useless!” I don’t think college should be seen as simply a means to a lucrative end…

  3. I agree that I felt like a kid playing dress up a few weeks ago in my GA interviews. But I have to say interviewing is as intimidating if the employer is having a conversation with you rather than just asking you question and answer and question and answer, ect. I have basically decided that if I just don’t have that bond in the interview that it would be kind of like a first date and just call it a dud.

  4. I really like the description of feeling like a kid finger painting. I know what you mean. Sometimes I feel embarrassed to tell people what my major is, and then I get ticked off for feeling like that. There’s a great post on the English Department blog from last year about employers saying the things they liked about English majors. Reading it made me feel a lot better.

  5. Yea, that’s a personal problem needing left at the door. You’ll always run into those kids on campus who might look down on English majors and the like, while they declare authoritatively, “I’m Pre-Med,” or whatever. Certain degrees hold more prestige in our society, but I’m not exactly certain what it’s based off of, salary basis likely. Just hold your head high and make use of everything you’ve learned. No turning back now!

  6. While I’m a writer, I got there by leaving my first love-business. They don’t have your time. You have theirs. Take over. Ask them questions. Figure out their life. Don’t be obnoxious, but you should be interviewing them.

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