Preparing for an interview with a thin resume
August 16, 2012 1:08 AM Subscribe
How do I prepare for an interview for a job that I want, but am most likely not qualified for?
posted by tokaidanshi to Work & Money (9 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I'm one year into a 2 year master's program in International Relations/Economics, and I'm currently doing a summer internship. There is a fairly successful internet company in the same city that I'm doing the internship which I was planning on applying to when I finish my degree. They take applications once a year and hire a few people from what I assume are thousands of applicants. I'm 30 years old and have spent most of my "professional career" doing a variety of teaching English as a second language jobs, with an additional 6 months or so at lesser known internet/web services company, which is where I'm currently interning again this summer, and so I don't think I'd have a very good chance of making it through the front door application process and actually landing an interview. My resume is pretty thin on actual project results, deliverables, etc.
As it would happen though, someone who I recently met through my current internship happens to be fairly well connected with some of the senior management of this company that I'd like to apply to, and has secured me a meeting with a headhunter who essentially serves as a gate keeper for the president of the company. If this meeting were to somehow go well, there is a decent chance that it could lead to a meeting with the president of the company, which, at least in theory, could lead to a job offer if that second meeting were also to go well.
However, as I've previously mentioned before, I have a very thin resume. This company is interested in expanding into foreign markets, and the job would involve doing market research in foreign countries and possibly doing valuations of foreign companies to assess their potential as buyout targets, which I have in theory been learning about while working on my master's degree, however in practice it turns out that the pace of my program is so ridiculous as to render any actual learning more or less impossible. I work my ass off to complete an assignment on one topic and then have to quickly move on to another topic, usually not having enough time to process exactly what it is that I've supposedly learned. What I have learned has been very academic, and I don't really see how it could be put into practice in the workplace. And actually, the most important thing I think I've learned through this entire program is that real life work experience is a lot more valuable than time spent in class working on a degree.
Beyond that, I have about 4 years of teaching English as a second language under my belt, and the time at the aforementioned smaller internet company, where put together bids for research projects between this company and other companies abroad, and I've worked around the edges of some research projects with some very major multinational internet companies (currently working on something for a very large search engine/advertising company) but the actual work I've done hasn't been very substantial, and doesn't require any kind of special technical expertise.
I would very much like to get this job though, and at least not come off as a total moron, so do you have any recommendations for how to approach this meeting, how I could best present myself as someone who would be a useful addition to the company? Obviously, I'll try to play up the usefulness of what I'm studying, try to play up my limited work experience, but other than that, any ideas?
Also, the more I study, the more I think that wherever it is that I end up, I'm going to have to be trained from the ground up in terms of how to do what ever job it is that I get. I am becoming less and less convinced that what I'm learning in school is going to be very applicable to a real job. Obviously I wouldn't share my opinion of my classes at the meeting, I'm going to try and put as positive of a spin on what it is that I'm studying as possible. However, given that I know I'm going to have to learn the job from scratch anyways, and that I'd actually prefer to start working as soon as possible, if it seems like things are going well in the meeting, should I somehow mention that I'd be willing to quit school and start now if a position happened to be available?