Professional critiquing event set for Feb. 29 at York campus

Working professionals from the York community will visit campus to review résumés and conduct mock interviews for students
Students dressed in professional clothing networking with each other

The professional critiquing event provides Penn State York students with an opportunity to prepare for internship applications or job interviews after graduation.

Credit: Barbara Dennis

YORK, Pa. — Students from The Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Collegiate and the Graham Fellows Program for Entrepreneurial Leadership (Graham Fellows Program) at Penn State York have invited business representatives from the local community to offer mock interviews and résumé reviews to their peers. Rebecca Mauck and Lawrence Williams, who are both Penn State York students and members of York’s FBLA Collegiate chapter as well as the Graham Fellows Program, are spearheading the event for the second year in a row.

Polina Bolotnikova, a senior at the York campus, has also joined in this year’s planning efforts, having secured seven local professionals to volunteer for the event and is searching for three more.

The event is set for Thursday, Feb. 29 from noon to 2 p.m. in the Graham Center for Innovation and Collaboration on campus.

“We start off by inviting professionals from around York, Pennsylvania,” said Mauck. “We try to get mainly human resources (HR) professionals, as they’re mainly the gatekeepers to positions that students are going to be applying for outside of college and for internships.”

The event is open to all Penn State York students and is comprised of two parts:

  • Mock interviews: Fifteen minutes of questions followed by five minutes of feedback. Each interview is scored, with the highest scores earning a prize. Students may complete one mock interview at the event.
  • Résumé reviews: Volunteers evaluate the structure and content of the student’s résumé to determine if it would stand out to a hiring committee as representing someone they would like to bring in for an interview. Students can request feedback from as many volunteers as they would like.

According to Mauck, students can never have too much practice interviewing. Plus, résumé trends and recommendations can change and vary by industry, so the team aims to invite a mix of industry representatives to offer students a range of perspectives on their résumé.

“For most majors, you’re going to need an internship at some point,” said Williams. “To get an internship, you’ll have to submit a résumé. Those résumé reviews can help give you a clearer sight of what you want your résumé to be and how to improve upon it.”

How should students prepare for the event?

Advance registration is required, and students must select time slots for the mock interview portion to help the event flow smoothly. While students may choose to participate in just one portion, the event organizers encourage students to take advantage of both parts.

Williams emphasized the importance of professionalism for this event where members of the local community are volunteering their time to offer their insights and industry expertise. He recommends that students:

  • Dress professionally.
  • Bring five to seven copies of their résumé.
  • Bring their business cards if they have them.
  • Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early.

Intended outcomes

“The goal of the event is mainly professional development for students,” said Mauck. “Plus, some of the HR professionals might be hiring — they might be scouting or trying to see the skill level of students who attend Penn State York.”

Williams added, “We had a student last year interview with a representative from Wolfgang Confectioners in York, Pennsylvania, and he actually still works for them!”

That student was Neeraj Patil, who completed an in-person internship with Wolfgang Confectioners over the summer and is a business analyst intern at the company, which ties in well with his information technology major and minor in business.

“For FBLA, we’re always trying to further students’ professional development,” said Mauck. “That’s our top priority for FBLA in general, but it helps us too because, in the real world, we’ll have to plan stuff. It doesn’t even really matter what you decide to do with your career — at some point, you’re going to have to be able to plan something. So, it helps us in our individual development just by planning everything, organizing, working with a team — there are a lot of small things that you don’t always think about that go into planning it.”

Some aspects of the planning process include:

  • Securing a variety of business representatives to volunteer.
  • Considering the arrangement of the physical space and how participants will move through it.
  • Creating flyers and coordinating with multiple departments to review the content and distribute throughout campus.
  • Creating registration forms and links to determine the number of volunteers needed.
  • Planning lunch for the professionals and snacks for the student participants.
  • Communicating with students to set expectations.

On the horizon

With Mauck set to graduate in spring, Williams plans to take the lead on planning next year’s critiquing event.

“We always keep track of the planning process — what went well, what didn’t go well — so that in the future, we can adjust and make the event as good as possible,” Williams said.

For more information about the professional critiquing event, please contact Mauck at [email protected] or Williams at [email protected].