Local FFA member advances to national competition
Tuesday, May 20, 2014 6:17 AM
Already the best in the state, Hannah Frank of the Spring Valley-Wykoff FFA is taking her job interviewing skills to the next level on a national stage.
"Job interview will help me accomplish what I would like to do by giving me the know-how and confidence going into an interview for a future job and really selling myself to the employer," said Kingsland High School junior Frank, who is advancing to national competition in the job interview category after earning first place at the Minnesota State FFA Convention April 28 to 30.
She's been a member of FFA since she was an eighth grader, and she joined FFA "because all of my siblings were in it, it seemed like fun, and they really got a lot out of being a part of FFA.
"It's important to me because it is agriculturally-based. Living on a farm, agriculture is a huge part of my life, as it is my family's livelihood. Also, FFA is a leadership organization, and since I joined, I have learned a lot of things that will benefit me in my future with both college and career - I would like to become an ag journalist and advocate for agriculture. This could be writing for a newspaper or magazine or even radio broadcasting. I have participated on the general livestock judging team, farm business management team, nursery and landscape team, and now job interview."
Frank said she was interested in job interview because she knew it could benefit her and prepare her for many years into the future with interviews, plus she would gain experience with related things such as resumes and cover letters.
The process of preparing for state convention job interview competition this spring meant that Frank had to consider what her resume might have on it and what she might do to present herself well to the judges.
"I already had a resume started, so Mrs. Brogan and I revised it. Also, I had to choose a fake job to apply for - I chose an assistant journalist position, as I want to go to college for agriculture communications and journalism, so it was fitting," she said "Then, based on the position, I made a cover letter and job description, etc. As far as practicing, I had a couple practice interviews and practiced writing follow up letters and filling out applications."
This wasn't her first trip to the state convention, as she'd competed with the farm business management and nursery and landscape teams, but it was her first venture into competing in job interview.
"Competing at state was exciting. I was really excited to have gotten to compete at state, but I was also nervous because I knew I was competing against some really tough competition...it's fun to compete against people from all over the state of Minnesota," she said. "Also, it's fun to see how you do and how you can improve for the next year. The most challenging thing is the one-on-one interview because I feel like it's the most crucial part of the competition. In this round, you have the chance to 'sell yourself' and make the interviewer believe that you are the person for the job, that you will really benefit the company.
"Also, it is the round that makes me the most nervous because you have to think on your feet and answer some questions that are thrown at you from left field. Even without the difficult questions, it can be nerve-racking to be interviewed by someone you don't know and break nervous habits such as saying 'um' or 'like' as fill-in words."
Actually completing the one-on-one interview portion of the competition is what drives Frank to study harder for the next level.
"It's rewarding when you walk out of the interview room and think, 'Wow that was fun' or 'I feel like I really did my best in there.' It's nice to have a good feeling about it and feel like you were successful," she explained.
"At state convention, I had a guy who acted as though it was a real interview and didn't have rehearsed questions to ask me. He was really interested in what I was saying and what my qualifications were. It was a very fun interview because it was almost just a conversation, even though it was still very formal. I like walking out of the interview room and knowing that I did my best and feel confident...if you walk out and think it was fun, that hopefully means that it went well. Also, at state, it was rewarding to find out that I placed in the top three, and then the following day up on stage be recognized for placing first and knowing that I am given the opportunity to compete at nationals."
She knew by process of elimination that she was going to be part of the national convention job interview competition. As each place winner, starting with third, was called, she became more and more excited knowing that her name was moving up for one of the three places.
"I wanted to do well at state, and of course anyone's goal would be to get first, but it was especially cool that that goal of mine was reached," she said.
The support she received from her fellow chapter members and Brogan was "really great. When I was up onstage and got first place, I could hear the chapter cheering for me, and Mrs. Brogan came backstage to take pictures with the sponsors...she gave me a huge hug and had tears in her eyes. I could really tell that she was proud of me and that was a great feeling."
With that goal reached, Frank has to get ready for national competition in Louisville, Ky., from Oct. 29 through Nov. 1 by revising her cover letter and resume and practicing interviews time and time again. Her sister competed at nationals for job interview, so she will be a big help and Frank said she plans to study a lot over the summer. She also pointed out that Brogan is very good about knowing what areas she needs to work on and who to interview with so she can improve.
She hopes to do well and rank among the finalists at the FFA National Convention, and if possible, squeeze some sightseeing into the trip. There is a lot to see in Louisville, she said, but she wants to see Churchill Downs or the Louisville Slugger operation. Her parents will be accompanying her.
"I am nervous about competing, but also very excited," she said. "It's an awesome opportunity to represent our FFA chapter, community and state. I hope I can represent them well."