At the very beginning of my job hunting years, I approached the question, “So, can you tell us a little about yourself” as if I were helping the interviewer know ALL about Halé past, present, and future.

After not getting a series of jobs, I couldn't help but think, "What is going wrong?" Then I took a class called, "Presenting a Brand Called Me" at Skidmore College which opened my eyes to see my common interview misconceptions. Mainly, the organizations want to know a how I would add value them through my skill set and accomplishments.

After learning how to respond to common interview questions, I felt a greater sense of confidence. I want the same for others, especially people who do not have traditional career preparation services.

Access Granted has been my first attempt at building a functional app. I am glad that I can share advice, add value to other people, and potentially contribute to their future successes. I had a fantastic time learning to program and code Access Granted and cannot wait to grow the idea in the near future.

What it does

Access Granted shares advice on how to best respond to both common and difficult interview questions. Job seekers can practice verbally responding to interview questions after learning about them and jotting down talking points.

How I built it

When I heard about this incredible opportunity from Make School on May 1st, I started conceptualizing this app right away. For my first prototype, I made sketches of screens for the app and pretended to click through the paper. I created user stories to accompany my app. User stories are descriptions of who the user is, what the want, and why. They help define the usefulness of each feature in my app and help me plan through the development of the app.

Shortly after, I began to build my app using Swift 3 and Xcode 8, the programming language and integrated development environment created by Apple.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I loved the process of designing and coding the app. I have been teaching myself how to code for almost a year. I learned so much in such a short amount of time through tutorials and listening to friends who gave me advice.

Challenges I ran into

The most challenging part of the process, beyond the coding, was adding finishing touches to the app. I know that UX, user experience, is essential for someone not to delete your app minutes after downloading it. A few friends tested out the app in its early days while I watched to see how they interacted with the app. There were obvious things that made sense to me, but my "users" could not figure out. So, I took my observations and their feedback and went back to the _ storyboard. _

What I learned

Prior to this competition, I was unfamiliar with many of the concepts needed to develop Access Granted. During this process, I learned how to implement UITableView, UITextView, UICollectionView, AVFoundation, and Core Data.

I also learned that I can build a functional app in a relatively short amount of time ( ~ 3 weeks), which I truly did not think was possible for me before this process. I gained confidence and skills during this period and I am grateful for Make School and the competition.

What's next for Access Granted

After this competition, I will continue to develop Access Granted. While the app can appeal to a wide audience, I am interested in connecting with organizations that work with young adults who do not have easy access to career services. I would like to find out what features would be most beneficial for young adults as they prepare for their interviews.

One idea I have is to make Access Granted social. Users will be able to log on, favorite questions they like, upload their recordings to the community and receive feedback. I would also like to set up video mock interviews through this app or a sister app that pairs job seekers with professionals.

Thank You

I appreciate your support! I could not have done this if it weren't for the love of my family and friends driving me and for the opportunity Make School has provided! Thanks

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