“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” –Arthur Ashe
Since it is graduation season this time of year I thought it would be helpful to dispense some advice. College graduates are looking for employment and going on job interviews. Many of these suggestions come from some battle scars I have earned myself. Others are from friends and family who have run into issues with interview flubs.
Do your homework
When you go to interview at a company you want to be prepared and understand what it is the company does. If you don’t have a clue you will look like you don’t want the job. I had a job interview with a brokerage firm coming out of college. The hiring manager started to grill me if I knew what they did. He essentially said you don’t have a clue what we do. As you can imagine they never called back.
Know what to expect
Most colleges offer training for interviews as well as mock interviews to get you ready. I hope you take your career services up on this offer. Also they will proof read your resume and tell you what changes need to be made to your resume and cover letter. As an underclassman it is important to start thinking about getting a job before your last semester. The good jobs go to the people who are prepared.
Dress for success
To make a good impression you want to have clean clothes that are well pressed. If your suit looks like it has been waded up on the bottom of your closet you might want to get it professionally cleaned. When I was a junior in college I decided the night before our career fair I thought I should go. So I found some nice clothes in my closet and put together a resume too. The next day when I went to the career fair I got some strange looks. Little did I realize that I had a rust stain from the hanger it was hanging on. Once again the wardrobe I had on was not successful in making a good impression.
Apply for some practice interviews
This advice made the difference for me once I finally knew what job I wanted. A few of my friends had their eye on just a few jobs. They applied for the two or three they wanted and eventually got interviews. They got real nervous and had a difficult time with the process. They did not show up prepared and at ease. I applied for a few jobs that I didn’t want but would help me sharpen my interview skills. When the time came for the job interview for the job I really coveted I was ready and felt confident.
Have some questions ready
I was recently interviewing a few candidates for an open position. We went through a few strong candidates that were prepared and had relevant experience. One individual had some insightful questions to show how they could think on their feet. This really impressed us what kind of great person this would be for our team. What questions do you like to ask when you are on interviews? We should always have a few basic ones that you ask to get things started. A few times when interviewing people they don’t ask any questions. This shows how some people don’t know how to prepare.
What advice would you suggest for recent graduates?