The job market is competitive. The search can be a long process. The interviews can be stressful. Right out of college, you have very little job experience and even less professional interview experience. Even if this is your first real interview, you won’t let anyone know that, because you will follow these 12 tips for landing a job and you will look like a seasoned pro.
Update Your Resume
Before you start applying to jobs and sending things out, make sure that your resume is updated. If you don’t have much work experience, that’s okay, you can fill the space with other things. Internships, volunteer experiences, mission trips, study abroad, relevant classes you took, all can go on your resume. Things need to look neat and uniform and try to fit it all on one page. Have your parents, roommate, college professor or mentor look it over.
Do Your Research
If and when you get a call back for an interview, you need to start doing your research. Find out the history of the company, who the big wigs are, the business model, and the mission statement. This will help you in the interview and make you feel more comfortable and confident with the process.
Always dress to impress. If you have to splurge on some new threads, do it. Make sure that everything is ironed and polished. First impressions are important and you want to show that you are taking this seriously and that you are prepared.
Give yourself plenty of extra time to get to the interview. Make sure you leave early and arrive early. Try to plan for traffic, trouble finding parking, or anything else that could stall you. If for some reason you hit traffic and are running late, call the office and let them know what is going on. As soon as you arrive you should let the receptionist know you are there for your interview. This is a good sign for your future employer. It shows that you are punctual and reliable.
Make Eye Contact
Present a firm handshake and make eye contact when you are greeted for the interview. You should also try to maintain eye contact during the interview, but don’t be creepy. Be aware when you are looking down or away from the person you are speaking to. This gesture shows respect and professionalism.
Even if the person interviewing you seems laid back and friendly, you should remain professional. It is okay to laugh and smile, but don’t slump in your chair or say anything that could be seen as inappropriate. If the person interviewing you uses a curse word, that does not mean it is okay for you to do so. This person is your future boss, not your buddy. Keep it professional from start to finish.
If you get hired, they are going to expect the same person they interviewed, so keep it real. Don’t make up stories to make yourself look a certain way. Don’t say you enjoy doing something if you don’t. Definitely don’t pretend to know how to use a specific database or software if you don’t. Like I said before, just keep it real.
Being someone who is good at communicating with others is awesome. Employers look for this during the hiring process. Avoid using words like “um,” “uh” and “like” every other word. If you get stuck on something that you are unsure how to answer, say something like “that’s a great question” to give yourself a few seconds to collect your thoughts.
Ask Smart Questions
Usually towards the end of an interview you will be asked if you have any questions. You should always have a few questions. Do your research before-hand and ask about the company, ask about the interviewers journey at the company and how they started, ask about benefits and work culture. This will show that you are invested in the company and you want to learn more about it.
Brag a Little
It’s okay to talk about something you are really proud of in an interview. Keep it short and sweet, but you can toot your own horn as long as you are humble about it.
If you feel defeated other people will be able to pick up on that. Even if you know you are not qualified for the job, keep your head up! This will give off the vibe that you are confident in yourself and you can do the job even if it’s hard.
Most of the time they will let you know when they will be making their decision and when you should expect to hear from them. If you don’t hear from them by that date, shoot them an email or give them a call asking if they have reached a decision, and restate that you are very interested in the position. Employers want someone who can take initiative and is motived to work. This could be the icing on the cake that lands you the job.