This time of year, college seniors are going to job fairs with the hopes of landing that first job following graduation next year. For most students however, this is usually their first experience with a professional interview.
Interviews in the professional market are a bit different than those previously experienced for summer jobs, or after-school mall jobs. Here are five tips in preparing college students for interviews with prospective employers.
No matter what the professional attire is in the office that you are interviewing, dress for success. For the guys, that means suit with a tie. For the ladies, dress business professional; this means pants no dresses. Also, be sure to remove any facial jewelry; this goes the guys and girls. If possible, cover any tattoos as well.
Present Yourself With Confidence
Talk confidently about your job experience to date. If you have previous experience with summer internships, be sure to discuss your day-to-day responsibilities and any key tasks you assisted on. Even if you do not have internship experience, talk confidently and passionately about your work experience to date. If your work experience is in a grocery store as a cashier, or at the mall as a clerk, or as a summer painter, speak with conviction on your experience. Provide examples how you helped a customer, or how your boss recognized you with a promotion or a raise. Don’t shy away from this experience just because you think it may not seem important. Remember, the person interviewing you once your age with little-to-no professional work experience. Be confident in discussing your experience because we all started somewhere.
Copies of Your Resume
Bring at least five copies of your resume printed on resume paper. Although the hiring manager has reviewed your resume already, having a copy available for him or her shows you are well prepared. Don’t assume that anyone who will be interviewing you on this day will have a copy of your resume, or will have previously seen it.
Thankful and Respectful
Be thankful and respectful of the person’s time who is interviewing you. Be sure to shake their hand upon leaving and request them for their business card. Ask them if it would be ok for you to email any follow-up questions.
Once home, send a thank you email to anyone you interviewed with that day. Reiterate an area of the interview that went extremely well for you to help reinforce you being the best candidate for the job. Let them know you appreciate their time that day.
Interviewing takes time to master. Take advantage of this time of year with job fairs and go on as many interviews as you can. Look at this time as an opportunity to brush up on your interviewing skills.