10 Top Tips For First Time Job Interviewers

The excitement of graduation has settled down and now it’s time to get down to the business of finding a job. Here are ten tips to guide you through your self-inventory and preparation.

1. Give yourself some credit for completing college and graduating.

Did you know that as many as 43-50% of people who start college never finish? But “you” (the grad) are not one of them – you have a diploma and a degree. So give yourself credit for the accomplishment.

2. Take stock – do an inventory of what you have to offer.

It’s difficult to put together a resume if you don’t have any experience. If you’ve had an internship or a part-time job that will make for good content on a resume. Even volunteer work tells the company something about you. If you don’t have any work experience, you will have to rely on the courses you took.

3. Prepare a personal statement

The personal statement is an answer to one of the first questions often asked in an interview, “Tell me about yourself.” This statement should include your major, any experience that you have; your area of expertise – what you think you are most knowledgeable about; at least one of your strengths (e.g., communication skills); something about your work ethic and style; and lastly something about what kind of a person you are – something that makes you unique.

4. It’s never too soon to start to network – that means with everyone you know.

The number one way to find a job is through “networking.” That means that you should get the word out to everyone you know. For every ten people you know they in turn will know ten other people – and so on and so on – the web continues to build. Don’t underestimate the power of networking – it can happen at any place and at any time.

5. Research, research, research – companies, industries, trends.

Your job right now is to find a job. That means using those research skills you used so well in college and start to apply them to the job market. Search industries, companies to find out what going on out there. What’s in demand – what skills are being sought?

6. Familiarize yourself with the types of questions asked in an interview.

There are many books and websites that offer “sample questions” that will be asked in the interview. You should think about some of the answers you will give to the basic questions. Also be aware of the different types of questions – general questions, behavioral questions, situational/hypothetical questions. – www.interviewcoach.com

7. Learn to make “small talk.”

Preparation should also include some ideas for making “small talk.” You should be able to engage in conversation with the interviewer or with anyone you meet at networking events.

Stay current with news and world happenings so that you can discuss or respond to questions that are asked outside the formal interview questions.

8. Look like a Professional – regardless of the industry

You don’t want to look like your Father or your Mother, but you want to look like someone that a company would want to have represent them. Invest in a nice interview outfit. It should be the best quality that you can afford. Or, go to a consignment shop and buy a second-hand garment that fits well and is of good quality. Appearance counts.

9. Accept The Fact That You Will Be Nervous

It’s OK to be nervous. Almost everyone gets nervous when they interview. It’s OK to be nervous. This is a new experience and you may have to go to a few interviews to get the hang of the process.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice.

Whether you practice with a family member, a friend, or a professional, make sure that you are getting honest, straight-forward feedback. While you want encouragement, you do not want to continue to make the same mistakes and blow the interview.

Copyright (c) 2007 Carole Martin, The Interview Coach