Successful Job Interview

February 19, 2009

If you have followed all of the past steps (set up everything for graduation, found the right job, and completed your resume) then you should be getting ready to sit down for the interview any day! The interview process can be very nerve racking for anyone involved, including the employers themselves; there is a lot to worry about from there standpoint. They need to make sure that you are a competent, successful person. They need to know that you posses the skills for the job. And they need to make sure that you are not going to leave immediately after getting hired or trained. They only have the time it takes to interview you to find all of this out, so interviewers can be very meticulous in their assessments. It’s your job to prepare well for the interview: know what you can offer them, anticipate the questions they are going to ask, and make sure you leave them with a great first impression.

The first step to nailing a good interview is to make sure that you are prepared before you go into it. That means doing at least a little bit of research on the company before you sit down with them. It’s not a bad idea to take a look at their website; read their mission statement, their history, maybe even their managerial bio’s. Know how the company got to where it is and where they are going. Also, you should make sure you have reviewed every detail of your resume, especially experience that dates back or you may need some refreshment on, because you want to be able to talk about everything you have done in the past and show them that you are capable of handling the responsibilities of the job.

Another thing that I have found is helpful in my preparation for an interview is to anticipate some of the questions that you might hear from the interviewer. While every interview is different, I have found that you will usually start off with some questions about your personal history or how you think you can contribute to the team, but those are softballs. The more difficult questions come when the person interviewing you asks you situational questions to test your ability to think on the spot, or if they ask you to rely a past experience with a potential situation you may face in their company. It is a good idea to consider the job that you will be doing, and try to think about some past experience you have had that will relate to what you will be doing in the job, just in case the questions come up. Some questions that I have heard in the past range from “what is your greatest accomplishment/ strength/ weakness?” to more in depth questions like “think about a time when you were in a group and you had to make a difficult decision. What was the situation, what decision did you make, and what was the outcome?”. There are good sites you can find on the internet that will show you a list of questions you might encounter in an interview, and its not a bad idea to review them before you go in.

Another essential to completing a successful interview is to make sure you dress for the part, because like it or not, looks matter, even in business. Make sure that everything you are wearing is clean, ironed and matching, and make sure you have taken the time to freshen up with a shower and maybe a haircut. While wearing cologne or perfume may make you smell a little better, I have found that a lot of people don’t know when enough is enough. You don’t want to be that guy. If it is a question of whether or not to wear any, I’d say no scent is better than too strong of a scent.

Finally, the last piece of advice for interviewing I can give is to not be overconfident. Even if you feel that you are way to overqualified for the job at hand, the fact is you are still not hired until you are hired. There are a whole bunch of reasons that you might not get the job, including the fact that the person interviewing you just doesn’t like your face or your tone in general. Just make sure that you are humble, respectful, and know your place, and you should be hearing back from them ASAP! Good Luck!


The Resume

February 12, 2009

Having a good resume is perhaps the most important part of finding the job that you want. Along with the cover letter, it is the first (and maybe the last) impression that any potential employer will get of you;  and first impressions really are everything (or almost everything). If your cover letter is disorganized and contains a lot of errors, then your chances of getting the job that you are applying for are slim to none. In the same sense, if you make your resume perfect and unique, there is a good chance that you will stand out in the mind of whoever reads it; so how do you go about doing that?

The first, and probably the most important, part of a resume is its presentation. While you may not have all of the experience that you’d like to have, if you have a clear, unique resume, it will show your potential employer that you are an organized person and you know how to market yourself. There are many different places that you can go to find resume templates; they can be found online (for free or for a cost), in different resume template books, or you can just make one yourself. If you see a design that you like, just make sure you get it on your computer and then you can simply add your information where you want.

The content of your resume is your chance to highlight your positive attributes and show the employer how you can help them out. It’s important that you don’t just simply add every job you have had in the past, but only those jobs that show experience related to the job you are applying for. I’ve had a bunch of different jobs in my life, but I’m not going to tell the marketing firm that I’m applying for that I used to sell lemonade in the stands at Sun Devil Stadium, or that I used to make sandwiches at Quiznos, or that I used to operate machines that made plastic caps for portable toothbrushes, because they really just don’t care about that. Company’s in today’s economy want to know specifically how you can help them achieve their goal, and that is what you need to tell them in your resume.

Finally, there is the cover letter. I wrote my first cover letter recently, and I was pretty apprehensive about it when I first started. The key to writing a good cover letter is to tell the employer everything that you didn’t say in your resume. i know that might sound stupid, especially because I just said to include all of the pertinent information in your resume, but another way of looking at it would be to give your employer some insight into how you carried out your responsibilities in your last job. It’s important to remember that your cover letter is just as much about presentation as it is about the content, just like your resume. It’s a good chance to showcase your written skills and show your employer that you are able to communicate in an effective manner as well as give him some insight into what kind of a worker you are. It might be a good idea to look over some other cover letters online, just to get a good idea of what they are suppose to entail. If you do everything right, you should be getting a phone call to set up an interview very soon…

Job Hunting

February 5, 2009

Many people will tell you that searching for a job is a job in itself. That’s no joke; especially in times like these. For any college senior who is searching for a post graduate job, it can be frustrating; it can be demoralizing; and it can be discouraging. However, if you are well prepared and conscientious about opportunities, it can also prove to be very rewarding.

For me, looking for a job started with looking on ASU’s Sun Devil CareerLink. There, students can search for jobs by industry, location, and salary, amoungst other things. It has proved to be pretty helpful in my own search, because it breaks down all of the different opportunities and openings in a pretty simple and easy to find format. You really don’t have to worry about whether or not the job is still open, because as soon as it is filled, the job opening is removed from the site. Once you find jobs that interest you, you can add them to your list of favorites and submit your resume through their links. Even just posting your resume onto your own profile will allow potential employers to view it without even submitting it directly to them. For students without any solid connections in the outside world, Sun Devil CareerLink is a great place to start looking.

But for students who do have a connection in the business world, that could be the best opportunity to finding a job. In fact, the truth of the matter is that the relationship to any potential connection really doesn’t have to be solid, which is something that I am just learning myself. It can be a sibling’s friend, a friend’s sibling, or even a friend’s friend. I have found that most people that are in the same general age range as myself have recently been through the same process of job hunting, know what it’s like, and are more than willing to help. That is really what networking is all about: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Finally, after you have extinguished any opporunity through your school or any possible connections, it is best to start utilizing other recourses available through print and online job advertisements. There are many websites specially taylored to find specific industries: websites for journalism, engineering, communications, and many more.

First Step Toward Graduation

January 29, 2009

As the final semester of college begins, a whole myriad of feelings can begin to enter a students mind. For me, the realization that the transition was about to take place  finally became a reality the first day back from winter break. After thinking of all of the people I have met and looking back at all of the memories that have accumluated, I knew that it was time to look forward to graduation. Where do I begin? 

The first thing is to make sure that all of the necessary steps have been taken to ensure that when that day arrives, you are actually qualified to receive your diploma. (At Arizona State University, a student can do a degree audit to see if they have satisfied all of their degree requirements by logging onto ASU interactive  and clicking on “degree audit”). If it appears that the student is in good academic standing and prepared to graduate, the next step is register to graduate and pay all of the fees associated with graduation. That includes any unpaid parking tickets, medical fees, and other assorted debts that have built up on a students account, as well as a $50 fee to receive your diploma and a $35 fee for any second diploma. Students who submit a late registration for graduation will be assessed a $35 late charge. Once everything is in order to graduate, it is a good idea to contact all family members involved and inform them of  the date and time of the graduation ceremonies. Each school will be holding their graduation at a different date and time, so make sure to check the schedules 

Once you have gotten all of that out of the way, you are ready to start looking for your first job…