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Advice & Resources
New job entrants to the work force often lack interviewing skills. Preparation is key, even if your experience may be lacking. Below are some key tips that may help land the first "real job" quickly.
- Know your audience. The company's web site may include a mission statement, press releases, equipment lists, market focus, subsidiaries, industry partners, etc. How will your education and experience match up with the company's direction? While the company's web site might be a good place to start for information, it is my no means the last. Check out the local news, industry trade press, etc.
- Develop a list of questions that you could ask the interviewer based on your research. Think operational and business plan questions here. Leave compensation and benefit questions for later (i.e., 2nd interview or if the interviewer brings it up).
- Bring extra copies of your resume with you to all interviews and have handy if asked for.
- Some employers will have applicants complete an employment application form when they show up for the first interview. Take your time completing the employer's employment application ensuring you write legibly and completely for each question. Recruiters usually dislike reading "see resume" on an employment application form.
- Role Play. There are thousands of web sites that list questions employers might ask you during the interview. Look at your resume and be ready for the most common. Think about how you would answer these and role play with a friend or relative. Or, make a video to see how you come across. This can be useful to limit the use of "crutch" words (e.g., like, you know, um, ah, etc.) and slang. Ensure you answer questions completely.
- Develop a list of questions to ask during each interview. These should be tailored to the company and asked at the appropriate time. For example, pay and benefits should be asked in the 2nd or 3rd interview, or if the interviewer brings up the topic. Avoid easy questions that can be easily found on the company's web site.
- Bring a list of references to the interviews.
- Be early to the interview (e.g., 15 minutes). If you are unfamiliar with the company's location, ask for directions, parking availability, mass transit, etc.
- Dress for success, maintain eye contact, and good posture.
- Mail a short "thank you" note to each person you interview with.