First interview as a new college grad? Come prepared

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First interview as a new college grad? Come prepared

Congratulations college graduate! You’ve landed your first professional job interview, but be ready to buckle up. You have time to prepare, and prepare you must.

Here are some quick tips to get you started. But take the time to research and think seriously about likely questions you’ll face and, of course, your answers.

  1. As your first professional job interview – even if you’ve had good college internships – keep in mind you’re starting a career path where you still need to pay your dues. So speak with confidence and poise, but show some humility as well. Unless the hiring manager brings it up, this isn’t the time to ask about salary or “what’s in it for me?”
  2. Come armed with a well thought-out list of your personal assets – eight to 10 specific skills, work experiences or other accomplishments that fit well for this position. Exude enthusiasm and positivity. It’s all about making that first great impression.
  3. Go online, and you’ll find several lists of the “most likely” questions you may be asked in a job interview. Study them and practice your answers with family or friends.
  4. Your listening skills are as important as your speaking skills. If you’ve done a good job at researching the company and the job, you’ll be comfortable rather than nervous or shy, proving you’re not only qualified but likeable and a good fit into the company culture. That’s important.
  5. It’s possible your first interview might be via a video or phone screening. Brush up on how to present yourself professionally with a strong Internet connection. No roommates, for example, playing loud music in the background.
  6. Write down and bring several good, meaningful questions about this job. It’s OK to have notes. You quickly can demonstrate your interest. It’s an added bonus if you can pose a few good ideas on how you can help the company.
  7. “Please” and “thank you” are still in favor. Lunch invites are rare these days, but if you are asked out, table manners will count. Follow through with a thank-you note immediately. Not an e-mail or a text – a sincere handwritten note! Why not hand-deliver it the next day?

This first interview is a test on how you present yourself. It’s when those long hours at college pay off, showing you’ve got the work ethic to go the extra mile.


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