Imagine this: you’re at an interview for your dream job.
You’re having a great conversation with the interviewers and you’re right about to take notes to reference later on. You begin to reach into your pocket and find yourself frantically patting away.
You left. Your pen. At home.
If that moment of sheer terror isn’t enough to make you sweat, there are plenty of other ways interviews and the overall job hunt can go very wrong for recent college graduates.
Our team at NetElixir has a diverse career background and plenty of unbelievable sitcom-worthy experiences about looking for work right after graduation. We’ve all been in similarly awkward positions at some point or another during our career search. That’s why we have a little surprise for all you grads out there.
We did all the legwork and combined the best advice from all our departments so you won’t have to learn the hard way. These helpful job search and interview tips will help you prepare for the long road ahead, regardless of your industry.
Finding Jobs After Graduation
Ask yourself the hard questions. Will this role help you grow the way that your future self would thank you for? Can you learn new, transferable skills in this environment? Are you prepared to work with a spectrum of personalities, including those you’d never picture being friends with?
Don’t be afraid to seek opportunities outside of your geographical region. Sometimes moving far for the right job can lead to immense success in your career.
If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Job posts that include phrases like “temp-to-hire” or “no experience necessary” are signs of potential scams. Be especially wary if they try to expedite the interview process. You can also search online to see if the company is a scam and additionally, find out when they registered their domain name. If it’s recent, stay away.
Resume. Most employers take less than 30 seconds to review a resume. Keep in mind you’re not the only one applying for the position. Include the most information at the top and make the content important and relevant to the position you’re applying for.
Custom cover letters count. Generic ones hurt. Employers can easily spot the difference. How do you know? They won’t respond back asking for an interview.
References. Don’t rely on references to do all the work for you! A familiar insider might help you get your foot in the door, but you still need to sell yourself to land the job.
Do your research! Before sending your application, understand who the company is, what they do, and the role. Genuinely explain why you want to work there. Going into an interview blindly can ruin your chances of getting that position.
You Just Got An Interview – Now What?
Running late? Mother nature, traffic, detours, train delays – all of these could make you late to your interview. Simply call to explain that. Being late due to something out of your control doesn’t disqualify you from the job.
Use Google. Find out what interview questions are asked in that industry or in similar roles. That research will help provide you with the following:
A brief introduction.
A summary of your experience and academic interests.
Your passions and genuine interests.
Practice! Practice doesn’t always make perfect, but it definitely helps. Ask a friend or family member to interview you and ask for honest feedback. If you have yet to graduate, your school may offer career services. Schedule a mock interview with them.
Don’t feel bad about printing. Print several copies of your resume, just in case. You never know who else will be interviewing you and whether they have a copy at hand.
Don’t forget your tools. What’s just as bad as not having a pen during an interview? Not having paper to write on. Whatever tools you need, bring them with you.
Confidence is key! During the interview, present yourself with pride, not conceit. Body language plays an equally significant role as the one of voice.
Creative roles. If you’re applying for a creative role, make sure you develop a portfolio and present it in an appropriate format. There’s nothing like being in a visual field, without any visuals to show.
Leave the attitude at home. Interviews are meant for both the employer and job seeker to evaluate each other. You don’t want to give the wrong first impression.
Don’t lie. Be honest about the skills you have. You’ll need to perform them once you’re hired. Set the proper expectations. Recent grads tend to over promise their qualifications so they can get started in their career. Don’t make that mistake or you’ll quickly regret it.
Ask questions! Find out more about the company and its culture. What is the day-to-day like for that role? What keeps the interviewers motivated to continue working there? Their responses will provide you with the insight you need to make a decision.
Take on the challenge! An employer might test your knowledge. Refusing to complete a test or walking out of the interview will look unfavorable on your part.
Watch out for red flags. If the interviewers are only discussing how fun and awesome the company is and the unbelievable benefits and perks, steer clear. They could be avoiding sharing insight into the company or your role and you might be headed for trouble.
Always follow up! Send a thank you note within 24 hours to whoever interviewed you. Summarize the key points discussed, add some valuable selling points, and ask any questions you might still have that weren’t answered during the interview. Taking the time to make it genuine will make you memorable by showing you care.
Don’t be timid. If you haven’t heard from them in a while, it’s okay to reach out but space out the timing. Don’t repeatedly email them, either.
So, you didn’t get the job. Rejection emails just plain suck. You can respond, letting them know you appreciate having been interviewed for the position. If you want honest feedback, this is your chance. Ask them why you didn’t get the position and apply that to future interviews. If you do choose to respond, do so professionally. Replying with a bitter message could tarnish your potential for future opportunities with the company. You never know if they have other roles they might consider you for (or if the other candidate ends up declining their offer).
You got the job! You open your email to find out you just got the position! First, consider whether or not you want to work there based off of your experience. If you have a gut feeling, follow it. If you decline, let them know why. If you accept, say your thanks and ask about the next steps if they haven’t included it in the email.
Above all, amplify what makes you different. Be yourself and use every chance you get to showcase your personal brand. You can express this through custom cover letters, resumes, and how you communicate!
Bonus tip: if you’ve graduated recently, you might be tempted to compare yourself with your former peers. However, a career isn’t meant to be a race and everyone has their own path to success. Be patient and trust the process!
NetElixir is always looking to expand our team of geeky cool analysts, creatives, and more with fresh minds and ambitious talent. Find out more about our team, experiences, interview process, and open positions at netelixir.com/careers!