Lessons Learned: Five Tips for Recent College Grads on The Job Hunt

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It is graduation season—you've finally finished and you are eager to get started in your career. Exciting times! But for thousands of grads looking for jobs, the glow of receiving your college diploma lasts only so long before reality sets in. It’s competitive out there and getting a job in public relations can be challenging!

When I finished college, I worked to schedule multiple informational and mock interviews and attended as many public relations networking events as possible. Each opportunity became a new stepping stone for me to hone my skills and build confidence. I promised myself that when I got a job, I would go back and try to help others that were graduating college with the lessons I learned.

Now that I am an Associate with PAN Communications, I’ve been looking forward to giving back to the places and the people who helped me reach where I am in my career. This past month I volunteered to run mock interviews for the Curry College career development class.

Students were assigned a professional within their field of study and were required to appropriately prepare and schedule an interview. The goal of these interviews was to focus on general and in-depth questions one might receive when being interviewed for a position in that given field. Many students understood the importance of being able to complete an interview and have it be a feedback only situation. This gives the individual time to reflect on comments provided and better prepare for when a real interview situation occurs. Here are the top five most important pieces of advice I felt I was able to give these college seniors:

Paper is “dead”—not! Always have multiple copies of your resume with you

In a mock interview situation you will probably only be meeting with one person, but unless specified, you normally won’t be given a heads up that you will be meeting with multiple employees when being interviewed for a position.

I did what? Know your resume backwards and forwards

Having three to five prepared examples from different experiences on your resume can show you understand how your work has prepared you for the position for which you applied. Sometimes you might also receive a question that you weren’t expecting. Knowing what information you provided on your resume whether it be a particular skill or even where you studied abroad are all important elements to have prepared to discuss.

Deep breaths: Taking a moment to think is OK

Many people think it’s important in an interview to immediately answer as question when asked. It’s OK to pull together your thoughts in order to provide a clear and concise answer. Sometimes nerves get the best of us and talking quickly is a bad interview habit, but if you can take a breathe and pull together a strong answer, it will help you in the long run.

I gotta be me: BE YOURSELF

The worst thing an interviewee can do is to not be themselves. An important part of any interviewer’s process is to see how the candidate will fit in with the other employees. If you make it hard for them to gain some perspective on your work ethic that picture will be much less clear.

Courtesy Counts: Follow up

As I was going through the interview process with multiple companies I learned from many of them that I was the only candidate that had sent emailed thank yous to by interviewers. Taking the time to send a thank you and a lesson you learned from the time you spent with them will show the interviewer you appreciative of the time they took out of their day to speak with you and will be another positive reminder connected to the first impression you leave.

Have an interview question? Feel free to comment or tweet me @Sofia_Kathryn.

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