How to Prepare for Your First Job Interviews After College

Not all college studies prepare you for job interviews. In fact, many students are not fully prepared because they haven’t spent much time in the workforce. Entry level jobs are a challenge; most of the candidates are in the same boat as you – they have just graduated college and are looking to get a foot in the door. The key to acing a job interview is preparation. By practicing and knowing what to do before and during an interview, you can boost your chances of getting a job after you graduate from college.

Start Analyzing

Learn about the target job before your first interview. In doing so, you can identify the skills and knowledge the employer expects you to have. Many companies and departments look for people with specific personal qualities. Make a list of these, and then write down up to 10 assets you have to offer. These include personality traits, skills, experiences, and even course projects you’ve completed – the goal is to match your assets with what’s expected of the job.

Practice the Interview Process

Examples and anecdotes are useful in demonstrating your strengths. Don’t be afraid to use academic projects as examples, especially if they show your perseverance and ability to work with others. Think deeply about why the job or the company interests you. It’s then easier to be enthusiastic during the job interview.

In the time leading up to the interview, think about common interview questions and how to respond. It’s not hard to find the types of questions interviewers ask if you look online. There are countless websites to find these, but you can ask advisors at your college or even people who have been on job interviews. Also, try conducting informational interviews with college alumni who hold the types of jobs you’re looking for.

Practice is the only way to master the process. During practice interviews, listen carefully to the questions, which will sharpen your ability to do so. You’ll be able to more confidently ask for clarifications if a question is unclear. Also important is body language. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll be with a firm handshake, making eye contact, sitting up straight, and being articulate.

Make a List of Potential Questions

Whether you’re graduating from the University of Southern California or Emerson College, an interviewer will expect you to ask questions. Formulating these queries requires research. The interviewer will have expected you to have researched the company anyway. Pertinent and well thought out questions will showcase your genuine interest as well. You should know why the job is the right fit, so you can communicate this to the recruiter, who will be more impressed if the candidate did their homework preparing for the interview.

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