In the Home-Stretch: Preparing for the Interview
Navigating the real world can be overwhelming for a new college graduate. You made it through college but now the real test begins—finding a job! Even if you aren’t driven to achieve CEO status, every young professional is proud to know that they are self-sufficient and moving forward. But how do you get there if you have no experience or perhaps never even had a job before? Never fear. There are things you can do to show potential employers that although you’re new to the game, you take your future very seriously and you are worth a second look. All it takes is a little more homework.
First on the homework to-do list, is the résumé. In a sea of résumés, make sure yours really stands out by customizing your résumé and cover letter to the position and organization. Show the hiring manager that you’ve put some thought and attention into your application. This is the first step to landing that coveted interview. But in order to create a perfectly tailored résumé, you must investigate your future employer.
Research will also help you prepare for a successful interview. How do you possibly prepare for an interview? It might seem tricky, but demonstrating a thorough knowledge of the company will knock your interviewer’s socks off. Understanding the industry, company and position will make your interview more productive for you and your potential employer:
• Industry Research will reveal where the field is headed and how the company stands in that future. You’ll have an awareness of the other players and competition in the industry as well as how professionals in the industry are paid and promoted.
• Company Research will reveal the organization’s culture, financial status and stability to determine whether it’s the best firm for you. Before any interview, you should educate yourself about the company’s mission, products and services, sales volume, locations, divisions, partners, and plans for growth.
• Position Research will reveal what qualifications and talents are best suited to that position which will help you prepare for the interview questions. You’ll also have the opportunity to identify what strengths and experience you bring to the table, what weaknesses you can work on in order to present that information appropriately to the interviewer.
I know, I know. By the time you’re finished with the cap and gown, you’re done with homework. And where do you find all of this company info anyway? It’s easy. My Career Search Organizer includes fabulous resources for company research as well as a ton of other great tools that will make your job search a cinch.
Remember: a well-studied interviewee really stands out. Not to mention, a little investigation will help you prepare pointed, thoughtful questions that will get the information you need as well as show the employer that you’re a quick study. Ultimately, your preparedness and enthusiasm for the company and its goals are sure to leave a lasting impression with your interviewer.
~The Résumé Girl, Lauren Hasson
Career Planning Expert, Campus Calm