How to Make a Great Impression on Your First Interview Out of College
by Nelma Lumme
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Making a good first impression on the interview is important. So much so if you are fresh out of college and want to land your first job. A potential problem, however, is the fact that you have spent the last few years only reading books.
The world is moving forward at a breakneck speed. Often giving companies access to new technologies on a monthly basis. As a person who grew up during the technological revolution, you should be used to change. And during a job interview it will be one of your main assets.
Don’t forget the fact that your professors, textbooks, and lectures are probably based on outdated data. The point of the statement is that you should always invest in yourself even outside of college.
While you may have graduated and started your journey down a successful career path, that path won’t be easy. Getting to your dream job will take years of work, and start off, you will need to get a job by impressing an interviewer.
Getting from A to B
Transitioning from a college student to a grad looking for work can be difficult for some. You’ve been chasing grades, project deadlines and extracurricular activities for years. All of this, only to find out that little of it matters on the job market.
The reality is rough and won’t be kind to anyone who’s looking for an easy way out. It’s even more so when you recognize how many of your fellows have graduated alongside you and are looking for the same thing. How can you use your strengths in order to pull off a successful job interview?
Setting yourself up
The first thing that you should do is weigh your strengths and flaws in the employer’s eyes. You are a mid-20’s college grad without true work experience. You are looking for a way to begin your career. Your advantage is exactly that; you are a part of the millennial generation that was raised with access to technology. You saw many innovations come and go. And you are able to adapt quickly and grasp new knowledge. Preparing for your job interview starts before the conversation itself:
Writing a resume can be a good time if you know what and how to write. You can start by brainstorming all the soft, professional and personal skills you have on paper. Then write down all the volunteering, extracurricular or any kind of efforts you have done so far.
Anything flies when you are a fresh millennial looking for a way to break through, so make sure that you don’t skip anything. If you need help formatting your resume you can check out some of the top sites that can help you out – but most people do it by themselves. The way your resume looks will speak volumes about you as a person and a professional, so take your time.
Research the company
Whatever job you are working to get, the interviewer will appreciate it if you know a few things before hand. Researching the company and doing some background checks will prove very important once the interview starts.
You should know as much as possible about their internal culture, company vision, partners, and subsidiaries. The more you know up front, the better your chances will be. Use the fact that you are a millennial and go over a couple of sites – you’re not after the position itself, but the company as well.
It’s crucial to leave a good first impression by dressing up appropriately. This varies from company to company and you should pay close attention to it. If you are looking for work in a startup, a casual outfit with a button down shirt will do.
If you are a business grad looking for a way into the corporate world, a suit and tie is a must. Dress whatever seems proper for the occasion or ask a friend or family member to help out. Second opinions are great when it comes to choosing what to wear to your interview – people might see something you don’t.
Mind your manners
Depending on your campus and the college you have attended, your vocabulary and tone of voice might have changed. While it’s not meant as an insult to anyone, interviewers don’t like it when candidates are impolite and disregard authority.
Remember what you are doing and what this job means to you and your future career. Keep your foot close to the breaks, smile and answer the questions directly and without any remarks. Casual talk is fine once the interview is over, but make sure that you show yourself in the best light while the interview is on.
Be on time
Being on time is the first thing that interviewers notice when greeting new candidates. Arriving late to your job interview might just cost you the job, no matter your interview results. Clear your schedule on time and arrive at least 10 minutes early.
This will show the interviewer that you are a responsible individual that they can count on, not someone who is just in it for the fun or because they have to find a job. If you are late, make sure that your reasons are serious and that they amend your lack of punctuality.
Ask the right questions
There will be a point in the job interview when the interviewer will say “Ask me anything you want.” This happens randomly and is meant to show your ability to adapt. Being someone who grew up with all the changes happening around us, it shouldn’t be too hard for you.
You can ask anything from how many candidates are they considering, to information about the CEO, company culture, work habits, job responsibilities, etc. Make sure that you ask intelligent and responsible questions that show how much you care about the employment.
Never ask questions about holidays, free days, payments and raise, etc. These show that you are not in the position and want to contribute to the team but rather just take the money and leave at the end of the day. Today’s job market is all about team players, so start acting like one.
Ask for a follow-up
Once the interview is over, the interviewer might tell you that they will get in touch with you. Be smart and ask when they will get back to you and in what form – don’t just walk away without information. The sad truth is that some companies simply don’t get back to the candidates that they decided to let go, leaving them confused.
Once the follow-up does happen, act like a professional. Even if you didn’t get the job, ask why that is. Ask for constructive feedback that you can apply for your next interview. Use every interview that you (unfortunately) don’t pass in order to prepare for the faithful one that gets you a job.
Head above the water
Preparing for an interview and doing well isn’t as simple as it might seem. You will make some mistakes at first and that is just fine. It’s just the nature of these things. It’s critical however, to keep your head up and move forward.
Many graduates spend months searching for an employment that suits them and an employer that finds them interesting and promising. Graduates without any work experience under their belt are naturally meant to spend some time chasing their tails on the job market before something significant happens. And while it may not be easy, it’s worth every minute you put into it.
Looking for a job and going through interviews will help you realize who you are as a person. You will go through self-reflection every time an interviewer asks you something new and this will make you a better person in return. Don’t give up before it’s over and keep moving forward. The right employer is eagerly looking for you. Why not give it your best to find them and start a wonderful career that you can be proud of?