Being in college doesn’t only equate to studying for exams and writing research papers, but also preparing you for life in the real world once you graduate. Whether it’s for an internship or a job post-graduation, you will SOON need to be ready for a job interview.
Here we offer five of our top interview tips to help you get the internship or job of your dreams.
1. Arrive early
Early is on time, on time is late and late is unacceptable. It is irrefutably the most important rule in the playbook to be early for your interview. There are too many unknowns for you to not be prepared for an unexpected interruption. For starters you may find yourself in unusual traffic. You might even forget something, like a copy of your resume or directions, which causes you to backtrack 10 minutes. Life happens, but you don’t want to be remembered as the kid who arrived late for his interview. Plan ahead, set your clock an hour earlier, and be sure to indulge in a healthy breakfast!
2. Dress for success
First impressions can make or break your opportunity. The job market, even for young professionals, is rigorous and by dressing for success you already stand out amongst the crowded clutter of cover letters and resumes. Here are a few guidelines to follow:
- A two piece matching suit is always the best and safest choice — even if the job is in a non-suit-wearing work environment.
- Dress in conservative colors and fabrics: royal blues, dark grays, solid colors or very subtle patterns. (Hint: avoid an all black combination, it comes off as funeral attire!)
- To my ladies… do not wear heels if you are not comfortable walking in them, and if you do decide to go with heels keep them closed-toed while avoiding extreme heights.
- Keep your hair pulled back and out of your face — if you insist on keeping the facial hair at least trim the length and keep it clean.
3. Practice your pitch
Being a young professional in a grown up’s world can be intimidating. That’s why confidence is key, and your confidence begins with your pitch. This is by no means your time to shine, so no pressure, but it’s the time to prove to your potential boss that you deserve to be there. Your pitch can consist of just a few lines… “Hi, my name is___. It’s a pleasure to meet you. I am a student at [insert school name here] and I am studying [insert major/minor]”.
4. Limit the perfume and eat a mint
You do not know how sensitive your interviewer is to certain sprays, therefore, avoid excessive amounts of perfume or cologne. It can distract the interviewer from your wonderful smile and well practiced pitch. Furthermore, eat a mint. You do not want your interviewer to smell the way you like your morning coffee.
5. Stay positive
The best advice I can give you is to always have something positive to say. Do not talk bad about a previous job, employer or employee. Always turn a negative into a positive even if the question was “what are your weaknesses,” or “explain a time you encountered conflict in the workplace.” This is a test to see whether you are a problem starter or a problem solver. Throughout the interview keep a smile, maintain eye contact, and always have something positive to stay!
What other job interview tips can you offer to your fellow classmates? Share them with us in the comments.
Alisia is a mechanical engineering student at The University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and holds an internship at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. After graduating with her bachelors, she wants to pursue her masters with a minor in environmental studies. With her degree, she hopes to develop alternative energy resources and create a sustainable environment.
Apart from her school extracurricular activities, she enjoys drawing, painting, and traveling. Within the next year, she plans to get involved with Give Volunteers, an organization that combines volunteer work and overseas travel to improve lives. Apart from helping others in developing countries obtain necessary resources, she is also passionate in helping others achieve their academic goals, which is why she is so excited to be a Cengage Student Ambassador!