3 Interviewing Secrets for College Students

Given the current state of the economy, the job market is competitive. Current college students and recent graduates should expect to compete with dozens (possibly hundreds) of job applicants as they seek out internships or full-time job offers.

Landing the interview is just the first step in the job search process. Here’s 3 ways job-seekers can stand out from the crowd during the interviewing process.

  • Know Your Strengths

As you prepare for “the big day,” you should keep in mind that an interview is much like a sales pitch. You’re basically selling yourself to the interviewer – trying to convince him or her that you are the best person for the job.

The best way to do this is to know your strengths. By “know your strengths,” I mean that you should be able give specific details about your responsibilities at your previous employer and explain how the skills that you learned are relevant to the position that you’re applying for.

For example, if you worked as a waiter/waitress, you might consider highlighting your ability to work in a fast-paced environment, juggle multiple tasks, and effectively service customers.

  • Ask Good Questions

“Do you have any questions?” Almost all interviewers ask this question at the end of their interview. Asking well thought-out questions during interviews sends a positive message to employers – it demonstrates that you are genuinely interested in the company.

In order to do this, you must thoroughly research the company prior to the interview. This includes going to their website and reading about the company’s history, what products or services they provide, etc. Having some background knowledge about the company will allow you to put together a set of questions before the interview.

  • Avoid Speaking Negatively About Previous Employers

Some employers like to ask, “Why did you leave your last job?” If you are confronted with this question during your interview, you should avoid speaking negatively about your previous employer – even if you absolutely hated the job.

A job interview is not the right place to vent about your previous employer, that’s what parents and friends are for. Instead, just put a positive spin on your response. For example, you might say something like “There were no opportunities for advancement and I am looking for a company that I can grow with” or “I’m seeking out opportunities that more closely align with my career goals,” or something similar.

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind…whenever you go to an interview, you are selling yourself. Would you sell a low quality product? Would you show up with a product in a poorly designed package? (hint: this means you should dress appropriate – i.e. business suit or dress). Absolutely not! You’d give it your all and convince your audience to buy from you!

If you keep these tips in mind, along with the interviewing secrets identified above, you’ll do really well on your interview! Good luck.

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Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

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