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Preparation for Interviewing

Start Early

Do your career exploration early. Know what kind of job you want and the skills that you bring to the work place. Your job search needs to be well focused and targeted to companies with whom you want to work.

Visit your Career Center early. The staff can help you design a strong resume and cover letter as well as practice interviewing. These items are always needful, but your marketing tools and communication skills will be of even greater importance this year.

According to, the resume may seem like only a first step in the job search process, but in reality it’s a reflection of the candidate’s professionalism. “The entry-level resume is critical to a successful job search, especially with the state of the United States economy”, says Adeola Ogunwole, Director of Marketing and PR for CollegeGrad. Com. “College Students and recent grads should make developing a world class resume their top priority for attaining career success”. Ogunwole advises putting in the time to develop the best reflection possible since the resume is often the first thing the recruiter or interviewer sees.

Conduct Informational Interviews

Informational interviews are an excellent way to research jobs, make connections with Employers and become more comfortable with interviews. Find someone who does what you want to do, set up an appointment with him or her and conduct an informational interview. Even though you are interviewing someone else, you can sharpen you communication skills while you learn more about the job and the company. Even though you don’t want to ask for a job during the informational interview, the individual can serve as a contact for when you begin your search in earnest.

Research Companies

Recruiters have consistently commented that student candidates “fell short of the Employers expectations for knowledge of the company or organization with which they were interviewing. Students didn’t conduct enough research on the companies prior to the interview. You can set yourself apart as a top candidate by your knowledge of the company.

To get started, try to locate the following items of basic information about the company: age, service or products, competitors within the industry, growth pattern, reputation, divisions and subsidiaries, locations/length of time established there, size, number of employees, sales, assets and earnings, new products or projects, number of locations and foreign operations.

To begin your search, visit your Career Center and locate recruiting literature provided by companies. Be sure also to check company profiles appropriate for your career choices in one of the NACE (National Association of Colleges & Employers) Job Choices magazines. Then look for other reference books such as Standard and Poor’s Register, which has several volumes that include information on industry classifications, geographic locations, names and profiles of company executives and company addresses.

When you have considered all available materials, turn your attention to the business reference section of your campus or local library and continue your search.
According to Employers responding to surveys conducted by the NACE, candidates who have done their homework are better able to discuss how their experiences and qualifications match up with the company’s needs. Prepared candidates who know the company can also talk about how they can make an immediate contribution to the organization. The candidate who can do this is typically the candidate who gets the job offer.

Practice, Practice, Practice Interviews

After you research the position you are interviewing for, then practice your interviewing skills. Again, utilize your Career Center and take advantage of Mock Interviews. Employers expect a student to be able to discuss the needs of the company and how the student’s background can fit those needs. Employers want excellent communication skills– the #1 quality that Employers look for in new hires.

Follow up after the interview with a thank you note. Employers prefer a written note or email instead of a voice mail. Follow-ups can sometimes make or break a candidate.

The employment picture will be very challenging over the next year, but hiring is still taking place. If you start early, do informational interviews, utilize your network, research companies and practice interviewing, you will definitely have an advantage in proving that you are the BEST candidate for the job!