7 interview tips for college students and recent graduates

Chances are up to know you've only interviewed for service or retail industry jobs that you've gotten right on the spot. Or your mom used some pretty sketchy nepotism to secure you that receptionist gig one summer — shhh, no one has to know.


But now it's onto the real world — making connections, interviewing well and making sure you're decently presentable are all new things you'll need to consider. Getting those crucial internships or fellowships will help you secure a much-coveted spot in your industry

Mommy and daddy aren't going to hold your hand forever so you'll need some help to get going — here are seven interviewing tips to aid you and your peers.

1. Cater your resume to each job description

This probably sounds super tedious but if you can write a personalized cover letter for each job, you can alter your resume a bit too. Pay attention to specific skills, qualities and experience highlighted within the job description and make sure these appear first on your resume. And if you've cut out some related experience to shorten your resume, consider swapping them in for something that might not be as essential.

2. Prepare personal examples or anecdotes of key assets

If a job description emphasizes leadership and teamwork, be ready to list a couple of personal examples that showcase these traits. Tell your interviewer about that one time you took charge on a group project or how you're so organized you keep two agendas — something related and quirky will obtain and keep attention.

3. Show dedication and interest

If you're not enthusiastic about the job, why would they hire you? Even if you just need to pay the rent this summer, you can't let them know that's the only thing that motivates you. Pay attention to the goals and issues of the company and relate them to your own goals — this way, your interviewer will know you're going to put your 100% in.

4. Use appropriate body language

There's nothing I hate more than a weak handshake — it's like gripping a limp chicken that also has a weak personality and shows hesitancy. Your other body language will tell stories, too — slouching in your seat gives off unprofessionalism and not making eye contact will make you seem doubtful and unconfident. Be firm and strong minded in your actions — it'll reflect a more secure and stable identity.

5. Prepare your questions

At the end of every interview, they'll ask you if you have any questions for them or the company. Even if you don't — ask. Take away something you heard from the interview or something you read online and form an intelligent question — it'll show that you were paying attention and expressing concern for the position.

6. Write thank you notes

Email a thank you note as soon as you get home or finish the interview — not only will they have a physical reminder of the interview, but it's also just common courtesy. Be sure to include any notable information from the interview and summarize again why you'd be a good match for this job.

Plus, you'll have another line of communication with them in case you have any follow-up questions.

7. Practice makes perfect

It might seem silly to roleplay an interview, but you'll be more comfortable once you do. Utilize your college's career services and set up a mock interview with an advisor or even just grab a friend. Google some common interview questions to answer and you should be all set.

So there you go — these tips will not steer you wrong, but there are many more things you can do to ensure the job. Practice and experience really does make perfect so the best thing to do is to dive right in.

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