From Classroom to Conference Room: Insights and Tips to Getting Hired

Posted August 11, 2014 by
Male student with computer taking notes in university class

Male student with computer taking notes in university class. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Walking off the stage after receiving your college diploma can feel a bit like stepping into the void – a vast void of unemployed graduates all hoping to land the best job offer for their chosen field. Some job seekers focus with a laser-like intensity that blocks out opportunities disguised as “poor fits,” while others make it to the interview only to freeze and not communicate their experience and desire for the job.

Just as receiving your degree was the result of discipline, preparation and hard work, so too is the journey to receiving the right job offer. Here are a few insights and tips to help speed your path to the career you’ve worked so hard to launch:

Look on Campus. An internship is extremely important, but if you just can’t find one, you should look on campus for ways to develop and challenge your leadership skills through on-campus groups.

Tip: You need to be participating in clubs and organizations where you can be part of building projects, organizing events, or developing written communication — such as writing brochures, and fliers, and memos — so that you can simulate that corporate environment and start building a resumé.

Use Campus Career Services. Students can often fail to utilize a school’s career services center, which offers a wealth of resources. Not only doing interview prep and mock interviews, but employer information sessions can be great.

Tip: Employers often will arrive on campus to talk about their organization, and you can learn a lot about what jobs exist in the market, or what your skills can earn in terms of a salary or future growth potential. Sometimes you won’t realize that there may be 40 other careers out there that could be a great fit for you. Utilizing career services is a great way for you to learn just how much there may be for you, and that you’re not just limited to a couple careers.

Prepare for the interview: job seekers of all ages are guilty of arriving unprepared to their interview. There’s no do-over interview, and after spending so much time sending applications, taking time to prepare isn’t asking too much.

Tip: You will want to know everything you can about the organization with which you are interviewing.  It is important to know something about their industry (at least general knowledge, even though you may not be involved in their client-facing activities), about the organization itself (recent successes, market presence, products or services provided) and about their culture.

They’re not just interviewing you; you’re interviewing them, too: Bring a notebook to take notes during your interview; be sure to ask the questions you listed when studying the job description, along with other questions you jotted down during the meeting. If the interviewer does not mention the next steps, it’s fine to ask.

Tip: Bring extra copies of your resume, as well as relevant work samples.  At the end of the interview, be sure to recap why you want the job and how you view yourself as a fit.

A rejection is not a missed or wasted opportunity: Not every interview will result in a job offer, but every interview should help you understand your skills and value that you can offer an employer – and communicate those much more effectively in your next interview.

Tip: A rejection isn’t personal. If you believe you were a strong fit for the position, it’s fine to send a note asking for feedback.  Some companies may not respond, but for those that do, you get invaluable insights on how you can play up your strengths the next time.

Find a Mentor: Mentoring is a great tool to help new and experienced employees build their skills while having a great sounding board for ideas, career perspective and support in challenging situations.

Tip: If a company does have a mentorship program you will want to ask questions around who the mentors are, how they are assigned and the expectations for the mentor-mentee relationship.  If you join an organization that does not have a program like this, you can still identify a person you view as a mentor and ask them to engage with you. You can also work with an organization like Genesis10 — http://www.genesis10.com/recent-college-graduates/about/ –, which offers training, mentoring and contacts that can help land that first job.

Tara Wyborny brings years of consulting services experience to her role as the Genesis10 Associates Program’s recruiting lead. Tara is an advocate and trusted advisor for next generation workforce planning, implementation and ongoing support.

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