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San Antonio, TX

Advanced knowledge of programming language(s), software development tools and environment(s) and systems analysis and functional design

College Graduation: If I Knew Then, What I Know Now - Part II

May 23, 2012
College Graduation: If I Knew Then, What I Know Now - Part II

In the last article, you learned how to begin your post-college job search by updating and leveraging your social media profiles. In this installment, I will review my resume and interview mishaps to ensure you don't make the same mistakes!

 

Resume

 

Looking back at my first resume post-college graduation, my high school volunteer work wasn’t exactly relevant; some would argue I should have omitted my basketball history too. It is important to analyze your resume with an editing eye. Ask yourself what you really need to include and what you’re just using to fill in white space. Include items that set you apart such as awards or recognition, relevant internships and class projects that relate to the position you’re applying for.

 

In my case, I lucked out including the questionable basketball history, as it just so happened that my interviewer played basketball as well. This gave us an immediate connection and offered me some talking points. Don’t sit back and hope you have common ground though, take a proactive approach and review the hiring manager’s LinkedIn profile ahead of time. Maybe you’ll have something in common, too!

 

Interview

 

Preparing for the interview is perhaps the one thing I did right. I took time to research the company, write down potential questions, practice my answers alone and with a friend, and write down questions I had about the company and position.

 

What I didn’t take time to do was fully prepare my outfit. In hindsight, it seems ridiculous that I would spend hours at the mall for any given weekend, but didn’t make a single trip for fresh interview attire. I vividly remember leaving the building feeling that my pants were ill-fitting. Working in a corporate atmosphere, I can tell you first hand that confidence comes with a professional outfit. Walking into an interview can be nerve-racking, but knowing you at least look the part can do wonders for your self-esteem.

 

After you’ve ensured you look the part, play the part. Use a firm handshake, displaying confidence. Always bring a pen and professional looking notepad, asking first if you can take notes. Also, silence can be golden. I remember being confused by the last question of my third and final interviewer. When this happens (and it very well may), stay calm. If you don’t know the exact answer to the question, don’t panic – take a deep breath and ask them to repeat or clarify the question. Take your time when answering every question, pausing may seem like an eternity to you, but these few seconds are worth the wait!

 

Network

 

Adjusting your social media profile, updating your resume and preparing for an interview may be useless without networking. Believe it or not, I got my foot in the door through an old high school teacher who knew someone. Everyone knows someone, take time to think about who you know.

 

This doesn’t necessarily mean going to networking events or job fairs, it can be as simple as attending any local gathering. The important part is putting yourself out there! Begin by talking to people you’ve previously interned with to see what their next step was, or reach out to old professors and even classmates. Consider everything you do as an opportunity to network:  attend luncheons or book clubs, join athletic leagues or go to activities in your neighborhood. Focus on places where you’ll have the opportunity to talk – a loud restaurant isn’t always ideal for starting conversations.

 

No one’s job search is perfect. When it comes down to it, the stars have to align to get the job, but there are steps you can take to push them together. Now that you know what I know, keep a positive attitude and remember that you aren’t the only one wondering “what now?”.

 

Part 2 of 2 Part Series

Previous article: College Graduation: If I Knew Then, What I Know Now (Part I)

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Knowledge Employed is a career advice blog and job tips resource center, created and managed by Kforce’s staffing specialists. Whether you are a professional needing career advice or a hiring authority seeking business guidance, our goal is to provide you with the knowledge and tools.