2010 Graduates: BE Prepared!


Many of the current college graduates haven’t had any luck securing a full-time job yet with the condition of the current job market. As a recent college graduate, many more classmates than I expected with a Business Administration degree are looking for full-time jobs, rather than going to grad school for their M.B.A.  I couldn’t figure out why, if they had very little previous experience in the field they were looking at, or didn’t take the initiative to be continuously searching while finishing the end of the semester. According to a Michigan State University survey, there was a 40 percent decline in job prospects in 2009, but hiring has increased by 5.3 percent for 2010 college graduates with careers in the accounting and engineering industries, as stated by NACE. With the steadily increasing amount of jobs available in the market, one has to be able to stand out ahead of their competition if more graduates are simultaneously flooding the market searching for these additional jobs. An increased effort is needed to take a little step in job searching and preparing to be able to secure an interview.

On campus, seeing and conversing with the perspective undergraduate students (or their parents instead), they are lacking the necessary face-to-face social skills that are vital for anyone to survive outside of the college campus. With social media consuming more of college students free time, they can interact well online but lack some of the key success factors for interacting in person. In interviews, some candidates aren’t prepared properly of how to market their skills correctly to the company and how to interact with the interviewer. A student should look into more in-depth pointers before putting them self out on the job market, and finding out ways how they can add value to a company.

Networking

Network with professionals you meet on campus including professors, career counselors, and other administrative employees. They might have a connection to someone in the field or dream position you are looking for. After networking with someone, also send a thank you email for advice or taking the time out of their busy schedule to talk. Always remind them that you are still interested in the field, and inquire about any other connections they might have. You could possibly hear back from them in the future about an open position.

Researching

Before the big day of your interview, take about an hour to research the company and its industry. See what makes the company successful by understanding their culture, mission, values, and how they keep up or stay ahead of their competitors. Familiarize yourself with the structure and its operations, and always have at least three questions prepared for the interview.

Interviewing

Always come into an interview dressed in a suit, and well polished. It is better to be over dressed, than under dressed. Even if the interview is for a restaurant, you always want to give the best first impression of yourself as a professional.

During the questioning, be prepared for behavioral type questions. This is where you give past experiences as examples, so the interviewer can indentify if you would be able to perform the same way in the future.

Be a STAR

The best method to answer a behavioral based question is to use STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result). This describes a situation you went through in a past experience, what was needed to be accomplished and how you came about it in the process, and what the results were. Using this method can give employers an idea what type of worker you are, and what type of behavior to expect from you in the future.

At the end of the interview, ask when you expect to hear back from them. This will ease all the anxiety later in the night, so you can fall asleep. Don’t forget an old-fashioned firm hand shake. Also, a written personal thank you note should be sent within 24 hours to the interviewer. Remind why you’re interested in the position, and how you can benefit the company in the long-run.

As a graduate, job searching is a job in itself. Don’t go out into the job market looking for anything that you come across without little time or preparation. If you want it, you have to do everything within your power to get it. Show the employer your ambition for the field, and your drive. Your perspective should be searching for a company where you can fit into its company culture to further add value to help grow their organization within the industry, and also gain profits in the long-run.

This post was written by Julie  Skowronek, Marketing Assistant, at Whiting Consulting.

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