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Helpful Tips for Job Interviews by Alison Doyle

Helpful Tips for Job Interviews by Alison Doyle

Finding a job can be challenging when you’re in college and balancing classes, extracurricular activities, and your social life. It can be difficult even finding time to schedule interviews, but once it’s decided, it’s important to plan ahead. Here are some tips that can help you prepare and ace your interview.

Prepare a List of Your Top Qualities

Make a list of the top five qualities, skills, and areas of knowledge or experiences that would best help you excel in the position. It’s also good to think of situations that demonstrate each asset in past jobs, volunteer work, academic projects, or school activities. Be ready to sell yourself to the employers.

Describe Why You Find the Job Appealing

Whether it is a career-oriented internship or a job, you should be prepared to state how it is related to your academic studies and/or career goals.

Practice Your Interview Answers

Check with the career services office at your university to see if they conduct mock interviews. Mock interviews are a great way to prepare for the real thing and to review common interview questions and answers. That way, you’ll be comfortable responding to questions about your background and skills.

Schedule Your Interview Carefully

When scheduling your interview, make sure to designate enough time to get to and from your interview if you have classes that day. If you’re coming right from class, mention that to your interview. If necessary, ask your professor if you can leave a few minutes early in order to get to your interview on time.

Have the Interviewer’s Contact Info on Hand

Although it’s important to give yourself enough travel time, it’s not unlikely to encounter unexpected obstacles in a college setting- maybe class runs late, a professor wants to talk to you, or an exam runs over the allocated time. If something beyond your control happens and you find that you’ll be running late, it’s good to have your interviewer’s contact information on hand so you can notify them.

Dress Appropriately

Early morning classes might have you rolling out of bed and heading to class in your pajamas, but if you have a 10am interview, make sure to plan accordingly. If it means wearing your interview clothes to class, be sure to look professional and put together for your interview. If you have to go to your interview straight from class with your backpack, a nice outfit will balance that out.

Bring a Copy of Your Resume and Cover Letter

Bringing a copy of your resume and cover letter is a great move. It never hurts to have extra copies because you may be interviewing with more than one person. It’s also good to bring a list of references to share with the interviewer upon request. Lastly, consider bringing a copy of your transcript as well if you’re interviewing for an academic-related position and your grades are an asset.

Be Polite, Professional, and Attentive

No matter how tired you may be, make an effort to greet your interviewer kindly, and be actively engaged during the interview process. Be outgoing and positive, sit up straight and make eye contact. 

Know Your Availability

Employers know that college students have busy schedules, so it’s important to have an idea of your availability, such as how many hours per week you can work, if you can work weekends, and if you will be available during summer or winter breaks. It can be helpful to bring a copy of your class schedule or a write up of when you’re available, so you’re not scrambling to remember during your interview

Send a Thank-You Note Afterward

Although you should thank your interviewer in person for taking the time to interview you, it’s a great idea to send a thank-you email as well. In addition, taking the time to follow up reiterates your interest in the position. Be sure to express your enthusiasm for the job if it is still an attractive opportunity and briefly summarize how it is a good fit.

Source: Alison Doyle. January 21, 2020. Top Job Interview Tips for College Students. thebalancecareers.com