• How to Prepare for Your Interview

    by Will Cagnassola

    A male college student sitting at a table and looking at a laptop. He is wearing a suit jacket and tie.

    With the beginning of a new semester comes everyone’s favorite season: recruitment. After applying for a job, sitting down for an interview can be nerve wracking. Whether you’ll be searching for a position for this school year or already looking ahead to next summer, I’m here to provide some insight on how to make this process easier and to help you land a quality job or internship.

    Advance Preparations

    Once you land an interview, there are some things you need to do ahead of time to be successful day of. These include:

    1. Research. The best thing you can do as a job prospect is to research the company prior to an interview. Learn about what they do, what they care about, and how they help the community around them. This is absolutely key for showcasing your interest in the company, which is ultimately one of the first steps in building trust with your potential employer.
    2. Prepare. Know your resume like the back of your hand. You will be asked about prior experiences and how they relate to the job you are applying for. Be sure you can answer this and elaborate on any other experiences listed.
    3. Ask Questions. Do not be afraid to ask questions! Compile a list of questions in advance to respond to the ‘Do you have any questions for us?’ question. Ask the interviewer what they like about their company, what they would change. This kind of curiosity leads to ideas and eventually greater advancements.

    Day-of-Interview Plan of Action

    If your interview is in person, be sure to arrive on time and in the necessary attire. Make sure you have a reliable mode of transportation, a second (and third) copy of your resume, and more than enough time to get to your interview location.

    If the interview is via video call, consider what will be in your background during the call. Find a spot around your home that looks organized and has minimal distractions. Or set up a virtual background if necessary. Minimize background noise. Check that your Wi-Fi is running, that your computer is functioning, and that you have the link readily available prior to the call. Have an internet outage contingency plan. Could you join by phone if your wi-fi suddenly goes down?

    One last bit of advice - always, always, always thank the interviewer for taking the time to discuss your job opportunity. Follow-up with a thank-you email. Time is the most valuable asset in the world, yet it is most often overlooked. If you recognize and appreciate that somebody has taken the time out of their day to help you, it opens up many opportunities to form a quality relationship in the future.

    If you are able to follow my advice, I promise you will have a great chance of getting the job!

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us -  click here  to pitch your idea and get started! 

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  • Four Tips for Career Fair Success

    by Becca Elson

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    It may feel like the semester has just begun, but Fall career fairs will be here before you know it! Whether you’re a first-time career fair participant or a seasoned veteran, here are some tips on how to get the most from the experience. 

    Advance planning

    I cannot stress enough how important it is to research the companies that will attend the career fair. Most college career service offices will make their list of participating companies available ahead of time. Make a list of the companies that most interest you and explore each company’s website to learn what makes them unique. This will help you be able to explain why you are interested in their company on career fair day; in addition, you will be able to explain how your personal brand fits in their company. Investigate what positions you may be interested in and consider the skills you have that would make you successful at those jobs. If the company has not posted job information yet, inquire when this information is expected to come out and a rough timeline of their recruiting process. 

    Resume required

    On career fair day, there is not a specific time that is best for handing the recruiter your resume. Some recruiters will want to have your resume from the beginning to ask you questions based off the resume. Other recruiters will not want to be distracted by the resume and prefer it at the end. There are some companies that do not accept resumes at career fairs at all. Regardless of what situation you end up in you will want to make sure you bring plenty of copies of your resume to the career fair. While not a necessity, your resume will look much better if printed on resume paper rather than on regular copy paper that can be easily wrinkled. I also like to have my resume on top of my padfolio in clear view for the recruiter, so they can feel free to ask for it at any point. 

    Engage in the moment

    The lines for some companies can be particularly long and they may have recruiters checking people in before approaching the main recruiters. Take advantage of the recruiters who are monitoring the line. They work for the company, too! Ask them how their day is going and what they think of the campus. This is just another opportunity to network with more people and a chance to make another good impression. Make sure you are asking them and the main recruiters questions specific to them and not generalized ones. Also, while you are waiting in line make sure to look engaged. This can mean looking over your notes or talking to others in line. Standing in the line on your phone does not give a good impression to recruiters and they will notice. 

    The aftermath

    One of the most important parts of a career fair is what you do afterwards. It is critical that you send a thank-you email to each recruiter you spoke to within 24 hours of the career fair. You must remember to ask for the recruiter’s contact information, which in most instances is their business card. Sometimes recruiters will not give this out, but don’t worry – this most likely means they are extremely busy and won’t have the time to get back to you. In this instance, you may need to search the company’s website to find contact information. Avoid sending the exact same thank you email to every recruiter you talked to; this will look generic and lazy. I found it most helpful to take notes after each company I spoke with. Then I could reference something specific in my follow-up email to each person. You think that you will remember what you spoke about with each company but believe me, when you get home it will all feel like a huge blur. 

    No matter if you are looking for a job or if you are just there for practice, make it a point to attend career fair. Prepare ahead of time, take your resume, engage with recruiters, and be sure to follow up afterwards. Be confident, enjoy getting to know new people and you’ll be on the path to success!


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