When you finally feel ready to balance school and a career, it’s time to take those important first steps. You’ve drafted up your resume, sent it out, and you’re ready to start showing up at job interviews. You’re probably looking to land a more lucrative position than the summer job you worked as a teenager, and a real job interview is a totally new ball game. Be in it to win it, and try to avoid making some of the most common mistakes.
Talking Too Much About School
Valuable university experiences lend themselves to your ability to perform well in a specific career. The person interviewing you read your resume, and they’re well aware of those experiences. Touch on them a little bit, but don’t do so to the detriment of any real-life career experience you may have under your belt.
Not Knowing What to Say
You’ve probably given speeches or oral presentations as a student. This isn’t the way you want to speak to someone who is interviewing you for a job. This person wants to know that you have a deep knowledge of the company and the culture, but try not to act like you’re educating them about the things they already know. Make it more about how the qualities you have can help their business succeed.
It’s natural to be a little nervous, but it’s important not to let your nerves show. You might look uncomfortable because your dress shoes are too tight or your belt should be let out a setting, and you need to feel comfortable. It’s easier to process your thoughts and eloquently express them when you’re wearing attire that fits you properly.
Not Having Any Questions
At first impulse, it might seem impolite to question the person who is interviewing you. This person actually wants you to ask them questions. Ask about company culture, or what charitable causes their company supports. Show an interest and understanding about the future of the company. Find out some information about the company you’re interviewing for, and ask about what you’ve learned – the interviewer will appreciate it.
Leaving Out Crucial Information
Do you have a business card? They’re inexpensive, easy to design, and extremely helpful in professional situations. If the person considering you for a great position wants to look you up on professional social networks or give you a call, your business card should make it easy for them to find you.
Being Too Forward
Every student needs more money! This is a universal truth. It may put a bad taste in an HR professional’s mouth if you come out swinging about salary or hourly pay. Wait until you’re offered the position before you open up the discussion. It may help to negotiate a little less if you know your career path will have opportunities for advancement. You can negotiate a little more once you’ve established yourself.
Letting Stress Show
Students are constantly under a lot of pressure. Don’t bring that stress with you into the interview room. Read as many practice questions as you can, and verbally deliver the answers to yourself in a mirror. You’ll feel more comfortable making your point and you’ll have an opportunity to refine your answers as much as possible before anyone can hear them. Don’t sweat it.
Forgetting to Check In
The interview isn’t over when you walk out of the room. Remember to place a follow up call or send an email. Wait a few days to reach out – too soon seems pushy, but forgetting to call altogether may give them the impression that you aren’t genuinely interested in the position.
Everyone makes mistakes during interviews, but the most important thing to remember is that you can learn from them. If one interview doesn’t go so well, take what you’ve learned and make the next interview great.
This article was contributed by guest author Corinne Ledling.