Being a job seeker can be stressful. However, being new to the job force brings even more stress! Every professional has been in your shoes, and anyone who has looked for a job has gone through a bad interview or two. Remember, interviews are all about first impressions: how you act, look, what you say and what you don’t say are scrutinized and evaluated. Therefore, it is important to know that it is not the hiring manager who determines if you get that awesome entry level job…
It is you!
If you feel that competing with seasoned professionals is a daunting task, you will want to make sure you highlight the characteristics you do have that tenured professionals may not. Three areas to consider:
- Express your hunger for career growth. You want to be clear that you are ambitious and have passion for your industry.
- Illustrate your technical abilities. Many positions lean heavily on technology, so showing that you are tech savvy is critically important.
- Articulate how you want to work for THEM, in this particular position for this specific company. Here you can clearly express two things: a) you are in control of your career and b) you are committed to them.
Highlight your skills and accomplishments.
- Demonstrate these qualities by walking your interviewer through a project you’ve worked on. Be sure to emphasize your individual contributions and accomplishments. Make sure you indicate which specific tasks you have done, using the pronoun “I”; rather than just what the overall team accomplished using the pronoun “we”.
- Most hiring managers want to hire someone who will successfully assimilate into the work environment. They also desire employees who are interested in taking risks and accepting challenges. Therefore, you want to show leadership ability, while at the same time showing your likeability, courage and the ability to work as an integral team member.
- Show that you have the “and then some” characteristic. Provide examples where you have gone above and beyond the call of duty by taking on additional responsibilities without being asked.
- Since you are an entry level candidate, it is very important that you answer interview questions by relating to a previous class project, internship, or part time job. For example, describing a specific class project shows teamwork, how you manage others, your creativity, motivation, innovation, and your problem solving skills. Describing an internship will show how you have real hands-on experience and can also show the passion you have for your career field. Describing how you balanced that part time job while going to school shows independence as well as incredible time management and organizational skills.
In summary, you want the hiring manager to see that you have a strong work ethic. You also want to exhibit that you are a “hands-on” person, as well as a strategic and critical thinker. Make it clear to the interviewer that you are someone who has the courage to take on risks and accept the challenge of competing with those more tenured professionals. Demonstrating these characteristics will prove that you truly are the best choice for the position.
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