As Editor-in-chief for Preston Bailey Designs, I have enjoyed working with quite a few college students as a part of the editorial mentorship program I founded in the company. One of the key elements in the program is teaching participants how to prepare for and present themselves in an interview. As many soon-to-be graduates are starting to send out their resume’s, I wanted to share few tips in the hopes of helping them secure the position that best suits them.
Do your research. You can have all of the passion and drive in the world but when you sit down in front of an employer and have no idea who they really are, what they do, what they have done, what their website looks like or what roles they are hiring for, you’re going to come across unprepared at best and lazy at worst.
Use this information to showcase your skills. When you show an employer that you have done your due diligence and can easily and effectively discuss the company and current events without sounding contrived, you’re on the right track. Be sure to let the employer know how your skills and interests are in line with the direction of their company. Even if you don’t have “event experience” your education and experience in other areas might be utilized while you learn the areas that are new to you. I will only hire someone I know I can learn from so don’t be afraid to show me what you know!
Memorize the entire job description. Just reading the headline is not going to help you. Read the full description and know your strengths and weaknesses. Have support for areas that will need it. For example, if you need to know a computer program, let them know you’ve signed up for a course or plan to do so. In addition, have questions prepared to ask related to the description. Saying, “No, you have covered everything” is the last thing an interviewer wants to hear when you are asked if you have any questions.
Present yourself properly. I have always encouraged my staff to express themselves with their day-to-day clothing, but when we are presenting to clients, we take a more polished approach. Dress as though you’re about to meet the client of your dreams.
Thank you notes are a must. A handwritten card is nice, but an email is also acceptable. Write it formally, express your interest in the job and reiterate why you would be a great fit. Make sure it’s written clearly, professionally and send personalized notes to every person you met with.
Finally, be yourself. A job may sound perfect on paper, but if it’s not a fit with your personality, vision and goals, it’s not going to be “great” no matter how it looks on a resume.