Being a job seeker in this economy 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 competing with seasoned professionals is a daunting task, you will want to make sure you highlight what characteristics you do have that tenured professionals may not. Three areas to consider:
1) Make sure to express your hunger for career growth. You want to be clear that you are ambitious and have passion for your industry.
2) Additionally, you should also illustrate your technical abilities as almost every position leans heavily on technology, so showing that you are tech savvy is critically important.
3) Articulate how you want to work for THEM. Being able to articulate how working in this particular position for this specific company will enable you to achieve your career goals and will clearly express two things: a) you are in control of your career and b) you are committed to them.
Show, don’t tell, the hiring manager these traits by using proper techniques to show off your skills and accomplishments.
1) Demonstrate these qualities by walking your interviewer through a project you’ve worked on while highlighting your individual contributions and accomplishments. Make sure you are emphasizing what tasks you have done (using the pronoun “I” rather than just what the overall team accomplished using the pronoun “we”).
2) Most hiring managers want to hire someone who will successfully assimilate into the work environment as well as show they are interested in taking risks and accepting challenges; therefore show leadership ability, while at the same time show your likeability, courage and the ability to work as an integral team member.
3) Most importantly, show the “and then some” characteristic, providing examples where you have gone above and beyond the call of duty by taking on additional responsibilities without being asked.
4) Lastly, since you are an entry-level candidate, it is extremely important to relate responses to interview questions 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. And lastly, 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 to show the hiring manager your work ethic. Additionally you want to exhibit that you are a “hands-on” person, as well as a strategic and critical thinker. And lastly, you must display 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 you truly do have relevant experience.
Investing in a Lifetime of Success,