More than likely, a lot of companies will turn down your application before you get to interview. Some companies will not even take the time to send you a rejection letter. Accept the rejections and grow from them. The most important thing is to be resilient and to keep trying. After all, the bird can’t be expected to soar the sky the first time it leaves the nest, right? First we fall, then we fly.
According to Forbes Magazine, in the U.S., experience is more important than a degree. Forbes states that “The goal of employers during interviewing is to eliminate risk. Hiring the wrong person is extremely costly." To ensure the employee is the right fit and can do the job correctly, most employers are likely to select the candidate who already has relevant experience.
To break into your desired career, volunteer or intern to gain experience and expand your professional network. Some can even get you college credit. Each internship or volunteer opportunity you perform well in indicates that you know your way around your field and that you have great work ethic.
It is okay if your resume is a little lacking in the experience column. Who can blame you? With your maximum course load and campus involvement you have a busy schedule. Throw in a part-time job to pay for your books and living expenses, and your plate is full. You realize that between getting your degree, organizing your campuses spring fling, and lifeguarding, you did not exactly leave a lot of time for undergraduate research or job shadowing.
So how does a wide-eyed young college grad get past the initial screening? Turn what experience you do have into skills. You waited tables? Market yourself as a multi-tasker. Did you hold a position in student government? You have leadership and organization skills.
How do I get people to take me seriously?
Finally, you’ve landed an interview. As a recent graduate, you’ll often find you are the youngest person in the room. You most certainly are the least experienced. How do you push past the surface of appearance to impress an employer? Body language is extremely important. You should carry yourself with confidence. Sit up straight, have a firm handshake, and make eye contact. Resist the temptation to talk with a lot of hand gestures or to lean to one side of your chair. Be an active listener. The best way to gain respect from your superiors is to soak in every word they say. If you’re asked a layered question, make sure to acknowledge every aspect of it. The “and why" part of the question is often the most important.
Be thorough in selecting your clothes. Pay attention to the dress code of the company you are interviewing for. If you choose to wear bold or trendy clothes, make sure they still contribute to a cohesive, professional outfit. Try on your outfit a few times in advance a day or two before your interview, so that you can wear it with pride and comfort.
With practice, a professional outfit, and confidence, you will give the impression that you can excel with the company.