1. Before you even begin the search, clean up your social media accounts
Yes, that is right fellow Broke-Ass Students. We strongly suggest you trawl through all your old tweets, Facebook photos and even Google your name a few times to see what comes up. We suggest using the rule ‘What would Grandma think’. Unless Granny is a party animal herself, you can probably untag yourself from those sweaty club photos from last week at 3AM. The company will look you up, so make sure your pages and accounts are all squeaky clean and professional.
2. Do some thorough research on your company
Not only will this help you write your cover letter and the first interview, but it will help you gain a better understanding of what the company values are – and whether you would be a good fit. It will also help you to answer questions such as ‘why do you want to work for us’. Additionally, you will be able to use your research into how to present yourself. You should look up the company pages, as well as the executives and employees in your desired team. LinkedIn and Twitter are great places to start for this.
3. Make sure your resume and cover letter are error-free
Nothing screams ‘Do not hire me’ more than a resume full of spelling mistakes! Although this seems painfully obvious, recruiters say that nothing will make them throw a resume in the bin faster than one with errors. If you need help, get a friend that is highly attentive to detail and spelling to look over it for you.
4. Reply to all communication promptly
If the recruiter e-mails you saying you have an interview (hooray – congratulations to you!) reply as quickly and efficiently as you can to set up a date. Make sure that you confirm the place and time of the interview a few days prior to the date, just so you don’t get caught out at the wrong place.
5. Be immaculately (and appropriately) presented for the interview!
Make sure that for whichever industry you are applying for, that you are dressed appropriately. Don’t wear a suit to a barista interview (unless it is a specifically tuxedo-only exclusive coffee shop – but we doubt it) and don’t wear a t-shirt and jeans to a paralegal interview. Make sure that your hair is well groomed, that your clothes are ironed and you are wearing your best smile.
6. Ask lots of questions!
Asking questions demonstrates that you are interested in the company. Questions we suggest asking are:
- What is the company culture like?
- What is a challenge I may face in this situation, and what is the best way to overcome it?
- What do you enjoy about working for this company?
- What are you looking for in the ideal candidate?
- What does an average day in this position look like?
- What are the opportunities for growth in the company?
- Where is the company headed?
- Are there any weaknesses in my application? How could I overcome these?
- When should I expect to hear from you?
Don’t forget to ask some industry-specific questions. Remember to thank the interviewer for their time.
6. Follow up
Ensure that you follow up directly after your interview. Remind the interviewer (or HR recruiter) of your main points, and state that you look forward to hearing from them shortly.
7. What’s next?
If you do get the job (Or have a second interview)- CONGRATULATIONS! You have moved past Broke-Ass Student status and are now into the real world!
If you don’t – Don’t feel disappointed, you tried your best. There will be other opportunities. Make sure to e-mail the company, thank them for their time and notify them that you would definitely be open to any future career opportunities with them. You are awesome and an opportunity is sure to arise soon!