You graduated college and have had successful internships but landing your first full-time job is proving to be harder than any college class. I’ve had the pleasure (and very rarely the pain) of interviewing many young PR professionals in my career. Here are a few of my real world interview Do’s and Don’ts that will hopefully help you land your first job!
Do read the job description before sending your resume. Aside from a cover letter, writing samples and references, some companies (like us!) will ask specific questions in their job post. You’d be surprised how many candidates fail to read the entire post.
Do clean up your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc. I know it’s annoying to have to think professionally when posting about your day-to-day personal life, but most hiring managers check out ALL of these sites before bringing you in for an interview. Ask yourself “Would I want my boyfriend/girlfriend’s mom to see this picture?”
Do research the company. It’s your job as an interviewee to know what clients the company represents and current projects they are working on. Helpful hint: all of this information can be found on their website and social media sites. Don’t be afraid to do a little pre-interview stalking.
Do have follow up questions to ask. Nothing is worse than spending 30 minutes interviewing a potential employee and hearing “No. I think you covered everything.” to the question “Do you have any questions for me?” Oh, and don’t only ask about the salary. That’s no bueno.
Do remember charm goes a long way. Smile, show your real personality. Be yourself.
Do send a thank you email. Bonus points for a handwritten thank you card.
Don’t be late. Period.
Don’t bad mouth your former boss or co-workers. Keep it classy.
Don’t under prepare. I try to ask a few untraditional questions when interviewing but the standard “What are your strengths or weaknesses?” or “Where do you see yourself in five years?” usually rear their ugly head. It’s always a safe bet to prepare answers to the usual suspect questions.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re interviewing for your first job out of college. It’s intimidating. Make sure you are prepared, breathe, and remember the hiring manager might be a little nervous too.
Don’t go to the dark place if you do not land the job. 9 times out of 10, it’s not personal. Sometimes it comes down to experience and sometimes it comes down to chemistry.
I wish you the best of luck. Go get ‘em!