The Dos and Don'ts of Job Interviews

Coker Senior Gabe Castro ('19) Has Some Tips for Job Seekers

By Gabe Castro ('19), marketing and communications intern 

Interviewing for a job after college can be challenging and overwhelming. It is a process that demands a lot of patience and perseverance. It involves a lot of research on the industry you are trying to break into, building a strong resume while in college, making connections, and applying for jobs.

 

In most cases, the job search process will not be easy. However, there are a few steps to follow that will help you to achieve your goal of finding a job. In an effort to help you to succeed, we created a list of key elements to be considered during the job hunting and interview process...

Dress Code

Full dark suit? Business casual? Smart business casual? What should you wear to a job interview? The way you present yourself at a job interview helps create a good first impression.The rule of a full dark suit applies for both men and women and is considered one of the standard dress codes for a job interview. However, depending on the industry you are getting into, the dress code for an interview could be a little more casual. Research the proper dress code for different interviews. Always keep in mind, “it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.” If you get to your interview and you feel overdressed, you can always loosen your tie or take off your jacket.

Frequently asked questions in job interviews

While answering questions at a job interview, you always want to relate your answers to the job you are interviewing for and show how your experiences and skills will benefit the company. It is important to sell yourself as the best candidate; you want to show the company that they need you. Here are some common questions often asked in job interviews: Tell me a little bit about yourself. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What will you bring to the table? Pro tip: always offer examples to support your answer, which shows credibility and provides an opportunity for you elaborate on how your experience qualifies you for the position.

References

References bring credibility to your experience, and they’re still a key part of the hiring process. However, references do not need to be included on your resume and shouldn’t be provided unless the employer asks. In most cases, references are only needed during the final phases of the hiring process.

It’s very important to have strong and relevant references. Your references must be able to talk about your work experience(s), qualifications, and benefits you will bring to the company. Have a minimum of three strong references, but the company will likely be specific with the amount of references they want.

Professors make great references, especially if they’ve mentored you through research, capstone projects, internships, etc. Any supervisors you may have had for part-time jobs, work studies, and internships also make great references.

Social Media

Social media is a very controversial topic in today’s job market. Employers oftentimes look at the applicant’s social media profiles. Your online presence can benefit or harm you depending on the type of content posted. Pictures showing too much of your body or containing alcohol in it do not look professional, which can count against you when interviewing for a job. Tracey Burns, benefits manager for Coker College’s human resources department shared, “Any pictures you don’t want your prospective employer to see, take them down from your social media profile.” 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the future of job applications. Having a strong LinkedIn profile can put you ahead of other applicants. A LinkedIn profile can make your job application much easier as well. In many cases, you can apply for a position through LinkedIn or link your profile to the job application, which will create more credibility for you application. Used LinkedIn to connect with people in relevant positions and industries in which you’re interested. Only post professional content on LinkedIn since it is a strictly professional social network, which includes having a professional profile picture.

Put yourself ahead of other candidates

Get involved on campus. Assume leadership positions. Make connections at Coker, in the Hartsville community, in your hometown, and everywhere else you go. By following the tips mentioned above, you will definitely be ahead of other candidates and increase your chances of getting the job. 

Keep in mind that Coker provides resources students need to find jobs, internships, campus leadership positions, and much more. The Student Success Center provides frequent LinkedIn and resume building workshops and career counseling. Take advantage of every resource it’s your future. Invest in yourself and succeed.

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