Here are some tips to help you approach the job market and increase your chances of landing your first internship or entry-level job.
The best resumes use a bullet point format and concisely summarize your work history. Your resume needs to be factual. Avoid including responsibilities and skills in which you lack experience.
- Keep it short
A one-page resume is ideal; 2 pages are acceptable. Give more weight to recent jobs and less to those in the past.
- Be Concise
The more concisely you describe what you have done, the more likely your resume will be read.
- Typeface & Layout
Stick to a simple, clean typeface and do not combine different typeface styles. When laying out your resume, leave open spaces, which will make your resume easier to read.
Proofread your resume at every step in the preparation process. Once your resume is complete, have an independent person review your resume for proper wording, proper dates, grammar, punctuation, typo’s etc. A mistake on your resume may prevent you from getting an interview.
Describe your formal education first if your work experience is less than 5 years. List any special awards/scholarships in this section.
If you have more than 10 years of experience, begin your resume with a summary of qualifications.
For each position, focus on your responsibilities and accomplishments. State specific examples that highlight your accomplishments. Oftentimes these are written as phrases, beginning with the words “improved, saved, achieved or implemented.”
List computer skills separately under its own section.
Preparing for an interview takes time, especially if you’re just starting the process. Advanced preparation will make you less nervous and your overall presentation will come across as much more self-confident.
Download our Interview Tips Guide or read below for more information.
- Do not wait until the night before an interview to prepare. Give yourself at least 3 days in advance.
- Research the company and be prepared to answer questions specifically about the company. Check the company website for the latest press releases.
- Review your resume in great detail. Many interviewers will use your resume as a guide for their questions. Be prepared to speak in detail about all the information listed on your resume.
- Get directions to the company address on Google or Apple Maps. Take a test drive to the interview location, if possible.
- Prepare 3-5 questions to ask each interviewer.
- Write out your answers to the interview questions, then make several revisions and then practice your answers out loud. Have a family member/friend listen to your answers.
Pitfalls of Social Networking Sites
If you have a Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok or Twitter account, make sure your profile and all public pictures are considered appropriate. Potential employers are reviewing these sites as part of the interviewing process.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
Interviewing does not come naturally to most people, so give yourself enough time to prepare.
Common Interview Questions
Note: these questions are a general list of common interview questions. A SolomonEdwards or QUAD656 consultant will provide you with a comprehensive list of common interview questions to best prepare you for your interview.
Tell me about yourself.
Your response should focus on a combination of your personal background, professional experience, education, personal interests, and professional goals.
Tell me about your background?
Be prepared to walk an employer through your professional background. Do not go into too much detail but be sure to highlight the skillsets developed in each position.
Why are you considering a change from your current employer?
Describe what you’re looking for in a new position; be positive and always avoid discussing negative issues about any employer.
What are you looking for in a new position?
Describe how your career growth will be furthered by a new position with their company. Stay away from personal items such as salary increase or different hours.
What are your strengths?
Describe 3 to 5 strengths, supported by specific examples, and how they are applicable to the position you’re interviewing for.
What is a weakness?
Give an example of a skill that is not yet developed (i.e., supervisory experience).
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Explain your career goals and how you intend on getting there. Describe the next logical step(s) in your career path.
What do you know about our company?
From doing your research you should know about the company’s products and/or services, history, size, reputation, and values.
What salary are you looking for?
This answer requires a thoughtful response. A SolomonEdwards or QUAD656 consultant can best assist you in properly answering this question.
Questions to Ask During the Interview
- Our consultants will assist you in determining the appropriate questions to ask.
- Astute and relevant questions are very important.
- Employers place value on the types of questions you ask. The questions you ask will vary based on the opportunity you’re interviewing for.
Thank You Notes
Thank you notes should be emailed to everyone you interviewed with within 48-72 hours of your interview. Your note should be brief and should reiterate your interest. It should also explain why you’re a good fit for the position/company.
Additional Tips for Recent Grads
- Self-assessment and goal setting: Start by assessing your skills, strengths, interests, and values. Consider what type of job you’re looking for, the industry you’re interested in, and the specific roles that align with your qualifications. Set clear goals and define what you want to achieve in your first job.
- Research the job market and industries: Conduct thorough research to understand the current job market trends, demand for certain skills, and potential industries that align with your interests. Identify growing sectors and explore potential career paths within those sectors.
- Network extensively: Networking is a crucial aspect of job hunting. Reach out to family, friends, professors, and alumni connections to let them know you are actively seeking job opportunities. Attend career fairs, industry events, and professional networking events to meet potential employers and industry professionals. Utilize online platforms like LinkedIn to expand your network and connect with professionals in your field of interest.
- Tailor your resume and cover letter: Customize your resume and cover letter for each job application. Highlight relevant coursework, internships, projects, and extracurricular activities that demonstrate your skills and qualifications. Use action verbs and quantifiable achievements to make your resume stand out. Craft a compelling cover letter that highlights your motivation, relevant skills, and how you can contribute to the organization.
- Build a strong online presence: Employers often search for candidates online, so it’s important to build a professional online presence. Ensure your social media profiles (such as LinkedIn) are up to date, well-written, and showcase your skills and experiences. Remove any unprofessional content that may harm your image. Consider creating a personal website or portfolio to showcase your work and accomplishments.
- Gain relevant experience: While job hunting, consider internships, part-time jobs, or volunteer positions that provide relevant experience in your desired field. Even if they are unpaid or short-term, they can help you build your skills, expand your network, and make you more marketable to employers.
- Prepare for interviews: Research common interview questions and practice your responses. Prepare examples that highlight your skills, experiences, and accomplishments. Additionally, research the company and its culture to demonstrate your interest and understanding during the interview. Practice interviewing with friends or family to gain confidence and improve your communication skills.
- Utilize career services: Take advantage of the career services offered by your college or university. They can assist you with resume writing, interview preparation, and connecting you with job opportunities. They may also have access to job boards and exclusive alumni networks that can help you find entry-level positions.
- Be proactive and persistent: Job hunting can be a lengthy process, so be prepared for rejections and setbacks. Stay positive, proactive, and persistent in your job search. Follow up with employers after submitting applications or attending interviews to express your continued interest in the position.
- Continuous learning and professional development: Stay updated with industry trends, technologies, and skills through online courses, certifications, or workshops. Highlight your commitment to continuous learning during interviews to demonstrate your willingness to grow and adapt in your career.
Remember, finding your first job takes time and effort. Stay focused, determined, and open to opportunities that align with your long-term goals. Good luck!