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Career Search Tips


#1 career tip for college students

The first and most important college student job search tip, for both underclass students and graduating seniors, is to visit your college or university Career Services office. Most career offices provide college students with personal career counseling, job and internship listings, job search assistance, access to recruiting programs, and career networking assistance. In addition, the staff can help you create a resume, draft cover letters, and review your job search correspondence.

College Student Job Search Strategies

  • Be flexible and focused. Consider a large number of fields and don't limit yourself—you don't know what you don't know.
  • Apply for as many jobs and recruiting opportunities as possible.
  • Go to every interview—You may learn something about a career you didn't consider before and at the very least it will be good practice for you to sharpen your interviewing skills.
  • Network as extensively as possible.
  • Do an internship this spring or the summer after graduation.
  • If you have waited until the last minute to start a job search, don't panic. The college hiring season is not as compressed as it was in the past and there will be plenty of opportunities to apply for. This doesn't mean wait!!

Interview Tips

  • Dress appropriately for the industry, position and current season—I have a mentor that used to tell me, “dress for the job you want, not the one you have.” So don't dress like a student! This goes for career fairs also.
  • Be reasonable with your perfume or cologne; if possible do not wear any at all.
  • Have a great attitude.
  • Give a firm handshake when introduced.
  • Use good eye contact but don't stare.
  • Do not sit down until invited to do so.
    “The key is to be Bright, be Brief and be Remembered”
  • Have at least four to five questions for the interviewer.
  • Show interest in the company and position.
    • Learn as much as you can about the company before the interview
  • Speak with enthusiasm.
  • Answer question in a positive tone, use motivating words, and answer questions in a business sense not in a personal sense.
  • Have extra copies of your resume. Even if you have emailed it in advance ALWAYS have extra hard copies handy in your portfolio. Don't bring just one because you never know if you are going to get taken from the recruiter to the boss all in one visit.

Remember you're here to sell yourself and your skills, remember the interviewer is shopping for the best product. Show them that you're the right one!

The key is to be Bright, be Brief and be Remembered on your resume. Interviewing you don't need to be as brief but you do want to be REMEMBERED!

Interview Questions

Here are some common interview questions: (Practice answering these questions but don't have “canned” answers to them; just be ready for these types of questions and be polished.)

  • What do you know about our company?
  • Why should I hire you?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What can you offer us?
  • Tell me about yourself?

Typical job interview questions asked of college seniors and recent college graduates.

Here is a list of sample interview questions college seniors and recent grads can expect, especially at first, more traditional interviews. Prepare answers to these questions, but don't memorize your answers so that you come off sounding like a robot; in other words, be prepared for these questions and have an outline or script ready, but don't worry about remembering your answers word-for-word.

Job Interview Questions for New Grads

  • What single life accomplishment are you most proud of and why?
  • What motivates you?
  • (Part 1) Think of your three best friends, how would you describe them?
    (Part 2) If I turn it around and asked your three best friends to describe you, what would they say?
  • Describe your ideal career. What characteristics does it need to have to give you satisfaction?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • What do you see yourself doing in five years?
  • What do you really want to do in life?
  • Why did you choose your college — and are you happy with the choice?
  • What are your long-term career objectives — and how do you plan to achieve them?
  • What's more important to you — the work itself or how much you're paid for doing it?
  • What are the most important rewards you expect to gain from your career? What was your favorite class — and why?
  • What was your least favorite class — and why?
  • What changes would you make in your college?
  • Do you have plans to continue your education?
  • What skills have you acquired from your internships and part-time jobs?
  • What do you expect to be earning in five years?
  • What do you expect to be earning after you graduate?
  • Why did you choose this career?
  • What are your majors and minors?
  • Why did you choose the courses you took?
  • What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • What motivates you to go the extra mile on a project or job?
  • What was your most memorable classroom experience?
  • How has your college experience prepared you for your career?
  • Why should I hire you?
  • How would you describe the ideal job for you following graduation?
  • How do you define success?
  • What qualifications do you have that will make you successful?
  • What do you think it takes to be successful in this company?
  • How are you going to make a contribution to our company?
  • What are two or three accomplishments that have given you the most satisfaction — and why?
  • Describe your favorite professor or favorite supervisor.
  • Do you think your grades are a good indication of the type of employee you'll make?
  • What's your GPA? Are you happy with it?
  • What have you learned from your experiences outside the classroom?
  • Do you feel you work well under pressure?
  • Why are you interviewing for this position?
  • What can you tell us about our company?
  • What interests you about our products?
  • What do you know about our competitors?
  • What criteria are you using to choose companies to interview with?
  • What are your expectations regarding promotions and salary increases?
  • Are you willing to relocate?
  • Are you willing to travel for the job?
  • How much training do you think you need before you can make a contribution to the company?
  • Describe one of the biggest mistakes you made in college.
  • How would you describe your leadership skills?
  • How well do you adapt to new situations?
  • Which is more important: creativity or efficiency? Why?
  • What's the most recent book you've read that's not been a class assignment?
  • What kids of things did you do outside of classes and work while in college?
  • What did you learn from your mistakes?
  • What other jobs/companies are you considering?
  • If you were hiring for this position, what qualities would you look for in a new college grad?
  • How well do you work with people? Do you prefer working alone or in teams?
  • Have you ever been in a group project where there were difficulties? How were these issues resolved?
  • What kinds of things or skills did you learn from these activities?
  • Do you think college changed you as a person? If so, how?
  • Have you ever tutored an underclassman?
  • What have you accomplished that shows your initiative and willingness to work?
  • If you were to start college over again knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
Todd A. Davis

Todd A. Davis, Manager
ReliaQuest, LLC
Toll Free: (800) 925-2159 | Fax: (813) 321-1414
Email: tdavis@reliaquest.com
1413 S. Howard Avenue, Suite 206
Tampa, FL 33606

Todd A. Davis is a 2003 University of Florida Graduate with a Bachelors of Science Degree in FRE with a specialization in management. He has 8 plus years of management and recruiting experience. Formerly the Director of Recruiting and Agency Development for Northwestern Mutual, Todd is now Manager at ReliaQuest, a National Search Firm headquartered in Tampa, Florida.

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