For many, this semester is their last semester here at the University of Maine. The mere thought of graduating causes anxiety and begs the question, what now? If graduating, you have most likely spent at least four years at the University of Maine. School makes it so that structure is built into your life with; class schedules, extracurriculars, maybe even working a job on top of it all. The question is: now that the end is in sight, what do you do? Maybe you’ve never made your own choices on your next step, or you don’t know what your next goal should be. After graduating this coming May, you might feel a little lost. This is normal and to be expected once you graduate, and congrats you did it! So what now? There’s such a wide variety of paths you can choose to take once you leave the University of Maine, and you definitely have a lot of exploring to do.
If you are considering applying for jobs in your degree field right out of the gate, step right up because I’ll be diving into preparing for job interviews post-grad. Interviewing for jobs once you’ve graduated is different from interviewing while in college or even thinking back to high school. Let’s go ahead and dive right in.
- Act like a professional: I know that this sounds basic and obvious but it’s true. Employers expect different levels of professionalism from different types of people and it depends on the kind of job you are going for. The main idea here is that an employer is going to expect more from an applicant interviewing for a Marketing Manager than a Marketing Intern. What does being professional mean? This can definitely vary depending on the type of job and work you’d be doing, but it all comes down to presentation and confidence.
- Dress the part: We have all heard “Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have” and it rings true, especially when interviewing for a majority of jobs. Even if you feel overdressed, it shows the person conducting your interview visually that you are prepared, serious about the job, and can also be a sign of respect for their time in the meeting with you. Also, looking put together can definitely be the confidence boost you need to rock it!
- Be punctual: Being a few minutes early for an interview is always a good idea, this gives you a few minutes to get situated and not look or feel as though you rushed over. Having a few extra minutes will allow you to calm your nerves and walk into that interview feeling relaxed and confident. It may not seem like a big deal to be a bit late, but an interview is one of the first impressions an employer has of you and it may not bode well if you are running behind.
- Research the company: You never want to walk into an interview blind – knowing little to nothing about the company you are interviewing with. The night before your interview, sit down and take thirty minutes to an hour and find out more about your potential employer. What you’ll need to know will vary due to the type of job but knowing a few basics wouldn’t hurt. Try to find things such as their mission statement, company-wide goals, current initiatives, and major projects. You may be able to work your knowledge of their company into your interview answers and that will show them that you have prepared and are serious about the position! Even if you don’t use all of your knowledge, it definitely won’t hurt to have it.
- Prepare your answers: For a lot of big companies, you are probably going to be able to find common interview questions online whether it be through Glassdoor, Indeed, or somewhere else. Before your interview take some time and look over those questions and consider how you might answer and possibly tie in your prior experiences. If you are unable to find common interview questions, prepare yourself by answering basic questions like; what are your biggest strengths and weaknesses? What is the biggest challenge you have overcome? Where do you see yourself in five years? A Google search will bring up hundreds of questions so pick a few and practice. Being over-prepared will look better than being underprepared, and you’ll feel more confident knowing that you can knock it out of the park!
- Confidence is KEY: Having confidence is the key in an interview. It’ll show that you know your stuff and that you are the perfect candidate for the position. Trust yourself to do a great job and the interviewer will think so too. If you are worried about an interview, fake it till you make it!
Overall, preparing and being confident in the fact that you are the perfect candidate will get you far in the process. Don’t stress too much, the worst they can tell you is no and there are plenty of jobs out there waiting for a person like you!