How to Use Your College Experience in an Interview

by Shannon B.

Interview for New Grads

As a college graduate you have plenty to offer to any employer. Instead of being intimidated when you walk into a job interview, use that to your advantage. Make sure you have done your homework before hand though. You should have a good idea of what the business does. Make sure you know what goals they have in mind so you can formulate your answers in that same direction.

Your college experience has likely exposed you to a variety of new types of technology. That is definitely a bonus you can bring to any business, so make sure you make that point in your interview. It is a good idea to be very specific about this though. For example if your degree is in information technology, talk about the latest things you learned. Then you can talk about how it can be applied in that work environment.

There are many ways you can bring your positive attitude and desire to learn into the picture. For example you may be asked what your favorite part of college was. You can tell the interviewer that you loved the challenge of staying organized, getting your work completed on time, and learning new things. All of this can be reflective of what you will do in the work environment should they hire you.

Explain your passion for the type of work you are applying for. A common fear that employers have is that new employees won't stay with them for very long when they are new to the job market. They don't want to spend time or money to train you only to learn that you are going to give your two week notice soon.

However, when you explain that through your college experience you developed a strong passion for a certain type of work it gives them a new perspective on you. They won't see you as someone coming in for work so that you can get a paycheck. Instead, they will see you as someone that is interviewing for a job to satisfy a desire you have for personal satisfaction.

The employer is going to want to believe that you are the right candidate for the position advertised. Show that you are confident in your abilities based on your college experience. You should be proud of all you have accomplished so don't sell yourself short. Instead, let them know that you believe your education has prepared you for anything that the working environment can bring your way.

If you were involved with various committees, social groups, and even organizations to help the community then that can be something for you to explore in your job interview. It shows that you are engaged and that you have the ability to take on a variety of roles. Being flexible, an effective communicator, and a self starter are all characteristics that employers will appreciate.

Even if you don't have much work experience, you can overcome that barrier. If you have taken part in any internship for college then you have some work experience. Remember, it doesn't have to be a paid position for you to learn from such an experience.

Make a list of the credentials you have based on your college experience. When you see your strengths and the positive influence that it has offered you, then you can start to formulate some great answers to tough interview questions. Get a friend to help  you with mock interviews so you will sound confident and believable rather than rehearsed or nervous.

Believe it or not, many employers out there love the idea of hiring someone right out of college if they can show they have initiative. They don't have bad habits that they have picked up from other jobs. As a result, they can be molded to fit the profile of what the business is really looking for. That is an advantage you have going into a job interview when you are a recent college graduate.

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