Advice for Recent College Graduates: Getting Your First Real Job


Getting Your First Real JobYou know, I graduated from college in May of 1998 and since then, I have had countless jobs. I even went back to graduate school. Twice. I have found that working for myself is the best possible thing for me to do. But, a lot of people aren’t like this. After graduating college, they expect to get a REAL JOB. It’s a daunting task to try and find a career. There is a certain plan that you have to follow in order to obtain that job. First comes finding out about the job. Next comes the cover letter and the resume. Third, and finally, is the interview phase.

The interview phase may consist of a preliminary phone interview followed by a “screening” interview where you meet with whomever would be your direct boss. That person could hire you, or you could be sent on to another interview where you meet your potential boss’s boss. Ultimately, you will most likely be hired from the interview process.

During this interview process, there are things that you need to realize. Not only must you realize them, they must be embraced and overcome.

You just graduated college, so you probably don’t have any real work experience. That is, you’re not used to working for a company in a steady, 8 – 5, Monday – Friday situation. If your competition for a job has any experience, you’re starting out as the lesser of the two candidates. You need to point out all of your positive traits in the interview to counter this. Make sure your interviewer has a copy of your transcript if you did well in school. (It can be an unofficial copy.) If they see that you carried a decent GPA, they will come to the conclusion that you attended class and were able to carry a workload. Interviewers can equivocate college classes as responsibility in the workplace.

These jobs are called “Entry Level.” If you think that you’re over-qualified or too talented for the position, you probably are. However, everyone has to start somewhere. Have you ever heard of the Ladder of Success? Well, this is it. Unfortunately, you are probably going to start out on the bottom rung. Even if you do have aspirations to climb MUCH higher quickly, don’t seem too ambitious in your interview. If you do that, you might not make it past the first interview. If your potential boss knows that you want their job, why would they let you meet their boss? It might just be insecurity on the part of the interviewer, but it still comes into play. Your interviewer can also be led to believe that you aren’t going to concentrate enough on your position, but that you want to move into the next one instead.

Whether you like it or not, you are going to be judged on your appearance. Dress nicely, for crying out loud. Don’t wear jeans. Don’t wear anything promiscuous. Dress as though you already have the job. Give an air of professionalism. Show some pride in your appearance.

No matter how comfortable the interviewer makes you, you are not their friend. They are judging how well you would fit into the position as compared to all of the other candidates. Conduct yourself professionally. Watch your language. Sit up straight. Address the interviewer with respect.

Even though I don’t have a job, I have been on many interviews. Truth be told, I have landed lots of jobs… It’s just a matter of me realizing that I don’t enjoy working for anyone else. However, I do know how to conduct myself on an interview. Follow my simple guidelines, and you’ll ace your interview. Hopefully, that will lead you to landing your job.

Good luck!


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