Why Your Degree WON’T Get You The JOB

Dear Young Professional,

Maybe the University you attended is prestigious and makes you attractive as a candidate, or you attended community or a state system University either way the degree only gets the door to open, it’s what happens when you walk through that door that matters. Following are 4 tips to help you once you get the call to interview and help you land your dream job.

  1. Don’t be a telemarketer – Have you even been on the end of the call when a telemarketer follows a script so closely that they aren’t even listening to what you said? For instance, they ask “I’d like to take a couple minutes to tell you about…” when you reply “no” they go on to say how happy they are to share this news, and you hang up. The same is true in an interview, while the person on the other side isn’t physically “hanging up” on you, they may have already checked out and just complete the interview as a pleasantry. How can you avoid this?
    • Hone your active listening skills: Be present in the moment and listen to what the interviewer is saying. Your follow up question or comment should directly tie the previous interaction.
  1.  Be Prepared – Sounds obvious, here’s a few key areas to make sure you are prepared.
    • When the recruiter calls to set up the interview.
      • Ask about the process.
        1. How many people and their roles and titles you will be meeting with?
        2. What is the format? One-on-one interviews? Group Interviews? Panel Interviews? Video or technology usage?
      • Ask about the company culture and dress code. Dress for the part. If in doubt, dress up not down.
    • Research the company:
      • Their website (all pages, annual reports and recent Press Releases etc.)
      • Their competitors’ websites
      • LinkedIn Company Profile Page
      • Their social media presence
      • Glassdoor Reviews
    •  Be ready to answer the question, “Why should we hire you?” or “Tell me about
      yourself?”

      • This is your personal 30 second speech to help set you apart from others in the
        pipeline for the job.
      • Write this speech down and practice, practice, practice so it rolls of your tongue.
  2. Be Curious – If you did #2 above, now you can show that you are curious about what you learned while in the interview process.
    • Ask how the work this role will be responsible for contributes to what you may have learned about company’s future goals or supports the missions and values of the organization.
    • If interviewing with more than one person, perhaps share what you learned from an
      earlier conversation in the process and ask this person’s opinion or perspective.

      • E.g. “I heard from others today that to be successful in this role the person has to have an ownership attitude. Do you agree? What does that look like in terms of behaviors and actions.”
    •  If nerves are getting the best of you, you can always ask, “Tell me more…or “Describe for me…” to follow up on a current topic in the dialogue.
  3.  Be THANKFUL to the company contacts you met and your network– Follow-up with key stakeholders you interviewed with to let them know by writing a personal handwritten note or email that: (concerned about time with “snail mail” hand deliver written notes the following day)
    • You appreciate their time and share something personal you discussed with that individual.
      • E.g. “Thank you for your time to learn more about the position. I appreciate you sharing your perspective on what success looks like.” Or “Thank you for your time. I really enjoyed the discussion of our shared passion in soccer.”
    •  Ask the recruiter or your main contact what the next steps are and how can you be helpful
      • Would they prefer your references now if they have not been provided?
    •  If you gave out personal contacts from your network as references:
      • Let them know that since they agreed to be a reference you have given their name to the company, and who may be contacting them and how (email, phone)
      • Tell them a little bit about the position and what you learned. Are their any areas you would like them to highlight when they give a reference?

Following these tips will help you set yourself apart from others to land the job. That’s when you can put all that knowledge from earning your degree to good use.

Fondly,
Aunt Kris

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