The stress of finding a job to assume after college is a whole new experience in stress. I felt like I was in a rat race – the faster my peers took on jobs, the more pressure I felt to get my own. I also felt the pressure of the bystanders – parents, professors, and loved ones. Though they were rooting for me, I really felt like they expected it to be easier, and their frustration only grew with mine. Looking back, I have realized there is a big lesson to be learned in this type of rejection. There is no shame in sticking your toes in the water. I reached for things that, honestly, I wasn’t qualified for, or there was someone far more qualified than me to take that position. Consequently, writing cover letters became a creative outlet. I learned how to cater my strengths to fit any mold, and I did it honestly. I took the first job offered to me out of college, in Los Angeles, CA, and it was a good one. Worth the stress and initial rejection. I was lucky enough to not have an interview, but I have had plenty since then. First impressions matter, BIG. A strong handshake and direct eye contact goes a long way when meeting your interviewer. I have noticed that even those around you are watching, so look put together, look alert and be positive. Smile. The hiring process for companies takes time and money. This company wants you to be it. Their fingers are crossed just as tight as yours.
Preparation is also key. Research your own strengths, re-read your cover letter and resume. Also research the company – if you walk in there comparing their strengths and successes to your own, that is memorable. If there is a question that stumps you, don’t be afraid for a little silence, conscientiously think before speaking. Answer questions honestly, while catering to your strengths. I have been to several interviews where I have said, “I’m not trained in that area, but I am trainable” – always end with a positive quality of your own to counteract what you’re lacking as a potential employee. Remember, they’re also looking at you as a person – they want to work with someone approachable, motivated, friendly and assertive.
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