The blog below first appeared in an article I wrote for Drexel’s Steinbright Career Development Center newsletter. These lessons learned can apply to students, recent graduates, or anyone in need of a job or career.
As background… Upon graduating from Drexel, I traveled the world for a year and then returned and found it difficult to find a job. During this challenging time I “vowed” that if I ever learned how to find a job (or career) based on a methodology that worked, I’d share it with those who are interested.
These approaches have been tested by myself and many others as well as shared at career workshops that I lead —and they worked 100% of the time by those willing to “climb the stairs” vs. “wait for the elevator” to achieve their goals and objectives.
Today, you might agree that finding a job is the ultimate form of business development. In fact, from a sales perspective you only have to sell one thing: yourself.
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Job Interview Preparation: A Winning Formula!
When you sit down at your next interview you might ask yourself a simple question: “Am I prepared? What steps have I taken to win this opportunity?” The answer may surprise you in that over 90% of the students that my team and I have sat down with over the last 3.5+ years are going into the interview without preparation. Yes, they are going in cold.
Of course, that puts the 10% who followed the steps below at an advantage because they’re the ones who got the job or were very close contenders. For the interviewer it’s very clear who prepared and who just showed up.
Those of us with a background or interest in sports, entertainment, and achieving success know that the difference between winning and losing can be extremely small. A key characteristic of winners and leaders is preparation.
What should you, as a student, consider before your next co-op interview?
1. Research, Research, Research
- Do you know the company’s products or solutions?
- Who are their customers?
- What do you know about their CEO and executive leaders?
- What news or press coverage has taken place recently?
- What is the company’s financial outlook in the marketplace?
2. Job Description
- Have you thoroughly read the job description prior to the interview?
- How can you connect your skills, education, and work experience to the job?
3. Prepare Questions
- Do you have more to say than this very popular question, “Tell me about the day-to-day activities of this position?”
- Your questions should reflect your research on the company and the position; they should show thoughts and interests versus obvious points that are very basic on the website or company brochure
- Thank you notes should be sent within 24 to 48 hours after the interview to everyone who interviewed you
- Use the thank you note to summarize your strengths and genuine interest in the position
Drexel University co-op students have a lot to offer employers. Their contributions can be an integral part of a company. Given the value to both the student and employer, it makes sense to take the time to prepare.
Every interview is a learning experience. What takes place in the co-op interview is a building block to future interviews. By developing your skills in the interview process you will be better prepared to win the job you want versus settling.
Practice the Winning Co-op Interview Formula:
Success = Research + Job Description + Questions + Follow-up
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Richard D. Blumberg, President, World Sales Solutions, writes this series of blogs to help senior executives and their teams, leaders, influencers, educators, and students develop effective strategies and tactical execution which results in more revenues, profits, growth, jobs, and value. More >>