Interview preparation tips for 2015’s fresh graduates seeking jobs in IT industry
Preparation tips for 2015’s fresh graduates seeking jobs in IT industry
Late nights swatting for final exams and long project research seem like distant memories for recent graduates who are raring to kick off their careers. But finding the right job in the competitive IT industry can make a world of difference compared to filling any available position. Your first job is one of the best places to pick up professional skills and experience, laying the foundation for your career ahead. As you send off resumes and ready yourself for your next interview, consider these 14 tips to help secure that anticipated first job in 2015.
1) The spotless graduate resume
Your resume or CV is often the first point of contact with your prospective employer – and first impressions count. A silly typo is all it takes to end up in the reject pile. Regardless of writing style or design, make sure your resume is free of spelling and grammar mistakes by having friends and family members review it. Gear your resumes to the specific job you’re applying for, and make tweaks when required. Remember to highlight relevant experience – don’t sell yourself short, but don’t oversell either.
2) Don’t forget your network
Some of the best jobs out there are sourced through word of mouth. Reach out to your connections to find potential job leads or better understand a potential employer – social media makes it simpler than ever. It’s easy to lose contact with your schoolmates, but make the effort to meet up with the ones that matter, even as you’re focused on growing your career. You’ll soon be exchanging professional advice and sharing ideas about your careers.
3) Post-graduation internships
Certain roles require prior industry experience, and post-graduation internships are a great way to get your foot in the door. Whilst internships pay less than full-time positions, they are a worthwhile investment to help you score a position in a company of your choice before you move on to greater things.
4) Rehearse your lines before the interview
Once you’ve sent off your CV, interviews are the next big hurdle. You might think you have the gift of the gab, but don’t make the mistake of going into interviews without rehearsing. List commonly-asked questions – your strengths, your weaknesses, how you learnt to work with difficult people, example of projects you’ve worked on, etc. – and verbally practice your responses. You should speak comfortably and confidently in your interviews.
5) Dress to impress
You can never be overdressed, only underdressed. Men should invest in a formals and arrive at the interview neatly groomed, and women should ensure their interview attire is smart and work-appropriate.
6) Ask the right questions
Interviews are a great opportunity for you to assess the company, and you’ll demonstrate that you’re inquisitive and interested in your role when you arrive prepared with a list of questions. Ask about the organisation and the team’s working style, projects you’ll work on, and anything else relevant to your role. Whilst you might want to know about employee benefits, annual leave and pay, save these for the negotiation stage.
7) It’s all in the body language
In addition to the quality of your responses, interviewers take note of how you present yourself. Make frequent eye contact with each of the interviewers, sit up straight and answer questions with confidence. A candidate who speaks passionately while looking everyone in the eye is more likely to leave a strong impression than another who’s looking down twiddling thumbs.
8) Let’s be realistic with your pay
Of course you don’t want to sell yourself short, but you do need to be realistic with salary expectations in your first full-time role as a graduate. Remember that your first job will teach you important skills, and a lower-paying role at a respected organization can be worth much more in the long run.
9) Research about company
Research your prospective company. Find out everything there is to know, from the leadership to business operations and recent company performance. This is your chance at guilt-free ‘professional stalking’ – look up your interviewers and their role to better understand their expertise and what they might be looking for in candidates.
10) Prep your portfolio
Show off your good work – prepare examples of related experience that demonstrate your competencies for the job. This could be your academic projects or relevant school projects that can help prove your worth and your value to the company.
11) Ready your referees
Line up referees for potential reference checks – these could be your previous supervisors, university professors or someone in a position of influence who is able to expound on your professional qualities. A strong advocate can help to swing opinion in your favour, so find the right people and let them know what you’d like them to highlight during reference checks.
12) Show up on time – no excuses
Always show up early to interviews, buffering time for anything that might go wrong – traffic jams always seem to crop up on interview days. With early arrivals, you’ll have more time to steady yourself before the interview. You’re bound to feel nervous, so take a few deep breaths, rehearse your responses and bring enthusiasm and energy as you walk into the room.
13) You are who you are online
Prospective employers love to check online profiles of candidates. Review your privacy settings and check the information and photos that you’re sharing publicly is appropriate. Our online and offline personalities are very much becoming one – don’t let that blow your chances.
14) The one-year goal
All too often, we’ve seen candidates come to a revelation that the job isn’t quite what they thought it was going to be, just a couple of months into their role. Their first thought would be to find something more suitable and jump ship, but we’d advise against that. Give your first job a good run of at least a year – you’ll learn valuable skills and discover how to make a challenging role more enjoyable, or how to work with difficult bosses. You’ll take these experiences to your subsequent roles and become more aware of what you’re seeking in a job.
While the hiring outlook in India is positive for IT industry, it takes effort to stand out and secure yourself a role in a company of your choice. Smart job hunting and ample interview preparation will put you ahead of the job-seeking pack
“All the best for your job search”