Eight Do’s and Don’ts of Job Hunting for New Grads


Over the course of my career, I’ve interviewed candidates for junior positions. What follows below was compiled based on my experiences.

And yes, all of these things actually happened.

Follow your passion; don't drag it with you to unrelated job interviews.

DO:

Spellcheck and proofread your resume. Then send it to someone else to do the same. Especially if you're applying for a job where excellent grammar and attention to detail are required.


Tailor your resume to match the job requirements. Sending a standard resume that doesn't highlight any applicable skills makes the recruiter think you're lazy.


Take the time to properly research the company and the role, and prepare thoughtful questions that let the interviewer know you've thought about how you might be the best fit for the position.


Show up 15 minutes early. Chances are the people who will be interviewing you are old-school like that.


Follow your passion; don't drag it with you to unrelated job interviews. A good interviewer will always ask the right questions to determine what you're truly passionate about.


Give a firm handshake. A limp handshake is like sipping water from a broken straw. Pointless.


Be honest. We can smell and see the BS.


Send a thank you note (a hand-written one wins bonus points), including all the wonderful things about you that you forgot to mention during the interview. Interviewers remember those who bothered to say thanks.

Give a firm handshake. A limp handshake is like sipping water from a broken straw. Pointless.

DON'T:

Try too hard to impress the interviewers. It's tiring for you and for them.


Use words like "Type A" to describe previous bosses that you didn't like. Chances are that one or more of the hiring managers is Type A, which is how they got to where they are—interviewing you.

Ignore simple instructions when given a written assessment. It suggests that you're either too lazy, don’t know how to follow instructions, or you think you know better.

Accidentally get trapped in the stairwell and tell the interviewers about it. They'll laugh at you for a long time to come.

Let your first question be, "How much does this job pay?" This is a temporary, junior position. What do you think it pays? Wait until the hiring manager likes you enough to offer you the insulting amount.

Describe your ideal employer using the words in the "About Us" section of the company website—verbatim. The interviewer knows what the company does. They work there and may have played a part in writing the copy for the website.

Apply for three jobs in three different departments at the same company. People will think you lack focus and are just trying to get your foot in the door, and subsequently won't think you're worth investing the time to train and retain.

Apply for three different jobs at increasing levels of responsibility in the same department. It gives the impression that you don't know what you're worth.

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