Advice From HR: Teaching New Grads How To Land Their First Job

Editor’s Note: This article is a part of a series on finance and investing advice for recent college graduates. Today’s article on resumes, interviews and offer letters collects advice from our Beacon Street Services colleagues Amy Geoghegan, Eve Poist, Anne Bell and Michael Howanski. Read more “Money Moves for Recent Grads” here and check out Top Grad Stocks 2021 for our best stocks to buy for new graduates.

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When it comes to landing your first job, everyone has expert advice, whether it comes from well-meaning but overbearing family members or the campus career center.

But when it comes to interview advice, the best people to ask are the professionals; that is, the hiring managers and recruiters who spend their workdays screening resumes and interviewing candidates.

We reached out to our colleagues over in Human Resources to get some of their advice for new graduates to get their first job. After all, they’re the first people you’ll need to impress.

Here is their best interview advice for new graduates to wow hiring managers and secure their first job.

Source: InvestorPlace (Dreama Stafford/Vivian Medithi)

Perfecting Your Resume

There is so much information about how to build a proper resume. Some may argue that it is largely subjective, but there are some straight forward things you can do to help set your resume apart. Because recruiters and hiring managers review an extensive number of resumes, simply making sure your resume is free from spelling or grammar errors is a great first step.

Formatting can also play a big role in assessing a resume. While it is important to have your resume stand out, try to avoid distracting formatting that takes away from the actual content of your resume. You want it to be easy to read and follow during a quick scan. This is your first opportunity to showcase your education, internship, or other related experience your might have had thus far.

One of the things that can make one resume stand out over another is the effort a candidate puts into tailoring their resume for the specific job. This could be anything from the resume summary/objective section, cover letters, or descriptions of past roles.

Top 3 Interview Questions New Grads Need to Answer

  • “Why do you want this job/to work for this company?” Your answer can display how much effort you put into researching the company and your interpretation of the role. While many recent graduates might still be deciding on a career path it’s important to be ready to articulate why this position is interesting to you.
  • “Tell me about a time you faced adversity and how you dealt with it?” Most recruiters agree that past performance can be an indicator for future performance. This question can give a lot of insight into how you may handle future situations. You should come prepared with not only an example, but a clear resolution that resulted in a positive outcome.
  • “What questions do you have for me about the company or the opportunity?” Always come prepared with questions for the interview team, this shows engagement in the process and will help you get a better idea of what it might be like to work at the company.

Discussing Compensation

It can feel uncomfortable to discuss your compensation goals during an interview process. It is an important topic but should not be a candidate’s first and only question. As a candidate, you should expect to be asked to provide the salary range you are seeking in your initial call with a company. It’s perfectly appropriate to not have an exact figure in mind, but the recruiting team needs a starting point to make sure they are on the right track with your candidacy for a role.

Evaluating Your Offer Letter

Offer letters are important to review before signing. You want to ensure the items sync up to what was discussed in the verbal offer. It is equally important to understand the contingencies that might come along with the offer such as a background check or references. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re unsure of something on an offer letter. It shows detail-orientation and it is so much better to be informed.

If You Only Remember One Thing From This Article…

Our biggest piece of interview advice would be around preparation. When it comes to interviewing, you can never be too prepared. Be ready to answer questions about your experience and career goals. Also come prepared with questions at each stage in the interview process. While companies are assessing you for the position, you are also assessing if the company feels like the right fit for you.

Do your research and be able to share how the company values and the role align with your experience and desire to work there. Showing that you have prepared for an interview can make a huge impact on hiring decision. And lastly, always follow your gut.

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