Before you graduate, begin protecting your online social presence with the privacy features available to you. Something I learned quickly was that a lot of the things that impressed my friends in college probably won’t impress potential employers. Things like pictures of you at fraternity/sorority parties taking three minute keg stands, or people writing obscenities all over your “wall”, or posts on your feed about how crazy last night was…you get the point. Take the steps to make sure that only people you want to see these kinds of things can see them. This can be done simply by restricting access to only those people that you are already connected with, and then thinking twice about adding additional people, like your new boss, as ‘friends’.
Also, start creating profiles using some of the business networking sites out there. They’re similar to the social networking sites you may already be a member of, except they’re purpose is to help you network with business professionals, or others in your desired profession. Additionally, they give you a chance to create a positive, professional online presence that XYZ Company will see when deciding if they want to hire you for an open position.
Another helpful tool when starting your transition into your career is to create a new email address. This can be done for free through any number of available websites. The benefit of this is that when you’re communicating with potential employers, as opposed to . It’s also a lot easier to tell somebody your email address when it’s your first and last name then some random words and numbers.
In addition to preserving your online image, you should also follow some basic interview guidelines that are sure to help you stand out from the rest of the pack. Some may sound like common sense, but then you would be surprised by some of the horror stories I have heard straight from the hiring managers that I’ve interviewed with (talking about candidates who interviewed before me of course)! First, be sure to confirm all interview details including time, place, and what is expected of you. Always show up at least fifteen minutes early to gather your thoughts. Also, they may want you to meet some additional people or shadow an employee for a day; in which case you’ll want to make sure your schedule is clear.
Prior to the interview, always do research on the company to gain a decent understanding of who they are, what they do, how they do it, etc. One of the worst things you can do during an interview is ask, “So what does your company do?” However, you should prepare how you’re going to answer some basic questions, as well as have a list of questions that you would like to ask the person interviewing you; preferably questions regarding information that isn’t regularly available on their website and is relevant to the job you’re applying for.
Also, when you’re in the interview, never sound negative. If they ask you how you feel about cold calling or something else that you might not be too fond of, just say something along the lines of “I enjoy challenging opportunities”, even if you do not! The goal here is to get an offer for employment from the company. Once they offer you a job, you can decide whether you really want it or not because at that point, the ball is in your court. After the interview is over, be sure to send a thank you letter telling the person who interviewed you how much you appreciate this opportunity and mentioning a specific date which you plan to follow up to check on your interview status.
Finally, go on as many interviews as you can. This not only helps to familiarize yourself with the many different styles of interviews that you may be presented with, it also helps you practice interviewing so that should you come across a company that you would absolutely love to work for, your prepared for whatever they might throw at you.