Starting your career as a recent graduate can be nerve-wracking and require a lot of effort. Recruiters frequently receive numerous applications, so you need to do better than expected in the interview process. Below are some tips that a new Grad might need to grab hiring managers’ attention and position themselves as the ideal candidate.
I. INTERVIEW APPLICATION
Use a clear and easy-to-read font, and make sure your resume is free of spelling and grammar errors.
Use bullet points and short phrases to describe your work experience. Be concise and specific.
- Your resume should contain detailed information which is about:
- Your contact information (phone number, email);
- Your education background, language level, and other certifications (if any);
- Your working experience or the experiences that you gained from activities during your studies at the University;
- Your achievements (if any) or other skills.
The portrait photo used in your resume needs to be professional, casual or unknown photos are highly recommended to avoid.
The employers might need to contact you via email for the purpose of clarifying some points. Therefore, please check your email frequently to avoid missing emails.
- COVER LETTER
A cover letter is one of the supporting documents. However, it is a great opportunity for you to show your personality, career orientation, and passion for the job, express your genuine interest in the company, and prove that you are an ideal candidate for that position.
II. INTERVIEW PREPARATION
- RESEARCH THE COMPANY INFORMATION, AND THE POSITION AND PREPARE ANSWERS TO BASIC QUESTIONS
You should carefully research the company information as much as you can (Business field, product/service, basic philosophy, culture, etc.) – That can be found on the company website easily and help you understand deeply where you will dedicate and develop for a long time.
Make sure you understand the position: Job description, required skills, salary range, etc.,
Salary is also an important factor in the recruitment process. Compare the salary range of the position (if any), and the employer’s requirements with the skills and experience you have to offer an appropriate salary.
Preparing for likely interview questions: Self-introduction, relevant experience & achievements (If have), or life experiences and some social activities you joined in the university and career orientation within 3-5 years. Practice your responses as though you are in a real interview to have a psychological preparation.
Appropriate clothes will be a plus. Your clothes should be clean, professional, and fit. Business attire and appropriate shoes are highly recommended.
- BE ON TIME
For the greatest preparation, you should arrive at least 10 minutes prior to the interview time. Points will be deducted by the recruiter if you are late or come hurriedly with pale skin and untidy hair.
If it is an online interview, a quiet place, and appropriate background image are highly advised for you to note for making a professional interview.
III. COMMON MISTAKES THAT HINDER YOUR PERFORMANCE IN INTERVIEWS
Anxiety is inevitable when all you have is a fresh graduate degree and little experience. However, keep in mind that if your resume has been passed over to other candidates and gone to the face-to-face interview round then aside from experience, there are other factors that are also being evaluated at the same time.
So, instead of worrying about what you have not achieved, you should focus more on what you have, be clear of your strengths, your potential for growth, and how to overcome your limitations. Let the employers evaluate you as a potential seed for long-term growth.
On the other hand, there are candidates who are extremely confident about themselves. Confidence is a key but overconfidence can sometimes backfire.
Therefore, what you need to remember is “To know oneself is true progress”. Read the job description carefully to get an idea of what you can do and the aspect that needs your improvement. Those are crucial points you can share to let the employer see that you are serious about this job opportunity.
Instead of embracing the anxiety, why don’t you choose to face and share honestly with the employers?
- RAMBLING AND INCOHERENT COMMUNICATION
Although the interviewer’s questions can make you feel nervous, you need to remain calm and listen carefully. You can think about the answers in a few seconds before responding, but do not keep that moment too long and the body language should be used to show that the information has been received.
The duration of an interview session often lasts from 30 minutes to 45 minutes. So, if your explanation is too long and rambling, the employers may lose their patience and cannot 100% focus on your answer. Therefore, detailed, specific, and straight-to-the-point answers are tremendously encouraged.
- SITUATIONAL QUESTIONS
Situational questions may arise and require you to come up with a solution. One tip to overcome these situational questions is to have an inquisitive attitude, be willing to listen to other opinions, and provide critical answers if needed.
The truth is that when asking situational questions, employers want to evaluate your perspective and solving problems attitude. There are no correct or incorrect answers for situational questions so it is not a criteria to be evaluated. So, do not try to give an answer or probe to give an answer that can satisfy the employers.
When you get a “closed question”, do not respond with “Yes” or “No” answers. You can link some more relevant information or some real situations you may have encountered to better illustrate your answers when answering the questions.
- UNCLEAR CAREER ORIENTATION
Some candidates are quite confused when they are faced with the question “How long do you plan to stay with the company?”. The question’s purpose is to assess candidates’ level of commitment and stability at work. A specific number is actually not necessary, you can approach this question by sharing about your career direction, what interests you, and what you want to develop in the future, then find out the common points that you and the job. This is compelling proof of the reason you want to stay with the company for a long time.
It is worth noting that many fresh graduates have not determined their direction in choosing a career yet. Do not rush through searching strewn with resumes and trying to fit yourself into each position. Do the opposite thing, before choosing a job, you need to take time to understand your strong points, how you want to develop, and find the right job.
- RAISING INAPPROPRIATE QUESTIONS FOR THE INTERVIEWERS
To show your seriousness and your desire in knowing more about the company, you can raise more questions to the employer. However, please remember to give your personal opinion first to avoid the employers answering the questions from one side.
Try to put yourself in the recruiters’ shoes to imagine what they are looking for in a candidate and discuss in the interview to get more specific suggestions.
Fresh graduates are an extremely active generation by having the opportunity to be exposed to modern education and complementary skills practice from an early age. Therefore, you have a certain confidence when you step out of the University gate. That sometimes inadvertently forms a mindset of “I deserve more” or “what I look forward to having” instead of “what I can contribute”. This is obviously true for a small group of newbies. However, if you are aware of applying that thought well, it will be your strong point. Remember that going to work is not the same as going to school. At school, you pay tuition fees to gain knowledge, but at work, you must commit to experience and dedication to gain knowledge.
At different stages in your career path, the identification of the main priorities when choosing a job is crucial. For example: Learning and growth opportunities, promotion, working environment, salary, etc. So, at the moment when you have just graduated and taken the first steps on your career path, what is your top priority?
Here are a few tips to help you get ready to start conquering your career path. Be respectful and serious with every opportunity that comes to you, and be aware of your strengths, limitations and desires. It is okay if thing does not go well, as you will get a valuable experience to win over a better chance.