Top Five Ways to Mess-Up an Interview

With the 2010 Career Services’ Job & Internship Fair less than a week away, students might be wondering what  it is that makes a good interview?—what is that magic spark that sets you apart from other potential employees? As a student myself, I’ve heard it all before—be professional—dress nicely—be confident, but what does that really mean? So instead of repeating the vague statements we’ve all been told we should do, I’ve compiled a list of the most common mistakes college students make during interviews to help ensure that you make the most of your job fair and interview experience! 

 1. Don’t Prepare. Don’t do your research. Don’t even know the name of the company you’re interviewing with.

“A candidate for an accounting position said she was a ‘people person’ not a ‘numbers person’”

This is a HUGE no-no.  Failing to prepare, even just skimming the company’s website or knowing its name and what their underlying purpose is, will end your search for employment. I promise. Simply clicking the “About Us” button on their website will give you enough information to sound intelligent. Secondly, employers want to know that you want to be employed. A potential employee that is unable to answer questions about the company screams lazy.  Now, what sane employer would hire a lazy person? Exactly, none. So do your homework.

 2. Poor Communication. Talking too much. Not talking enough.

Lacking the communication skills to speak to an employer is a huge turn off. If you can’t speak to them or if they can’t get you to stop …they’ll move on. Employment is about communication, and learning to communicate effectively to get the job done. It is so important to positively connect with the person who will potentially hire you. A firm hand shake, eye contact, and confidence are examples of this, but you also want to be polite, friendly, approachable, yet reserved. Remember they are interviewing you for a job, not your autobiography, but also remember that they want to know something about you. You’re going to have to talk. Let your own light shine through, but don’t blind them. Interview communication is all about balance. Be conscious of what you said, what you plan to say, and what your potential employer might want to say. Balance the conversation and communication will be a breeze.

 3. Don’t bring your Resume or Cover Letter—Who needs that anyway??

YOU DO! This is such an incredible mistake that so many students make. Don’t let this happen to you—bring extra an extra copy of your resume and cover letter to an interview, or in a job fair setting bring multiple copies of each.  Employers appreciate getting an “inside” look at the skills and knowledge of you, the person they are interviewing, before even meeting you, but also bringing a resume to an interview shows your preparedness and organization. It is always better to be over-prepared than not prepared enough. So print out a few extra, while you’re at it and get yourself one step closer to landing that interview!

 4. Wear the same thing you wore to the gym.

 “A candidate smelled his armpits on the way into the interview room”

…Ok maybe that’s an exaggeration but dressing inappropriately is the best way to offend your potential employer before you even open your mouth. First of all, your clothes should fit…loosely. Second, they should be conservative and for lack of a better word, boring. Your potential employer doesn’t care how fashionable you are or whether you have a six-pack. As you’re getting dressed remember you’re here to get a job, not make friends. Third, make sure that your attire is appropriate for the job setting.  For example you wouldn’t hire a lawyer that dressed like Flavor Flav, would you? Therefore, you should not expect an employer to hire you as an office representative in your gym clothes or pajamas. Think about what you’re going to wear. Wear what other people wear in the place that you’re applying. Do some research. Be boring—you’re selling your work ethic, not your outfit.

 5. Don’t say “Thank you”.

 I know that you’re nervous, but use your manners. Remember to say “Thank you” and smile. An interviewer is searching for clues about your personality and character as they speak with you. Let them know you are polite and respectful. However, manners come into play most importantly after the interview. Sending a “Thank you” note is an easy way to ensure that your employer remembers you long after the interview is over. It also lets the employer know how interested you are in the position. A simple hand-written note is best. Thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you. Express your interest in the position. Let them know you are looking forward to hearing from them. It’s easy and simple, and it costs less than .50 cents—I’d say that’s a reasonable fee for a successful interview.

Avoiding these mistakes will help make each and every one of your interview experiences a positive one.  Good luck to all students attending the Job & Internship Fair here at UWGB on Wednesday, September 29, 2010. If you have any questions regarding this information or the upcoming Job & Internship Fair please contact us at: 920-465-2163, by email at: careers@uwgb.edu, or find us on Facebook.

Tips to Remember When Drafting Your Resume

Looking to apply for a part-time position, internship, or post-graduate opportunity?

You will want to ensure your resume includes all necessary information and the layout allows for an easy, quick read for employers. The following items are important things you should be aware of when you draft your resume.

OBJECTIVE:

- Indicate the type of position you are seeking (part-time, full-time, internship). Keep your objective to the point. One or two sentences will suffice.

Example: To obtain a professional position within the area of Finance.

EDUCATION:

-List most recent education (UW-Green Bay) first if you are a transfer student

-Be sure to include majors, minors, and areas of emphasis

-Include:

“Bachelor of Science, Expected Graduation Month, Year” – If you are not in your final semester

“Bachelor of Arts, Month, Year” (December, May, or August) – If you are in your final semester

Example:

      Bachelor of Science in Human Biology with Nutritional Science Emphasis, May 2011
      University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Green Bay, WI

-If you include your GPA, do not round up and use this format: 3.7/4.0 and do not use more than two decimal places.

EXPERIENCE:

-Remove any high school information a year after you graduate from high school since you have more recent, relevant education and experiences

-Use present tense verbs when describing duties for positions you currently hold. Use past tense when describing positions you no longer hold.

-When listing work history, be sure to list in chronological order, with most recent first. Include the following information:

  Position Title, Dates
  Company, City, State
  Accomplishments, duties, skills used

-You can split your experience into relevant and related experience to draw attention to positions or experience related to your major or to the position for which you are applying.

ACTIVITIES/VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCES:

-For any activities or volunteer experience, place in chronological order, most recent first and use the following layouts:

                -Volunteer, Habitat for Humanity, UW-Green Bay, Green Bay, WI, September 2008-Present
                -Member, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Green Bay, WI, September 2009-March 2010
                -Participant, Intramural Football, UW-Green Bay, Green Bay, WI, October 2008 and 2009

REFERENCES:

-Do not include references on your resume. These should be on a separate sheet with the same heading as your resume. Visit http://www.uwgb.edu/careers/skills/resume-samples/References.pdf to see an example.

OTHER ITEMS:

-Do not include “I”, “me”, or “my” on the resume.

-If your resume will not fit on one page, be sure you do not split a position or your activities/volunteer experience onto two pages.

LAYOUT:

-Include your address, phone number and/or email at the top of your resume. Make your name an acceptable size so it stands out to the viewer.

-Move education to the top of your resume if you are looking for a position in your major.

-Resumes should ideally be one page long. You can adjust spacing, margins, layout, and font size/style to allow this.

-Be consistent with font size, style, spacing between sections, bullets and alignment.

Services Provided by Career Services at UW-Green Bay

Career Services Website:

Visit www.uwgb.edu/careers for more information regarding places to search for a job, along with examples of resumes, cover letters, and references. You will also find valuable information and videos about interviewing.

Schedule an Appointment

Career Services at UW-Green Bay encourages students to make an appointment with a staff member to review resumes and cover letters. The office also provides the opportunity for students to engage in a mock interview with a staff member to introduce them to the type of questions an interviewer might ask. To schedule an appointment, call 920-465-2163.

Upload Resume and Search for Positions on PRO

Students can upload resumes into the PRO system on the Career Services website. Some employers can view student resumes uploaded in PRO and may contact you about your interest in a position.

PRO is also a great way to view positions posted by employers.  Students can search on-campus, off-campus, internships, and professional positions along with community service within a certain industry or job function.

If you have any questions about information listed here, please contact our office at 920-465-2163 or email careers@uwgb.edu.

Connect with Career Services to Start Planning Your Future!

Whether you are returning to campus this fall or you are starting your first semester at UW-Green Bay, our staff asks you to consider what role Career Services can play in your future. Research shows that college students that utilize Career Services are better able to plan for their futures, gain good experience and make solid decisions about their future career and employment goals.

Career Services is here to help you explore academic majors, learn about career fields, gain experience and implement plans to make graduation and life after graduation successful! Think about these strategies:

FIRST YEAR STUDENTS: Make an appointment to talk with a staff member about your intended major or academic interests so you can establish a solid start.

SOPHOMORES: You should have declared your major and need to begin to think about the connection of your academics to your future plans after graduation. Our staff can help you to explore fields and talk with professionals so you have good information to make decisions about what you want to do in your future.

JUNIORS: Experience will be key to your success after graduation! Schedule a time with a staff member to explore internships, leadership experiences, volunteer experiences and other opportunities to build your resume. If graduate school is in your future, you need to use this year to explore programs and plan for required entrance exams.

SENIORS: Your last 2-3 semesters are critical! Applications are due for graduate and professional school. Employers begin hiring upcoming college graduates in the fall as well as spring. Revise your resume and attend any events with employers you can. Make sure you are using Phoenix Recruitment Online to its FULLEST potential. Schedule a time to review your timeline and plans leading up to graduation with a member of our staff.

We look forward to working with all of you this year. Welcome Back and have a great academic year!

The Staff in Career Services