Most college students are getting their degrees to prepare themselves for a future career, and many even get jobs while working towards their degrees. Transitioning from higher education to the workforce can be a daunting adjustment, and it is easy to get confused or discouraged by all of the steps involved in the interview and job preparation process. That’s why NDSU’s Career and Advising Center provides many different services to help students prepare to join the workforce—from preparing applications and resumes to practicing for an interview.
“We recommend you start by researching the company because a lot of interviews, their focus is seeing how you’re going to be able to apply your skills to benefit their company and their missions,” said Sawyer Teicher, a Career Mentor at the Career and Advising Center. “Being able to align yourself with company goals and like their mission statement or their purpose is a great tool.”
Mentors can help students at any step in the job search process: creating a resume, looking for jobs, networking, assessing job offers, and preparing for interviews. The Career and Advising Center offers mock interviews, where mentors will prepare a list of interview questions that could come up in a real interview. This can help students to become more comfortable in an interview environment and to calm any nervousness they might have.
Students who utilized the Career Center’s resources in the past have found that it sets them up for success in their job search. “We usually get emails back thanking us for helping them get prepared and we’ll even get responses saying that questions we asked in our mock interview were asked in their actual interview,” said Teicher.
Attire matters when it comes to interviews. A good rule of thumb is to observe what employees at a company typically wear and dress one level up: for instance, it makes a good impression to dress in business professional attire at an interview with a company where the norm is business casual.
It can be hard for a college student on a budget to justify buying an expensive outfit for just one interview, which is where the Career Closet, located on the second floor of Ceres Hall, comes in. Local businesses donate business professional and business casual clothing in different sizes, and students can take four pieces per year to keep.
Teicher also recommends following up three days to a week after the interview. Something as simple as a thank-you note can demonstrate continued interest in the position and will stand out to employers who are interviewing many promising candidates.
Sometimes an interview can go poorly, and that’s okay: “That doesn’t mean [you] won’t get hired. Employers know that interviews are stressful and don’t always reflect a person’s ability to work in a team or in their company.”
NDSU students can make an appointment via the Career and Advising Center’s website, by phone or by dropping in from 9-4. They can also receive some services, like resume critiques, via email if they are unable to make an in-person appointment for any reason.