6 Tips to Help You Ace the Interview and Secure the Job!

Congratulations, you’ve been offered an interview! But, now what??  Here are some tips to help you ace that interview and secure the job!

#1.  Research the organization – Research and find out as much as possible about the organization and the person or people conducting the interview.  That might mean using Google to read the organization’s mission and vision statements (hopefully you did this before applying for the position).  Doing so will give you an idea of that the company values and help you answer interview questions.  Another source of information would be to talk with people in your network who are current employees.  They can give you firsthand information about the company and the position that you’re interviewing for.  Don’t assume that you already know everything that there is to know about the company.

#2.  Practice interviewing– Practice, practice, practice! We’ve all heard the adage “Practice makes perfect” but this is indeed true with interviewing.  Although there’s no sure way to know exactly what questions will be asked during the actual interview, practicing common types of interview questions will help.  Common types of interview questions include behavior, situational or case interviews.  Behavior questions are used to inquire about your past behavior in a situation or when performing a task and can be used to predict future behavior to see if you’d perform the same way in the position you’re applying for.  Situation or case questions are used to see how you’d behave in a real or hypothetical situation.  Be prepared to introduce  yourself professionally, discuss your strengths, and weaknesses.  Provide examples of when you’ve demonstrated those strengths and be sure to discuss how you’ve taken steps to improve your weakness. Practice answering questions using the STAR method (S) situation and the (T) task you needed to complete. Describe the (A) action and the (R) result. Be brief in your description. Emphasize the results or what you learned. Don’t talk yourself out of an opportunity by giving bad examples such as “I’m a procrastinator”.  Avoid using fillers such as “um”, “like”, “you know”.

#3.  Prepare questions to ask during the interview – Have at least 2-3 questions prepared to ask the interviewer.  Most interviewers conclude the interview by asking if you have any questions for them.   This is your opportunity to ask the interviewer questions that you could not find the answer to prior to the interview.  Ask about company culture, job duties, expectations, projects, and any other aspect that will help you make a better decision about accepting or not accepting the job. You want to show interest and engage the interviewer in conversation.  Essentially, interviews are a conversation. Don’t expect to only answer questions! Be prepared to ask some as well!

#4.  Dress for Success It’s very important to groom before the interview, therefore shower and wash hair the morning of the interview.  Avoid flashy items (clothes or jewelry) that jingle, or dangle. Remove piercings that may cause an interviewer to judge you unfairly.  Avoid strong colognes and perfumes. Don’t underestimate the importance of professional attire.  It’s always better to be over dressed than under-dressed.

#5.  Plan to arrive early – Make sure you arrive 15 minutes early.  Allow yourself time to find the location of the interview and to become acclimated without feeling rushed. Don’t arrive late for the interview! Being late makes the wrong first impression!

#6. Smile – Show your pearly whites; smile and let your personality shine! Did you know that appropriate hand gestures (handshake), positive facial expressions (smiling), body language, and eye contact are all just as important as successfully answering interview questions? Smiling shows confidence, enthusiasm about the opportunity and helps to create a pleasant environment.   Don’t forget to smile!

Career Center staff can help you prepare for your upcoming interview.  Schedule a mock interview appointment  through Unify or use InterviewStream to virtually practice interviewing from the comforts of your home!  An advisor can review your virtual interview and provide feedback to assist you.

Bobcats In The Field: Graduate Gives 5 Tips for Navigating the Interview & Job Acceptance Process-Keep Your Seat Belts Fastened!

I hope you didn’t unfasten your seat belts!  Sara Stanton is back to finish navigating us through her job search process with 5 helpful tips on interviewing, juggling  job offers and researching company culture.   Sara, now a recent graduate of the Rhetoric program here at Georgia College, recounts how she juggled multiple job offers and landed her job with Altitude Business Group (Family Heritage Insurance) in Denver, Colorado.  Fasten your seat belts!

My Interview Process 

I probably applied for about fifteen jobs (side note: from what I’ve heard, this is very low, but because I gave myself so much time, I was very picky about what I applied for…not to mention, cover letters are very tedious…), so I went through the full interview process with 2 jobs.  The first job was a Director of The Fund for Equality (Human Rights Campaign) Denver; this interview process was pretty typical. It look a little over a month. First, I had a screening interview over the phone with another director. From my experience, phone screens are really in place so they can tell you more details about the position of the job, make sure you’re serious about the position, and answer any questions you may have about the interview process or position. The key here is to be enthusiastic; remember you’re on the phone, so you’ve got to pay attention to the way you sound (it helps to smile). From there, I had a phone interview with an executive member of the organization; this was definitely more traditional. They asked me personality questions, scenario-questions, and I had the opportunity to ask them questions too.

Tip # 1– ALWAYS ask questions! I had a list of 5-6 questions to ask the interviewer about the job/company/etc. It tells them that you aren’t just interested, but you’re eager, you’re curious, you’ve done your research, and you care about the company. Lastly, I had a Skype interview with the gal who would be my direct boss. She asked me more job-specific questions (so, scenarios that only a director would have to deal with/be part of), and then clarified the nitty-gritty details of the position (like salary). Again, ask questions if you are given the opportunity.

Tip #2 – If you have a video interview, make sure you are in an appropriate location! Don’t have your bed in the background and make sure there is are no distracting noises.  After this interview, they called me a few days later and offered me the position; I asked for an extension to accept or decline, so I had two weeks to give them my final answer. I worked part-time for this organization during all of December break in order to, one, get my foot in the door, and two, see if it was the right fit for me! This was extremely beneficial in the interview process because I could give examples that came straight from my experience working in the company, and they had insight into who I was, how I worked with others, and how dedicated I was to the organization.

Tip #3 – If you have ANY opportunity to volunteer, intern or work part-time with a company you’re interested in, I would highly recommend doing it! It helped me to make my final decision when accepting a job.  The second job was a Sales  representative for Altitude Business Group (Family Heritage Insurance) Denver; This interview process was a little less traditional; it only took two weeks. I applied for this job on a Sunday and got a call to have a phone screen, which we ended up doing on the spot, on Monday afternoon. After the phone screen, which was similar to the one I mentioned above, I had an interview with the President of the company about a week later. Before this interview, I had to watch a 40 minute video about the company, the job, and lots of nitty-gritty details about everything! After watching the video, I had to fill out a pretty detailed questionnaire/worksheet of basic interview questions to send back to the President before we spoke; my answers were then used as part of my phone interview with the President! The really cool thing about this was that the video and worksheet required me to really think about myself, the position, the company, and why I would be a great fit/how I would succeed/where I would struggle/etc. It was very helpful when the real interview happened! The phone interview with the President lasted for about an hour and fifteen minutes; we discussed most of the questions I had answered on the worksheet, and then any questions I had about any details that had been covered in the video or during the interview. The President called me back the next day to offer me the position, and I accepted!


Job Acceptance Advice

Tip #4 – Do NOT feel like you have to accept your first job offer just because you don’t have anything else on the table at the moment!  A little more info about job acceptance…so I actually had to juggle these offers at the same time. I was offered the job with The Fund for Equality right before I applied to work for Altitude Business Group (ABG). Because I had worked for The Fund during December break, I knew that it was a job I could absolutely do, but I also knew that it would be a very stressful, very time consuming position for very little pay. I kept it in the cards in case nothing else came along, but when an opportunity arose to interview for another position, I asked for an extension to accept or decline my offer. I ended up getting a job offer from ABG on the final day of my extension with The Fund for Equality. I bring all of this up to say  It is SO important to listen to your gut- if you aren’t that excited about an opportunity, it is okay to say no. You gained interview experience, negotiation experience, and you’re giving yourself an opportunity to find something better suited for you!

Company Culture

Tip #5 – I highly recommend checking out the “About Us” section before applying to work anywhere! Something that I kept in mind throughout all of my job searching was that I wanted to work for a company or organization that aligned with my values. Basically every place you apply for will have an “About Us” section on their website, and within that section, they’ll most likely state their company’s mission statement and/or core values. A lot of times, we are so pressured to get on with the job search and find something as soon as possible, but we have to remember that these companies are made up of the people we will be surrounding ourselves with every day, and we want to make sure we are right for them and they are right for us! I accepted the job that I did because from the information about company values and through speaking with recruiters and the President, I could tell (and was told) that I would mesh really well with everyone I was going to be working with. You want to represent a company that could also represent you and who you are!

Contact  the Career Center for all of your job search and interview needs.  Appointments are available all summer!

Bobcats In The Field: Fasten Your Seat Belts and Take A Ride On This Student’s Job Search Roller Coaster!

Think the job search process is easy? For some that may be so, but for others like Sara Stanton, the process isn’t always cut and dry.  Sara, a graduating Rhetoric student here at Georgia College, recounts how she landed her job with Altitude Business Group (Family Heritage Insurance) in Denver, Colorado. Not only will you see that major doesn’t always equal career, but  she has some pretty great advice. Fasten your seat belts!

How was your job search experience?

I’m sure you’d all love for me to answer this with, “it was awesome!!” but we should be realistic here- the job search is not all fun and games! It was definitely a roller coaster of emotions. In terms of the not-so-great, sometimes it was frustrating to go through hundreds of jobs online that seemed to all want years of experience. Oh, and don’t even get me started on cover letters! However, there were always a lot of exciting moments- I loved when I would come across a really cool position or get stoked about the potential to work for a particular company or organization. I would always call my parents or friends to tell them about opportunities that I was pumped about, and then they would be excited for me too! Those were the moments that helped me get through the more tedious times.

I actually started job searching in October of 2017- the first semester of my senior year. I know it seems really early, but I would not change a thing about jumping the gun on the job search- if anything, I would have started earlier. Starting in October gave me an ample amount of time to search, write cover letters, change up my resume, or do extra research on companies that I was interested in, and best of all, I had a job offer by the beginning of January!

What types of jobs did you apply for?

Ah, the question every Rhetoric major a GC gets: what the heck are you going to do with that? Have no fear my fellow Rhetoric majors (and everyone else- yay liberal arts!)- there are SO many opportunities out there for you! I applied for a plethora of positions. I have experience in the nonprofit world, so I applied for a lot of positions with different nonprofits such as The Fund for Equality and Impact. In these organizations, I applied for director positions or field manager positions. Outside of the nonprofit spectrum, I applied for admissions counselor positions at a few universities, human resources positions, and sales positions!

I also want to throw this into the mix- I have wanted to move to Denver, Colorado for years, so I decided to do 95% of my job applications for positions in Denver! I applied for a couple of jobs locally, but getting a job in Denver was definitely a priority for me. If you’ve got a dream location- get out there and apply for jobs in that location! Now is the time to do it. Ps. If anyone reading this is looking for a roommate in Denver, let me know… 😊

How did you find your job?

If you read anything on this blog post- read this section!! I did all of my job searching online. I used websites like Indeed, Monster, WorkForGood, and Idealist. I found the most success on Indeed and Idealist (Idealist = the nonprofit version of Indeed). The best part about these websites was that you can save jobs to your account. As I mentioned before, I started my job search at the beginning of October, but I didn’t actually apply for a job until Thanksgiving. I really enjoyed using these websites to do a ton of research and really narrow down what I was most interested in pursuing. I highly recommend taking the time to learn about these sites, how to use them, and putting that knowledge to use; this made the job search much easier for me. In terms of time, if you start in your first semester of senior year, I would give yourself a few hours a week to work on searching/resumes/applications/cover letters. I don’t think people realize how time consuming it all is. I am fortunate enough to work for TapRide at GC, so if I wasn’t on call last semester, I was working on finding a job when I was at the office!

I will also add- I never touched LinkedIn to search for jobs, but I know some people really love it and benefit from it. If you love LinkedIn and know how to use it, go for it, but if you don’t, you can easily get connected in similar ways (or sometimes even more directly) by using the search engines I mentioned! If you want to learn how to use LinkedIn- go to the Career Center! They are so helpful in teaching us how to utilize it best!

In the end, I probably applied for about fifteen jobs (side note: from what I’ve heard, this is very low, but because I gave myself so much time, I was very picky about what I applied for…not to mention, cover letters are very tedious…), so I went through the full interview process with 2 jobs.

Stay tuned and look out for our next blog post to read more about how Sara navigated through the job search process to juggle multiple interviews and job offers! 

Bobcats In The Field: A Music Therapy Student’s Take On Internships, One Note At A Time

malorie morris

Think internships are just about shuffling papers and answering phones?  Think again!  Hear the story of Malorie Morris,  a senior Music Therapy student who is currently doing an internship at Palmetto Health in Columbia, South Carolina. You’ll see that not only does she make a difference in the lives of others while earning college credit, but  she’s doing what she truly loves.  Read more about her internship experience and advice on how much internship experience matters.

Job Duties/Responsibilities: My internship is part of my course requirements for a music therapy degree. All music therapy students nationwide are required to complete a 6-month internship with supervision from a Board-Certified Music Therapist in a setting of our choice. At Palmetto Health, I get the opportunity to work with various different populations, including NICU babies, medical patients, and behavioral care with both adolescents and adults.

A typical Day: A typical day consists of computer documentation, writing in treatment plans, planning for sessions, practicing music skills, and leading both individual and group music therapy sessions. My current rotation consists of adolescent behavioral care, medical referrals, and NICU babies. In mid-April, I will begin my second rotation, which includes adult behavioral care and medical rounding. I spend a lot of time during the day planning and preparing for each of my sessions, which usually last anywhere from 20-45 minutes (depending on whether it is individual or group). For each patient I work with, I do a complete initial assessment to determine specific short-term and long-term goals. All of my interventions revolve around their individualized goals, so each session incorporates the things that they need to accomplish. For the adolescent behavioral care, my session typically revolves around positive coping skills, finding new outlets for expression, and helping them make personalized goals for themselves. In the music therapy groups, I use various interventions. A few examples include musical games, drum circles, keyboard improv, or lyric analysis to address these needs. For the medical patients, the goals are a little different – usually encouraging positive distraction or pain management. This is done through music guided relaxation, therapeutic singing, instrument improv, or songwriting.

Favorite part of the internship: Getting to work with so many types of people! Every day is completely different, and you never know what to expect. The people we have the privilege of working with are ever-changing, and day-to-day their needs may be different. I love challenging myself to work with people who I never have before and pushing myself to try new things. I love seeing the effect that music has on each of the patients, no matter their situation. The teenagers love using music as a way to get their frustration and emotions out, and it’s amazing to see how it helps them build connections with each other. For the medical patients, I love being able to use music to help them deal with their pain/anxiety during a rough procedure or witnessing the profound effect it has on their emotional well-being (and their families!). Music transcends culture, age, gender – everything. It is flexible and adaptable to each situation, and I love that I get to have an internship where I get to tap into this power every day.

Most challenging part of internship: In music therapy, people are both the best thing about it, as well as the most challenging! I have definitely seen this to be true throughout the internship. Just as I mentioned before, the people we work with are always changing day-to-day. Especially the teenagers in behavioral care – their moods are never stable! Working with them has probably been the most challenging aspect of the internship because even the best-planned interventions can go awry as soon as you enter the room. I have had to learn to how to be more flexible/adaptable to their needs in the moment and to give them the kinds of expression that they need. My supervisor is always reminding me that people come to their hospital at their very worst – they come in with all sorts of baggage and histories that are unimaginable. That is both the challenge and the privilege of getting to work with them.

Why internship experience matters: Internships matter because it gives you the chance to see what it is like in your future profession while you still have guidance and supervision along the way. It is the time to test out the waters – to figure out whether or not this is the right career path for you. If you get into and end up hating it, now’s the time to know! It can be a source of direction to help you find something else. And if you get into and love it, then it’s a chance to figure out who you want to be as a future professional, and how you want to identify yourself. It gives you connections and resources, and it gives you the opportunity to find out more about yourself and to grow in ways you never thought possible.

Advice to students seeking internship opportunities: Don’t limit yourself! When I started putting in applications, I didn’t want to stray from the “safe zone”. I wanted to apply to places that I was comfortable with, and that I knew I had a chance at. When I started pushing myself to apply to places that I thought I would never get into, I was shocked when I was accepted. I think a lot of my classmates can also attest to this. Put yourself out there, even if you think you don’t have a shot. You might be surprised at all the opportunities that come your way if you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone and give yourself a chance to succeed.

How has the Career Center helped you succeed?: The Career Center has helped me succeed by giving me the chance to talk personally with an advisor. I have been able to come to her time and time again with any concerns or worries, and she has helped me to sort through it and find practical solutions. I have had individualized assistance with my resume, looking at post-grad opportunities, and finding the tools and resources that will be most beneficial to me for my career path. The career center has provided me with a wealth of knowledge and support – from resume and cover letter examples, LinkedIn profile checklists, to interview tips. They have truly gone above and beyond to make sure that I have connections and resources to reference as I enter the professional world.

New Year Resolutions: New Career Development Strategies

If your winter break went anything like the average college student’s break, you were bombarded with questions about your graduation date and what you plan to do with your major. Did it feel as if your family planned and held a press conference to ask you questions without telling you?

Whether you are about to graduate, still exploring majors, or have a declared major but procrastinated on career planning, don’t fret my friend.  The Georgia College Career Center is here to help start off your New Year and new semester the right way!

If you’re confused and not really sure of your major or career options, taking the Focus 2 Career Assessment test would be a great place to start. Explore your options by taking the five-part assessment test. The results identify occupations and majors that are offered that match your personal attributes. Once you’ve taken the test, feel free to schedule an appointment with an advisor to review your results. Click here for more information on Focus 2.

The job market is more competitive than ever and employers want individuals who can solve problems, think critically, communicate effectively and work as a team. The career center has taken some of the burden off of you and created the Career Planning Milestones to serve as a 4-year plan to help navigate your career development plan. These milestones are expectations that all undergraduate Georgia College Students are expected to meet. Through the GC Career Planning Milestones, every GC student has the opportunity to prepare for the transition from college to the professional world. Use this easy-to-follow guide to keep up with career planning activities that will take you from first-year to graduation.

Visit the Career Planning Milestones Guide to learn more about each step of the milestones and to make sure you’re on track with your career development.

In addition to exploring majors/ careers and completing the Career Planning Milestones, may we also suggest using our calendar of events to help you organize and plan your career development strategies? These events have been planned and designed with you in mind.  A sample of our upcoming events include:

  • Full-Time Job Search Kickoff Meet-up:
    Feb. 1st Career Resource Room, 140 Lanier, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – There’s no better time than this to kick off your job search process. This information-packed workshop is facilitated by a career advisor who will give you some job search strategies to help ease the challenges of the job search process.
  • Mock Interview Days:
    Feb. 15,  April 3, 19,  & 25-  110 Lanier Hall, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • LinkedIn Meet-ups:
    Feb. 27 – (Bring Your Laptop) Career Resource Room, 140 Lanier Hall, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Resume Review Days:
    March 5 -110 Lanier Hall 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Stop by for a 15 minute resume review! No appointment needed!
  • Career & Internship Expo: March 7th, Magnolia, Ballroom, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Resume Writing for Beginners: Mondays & Thursdays 11:00 am & 2:00 pm in Lanier 110 starting the week of Feb. 5th. Make an appointment to attend. No resume required.
  • Internship Search Workshops: Held every Tuesday & Wednesday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in Lanier 110 starting the week of Feb. 5.  Make an appointment to attend.

Additional events can be found on our calendar of events.

Now that you’ve been informed on career exploration, the Career Planning Milestones and the calendar of upcoming events, here are some additional tips to help with your career planning in the New Year:

1. Stay organized by using a planner or agenda for daily/ weekly routines
2. Become involved on campus to add to your resume
3. Have your resume reviewed by career advisors
4. Strengthen your interview skills with a mock interview
5. Do physical activities to reduce stress and anxiety

Although family members and friends mean well, remember, you’re in control of your career destiny! Schedule an appointment with one of our career advisors to develop a plan that specifically caters to your career development needs. You can do so through Unify, by emailing us at career.center@gcsu.edu, or simply stop by the career center.