30 November 2012

Students' Job Hunting and Interviews Experiences

As a student, I applied to my university extra program called the Co-op program which allows students to work for 1 semester and study the next semester alternatively. The Coop searches for companies who are interested in hiring interns for a semester and the students have to apply to those jobs available. So I will share with you my experiences applying to jobs as students.

First of all, you write write a good CV/resume. Make sure it looks professional and use strong action verbs that relates to the jobs you are applying. Then it's always good to write a Cover Letter. That's where your employers get to know what kind of a person you are. In your cover letter, brag about yourself. A job interview is about selling yourself (legally, lol). Try to attract your potential employers to you so that you can get an interview.

Do not be discouraged if you don't get the job you applied for. When I first started applying for jobs, I was like "I'm so going to get interviewed." It's alright to feel like that. Though sometimes, things don't work out exactly. I'll tell you why. I customized my cover letter for each job and applied to over 30 jobs within the month. (that's the time frame given by the coop) and I would say 10% will contact you.  So this week (the interviewing week), I had 3 job interviews. It's tough and scary. I know. I was scared witless when I am waiting in the reception hall for my interview.

Dress formally. You would have a better chance getting the job if you over-dressed than under-dressed. You can bring a bag with you to put your stuff. A formal, black bag would be nice. I put my own copy of CV and Cover Letter with me in a thin, black folder. You want to look professional and assertive. Groom yourself to perfection. The employers aren't going to hire a poorly-kept person.

Remember you aren't the only person they are interviewing. Don't think you are already a winner when you get a job interview. They are also interviewing other candidates that might be more qualified than you. So don't let your guard down.

So horror stories of interviews. Haha, don't be scared. This is where you learn where your weaknesses are and improve them for your next interview.

My first interview was at a bank. I went there 30 minutes in advance and wait in the lounge. My heart rate was going crazy. I jumped every time the door open and smiled/grimaced to everywhere. Oh god... why... *facepalm*

Finally, my interview came. A man probably in his thirties. We went to his office. Sat down and I was tensed beyond reality. The key thing is to appear calm. I tried to compose myself, cross legs (for females) and don't straighten your back tooooo straight (that will show you are tense). Smile at the interview.

Anyway, first interview is always scary. You get the drill after a few interviews. So the interview asked me the following questions (at least those that I can remember).

Tell me about yourself
me: ehhhhh... I'm a very people-person and responsible... yeah. (Awkward right? Don't do that! Always elaborate your answers!)

So this is your first work term. You haven't learned a lot about (business position) yet.
Me: I am taking (business field) classes and I am learning about (business terms).

Oh? So what is a stock, preferred share and bond?
I have to say... my brain froze at that time. I was like dafuuuuuq I didn't prepare for this! Stupid! I should have! Aaaaauuuugghhhhh! I am soooo screwed. 
Anyway I answered some gibberish my brain could think of.
Lesson: When you answer a question, you better as hell be prepared to elaborate on it. If you can't, you will look extremely stupid. Trust me. I went through that.

Do you have any cold call experiences? (cold calls is mentioned in the job posting)
Me: No, I don't. (Interview made a face that I knew I am screwed) But I have experiences taking phone orders (Try to turn your answers positive. Always)

Do you have any question? 
Ask the interviewer! You should prepared some questions beforehand. You want to show your interviewers that you are passionate about the job. You want to learn more...etc.
Go to their website, do extra research to learn about the company.
Anyway I probably won't get that job since I screwed up so badly. It was my first interview so I won't be too harsh on myself. Onto my second interview (the very, very next day).

It's a government job. I'm not going to talk much about it because I promised I won't speak of the interview. Before applying for the job, I went to their seminar to learn about them. They came to my university to talk about it. So it didn't hurt to spend an hour listening to the job. It's advantageous because you can mention it in your cover letter. That shows to the interviewer that you make an effort to learn about that. That makes them happy. So they might schedule an interview (chance of getting the job increases!)

The interview itself went well. The interviewer recognized me from the seminar. She was like "You came to our seminar." See? Go to their seminar if you have a chance. It's worthy.

The interview tests your personality. We had a roleplay on phonecall services...where she grades you based on how you handle the situation. So if you are applying for a job about phonecall, be prepared for a roleplay situation. Be polite.

Sometimes, they will test you on your bilingualism. She asked me some questions in another language and I have to give a firm answers in that language. The interviewer can harm you that they are changing the language or they can just start talking to you in another language. Don't be scared. If you are not comfortable, just tell them that you are learning that language (you better be!) in extra course. Don't lie in an interview. It's going to backfire (not that I have experienced that before since I am honest in my answers).

The last one I went to was with a theater. I was like 'okay... why am I a business major doing in a theater firm?' There were 2 interviews and they were both relatively young. Apparently, we had a lot in common and we joked around. It was one of the nicest interviews I had been to. No stress. It's like meeting new friends. The questions they asked had a genuine curiosity and more personal feel than generic questions. When we finished, they showed me around the building and yada yada. Overall, quite entertaining.

Anyway, I got a job offer from 1 of the 3. Whooopiiieeee...

As funny as it is... don't say this in an interview. lol. 

Don't get to bummed up if you don't get an interview or a job offer. Harry Potter's author (J.K.Rowling was rejected many, many times before a tiny publisher house signed her up)!

Sometimes, you are just bad luck. See true story example below. That was my assignment grade. 
Make. No. Sense.


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1 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing the tips important when you go for a job search. Well great post!
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