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Five Tips for the Job Search, Interviewing

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Finding and interviewing for a job or internship can be daunting for many students. But NC State offers resources to make the experience easier and help you stand out from the competition.

The Career Development Center coordinates ePACK, a free online posting system of jobs and internships with the university and outside employers. “We offer over 1,700 full-time, part-time, and on-campus jobs as well as co-ops, with new ones added daily,” says Sarah Wild, career counselor to students majoring in the humanities and social sciences.

She also recommends using ePACK, available 24/7, to schedule appointments with career counselors and RSVP for the information sessions, workshops and career fairs the career center hosts each semester.

Wild says there’s also CareerShift, accessible from your ePACK homepage, which lists all publicly-posted jobs and internships on the internet within the last 30 days. 

Other resources include Career Guide, featuring a wide variety of resources from sample resumes to interview questions; and PackPros, offering free workshops led by student career ambassadors.

Additionally, you can ask a career counselor to help you navigate the process and work with the career center to create or improve your LinkedIn profile, resume and cover letter.

Once you’ve landed an interview, what’s next? Here are five tips for what to do before, after and during an interview to maximize your success.

Be Prepared

Whether the interview is in person, via Zoom, or on the phone, preparing for it will give you confidence and allow you to perform to your potential, Wild says.

Research employers in advance by reviewing their websites, talking with company representatives, or with classmates who have worked at the company.

Also, outline how your background matches the company’s needs and prepare answers to possible interview questions. Practice your answers by reciting them aloud or recording them.

“We’re seeing more technology-focused interviews” that require candidates to record answers to questions emailed to them,” notes Wild.

To receive “real-time advice and feedback,” Wild suggests doing a practice interview with a counselor or with an employer at the career center’s mock interview day each semester.

Ask Questions

Shows the employer you are serious about the employment opportunity and interested in learning more. Prepare two to three questions, Wild says, adding that possible topics include company culture and new employee onboarding.

Accuracy Counts

Have your resume reviewed before the interview and make sure the information is accurate. Also, take a copy of your resume to the interview as well as the prepared questions to ask the interviewer at the end of the interview.

Dress Appropriately

For interviews, students are expected to dress their best, advises Wild. They should wear professional attire that is comfortable and appropriate for the workplace they are interviewing for, she adds.

The career center offers free professional attire for students through the  Wolfpack Clothing Closet. Have questions about professional attire? Connect the career center.

Follow-Through is Essential

If you’ve agreed to an interview, honor your commitment. If you need to cancel, inform the interviewer in advance. The same is true once you’ve accepted a job. Notify other employers you are considering; do not continue to interview.

Say Thank You

Wild advises thanking interviewers for their time at the start and end of the interview as well as emailing a brief thank you note within 12 hours of your interview.

A thank you may not make or break your candidacy, says Wild. But it shows the professionalism you will bring to the workplace and has the potential to make a difference between candidates of equal standing, she adds.