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Graduates need to get the right experience and the first steps are obtaining your job interview and being properly prepared to impress.

Once you’re a graduate in your chosen field, the first step is to get a job that will give you exceptional experience and to qualify you to eventually take a licensure exam, if required and to make you outstanding. The key is the job interview.

The Job Search

Depending on the job market at the time of your graduation, getting a job interview might not be easy. You may not have a wide range of job choices. But if you get a job unrelated to your goals, it’s unlikely to lead to the success that you desire. You may have to consider commuting to a larger city to find work in your field.

First, prepare a resume, which, at this point, will only include your education and your summer job, if it involved your chosen career. But your summer job as a lifeguard won’t impress a prospective employer. Include praiseworthy accomplishments, like being an Eagle Scout. Mention interests concerning your career, but certainly don’t state an interest in eventually opening your own competing firm/business.

Make a list of related businesses in your area. Try to find a website for each to learn a little about them.  Next, print your resume on nice paper and deliver it to each business on your list. Don’t mail it.

Dress for success. Men should wear a suit or sport coat and tie. Women should wear a sweater and black dress pants or a blazer and skirt. A suit and bow tie worked best for me. Explain that you’re a recent (specialty) graduate and would like to speak with the manager/president/chief engineer (whatever applies in your case). If they ask why, reply, “I’m seeking advice and will only take a few minutes.” If they say he or she is busy, reply, “That’s ok, I can wait.”

If all else fails, ask the receptionist to present a copy of your resume and ask for the person’s business card. If it’s a good-size company, provide a second copy of your resume for the personnel department. If you don’t hear back within a week, call the person to verify that he received your resume and to inquire about job openings. Prepare a list of questions and have a copy ready for each call with spaces for the answers:

Q & A

Did you receive my resume?

Are there any entry level openings?

Are any openings likely in the near future? If so, when?

Can you recommend competitors who might be hiring?

          Do you have any advice for a young person just starting out?

Can I come in to your office and observe a typical day? (An eight-hour job interview.)

Send a letter or email thanking them for taking your call and for the advice. (Include another copy of your resume.)

If you don’t quickly get a job, stop back to see the same people. Their needs can change in just a few weeks. Consider bringing a box of chocolates, pastries or flowers for the receptionist who said that the person that you wanted to see was too busy to see you.

The Interview

Be prepared.

If you’re responding to an employment posting, make a list of the skills desired so that you’re prepared to discuss and relate them to your training and education. Don’t be concerned if you don’t have all the qualifications listed. There may be an entry-level position available.

Make a list of five skills and qualifications of yours that you can share during the interview.

Go to the company’s website to learn more about the company so that you’ll be better prepared for questions, like “What interests you about our company?”

Make a list of likely questions that you may be asked and prepare answers: Why should I hire you? Is there anything about the job or the company that I haven’t told you? What are your career goals in the next five years, and how will you achieve them? What are your salary requirements?

Make a list of questions about the job and the company, and bring up your questions if the interviewer doesn’t offer the information.

Ask if you can meet someone in a similar position and the person who will be your immediate supervisor.

Ask about the skills that you’ll be learning and applying in the available position, and access their relevance to your future goals. For example, assume that you’re an electrical engineer and wish to open a practice designing electrical systems for buildings. A position as a lighting designer won’t teach you the diversity of other skills needed.

Try not to look like a deer in the headlights; practice in front of a mirror. Listen carefully and don’t be afraid to take notes during the interview. Bring extra copies of your resume, including a list of references. Also, bring your list of questions, a pad (in a folio), and a pen. Don’t bring a drink or chew gum, and turn your cell phone off.

Send the interviewer a thank-you note or email.

You may have to widen your job-search area, but with persistence, you’ll eventually get a job in your chosen field.

To find out more go to:

Start the Job Right

Once you have a job, do your best to be exceptional. Arrive early and leave late. Start a notebook to record information, such as formulas, code rules, contacts, and anything that you might need again. My notebook was a three-ring binder; yours will be your computer or iPad.

Start Your Notebook

Ask a lot of questions, but avoid the same question a second time—consult your notebook.

I soon learned that my mentor, Mr. King could never answer a question with a yes or a no. His answers always came with a story and a long explanation. This was often frustrating when we were up against a deadline. But it taught me related things, helped me to remember the answers, and gave me an understanding of the why.

Fill your notebook with knowledge.

It’s critically important that you stay up to date. This involves weekly reading, including magazines in your industry and in your specialty, code updates and interpretations, business trends, and current affairs. This will aid you in your present job and help your future endeavors to thrive and prosper in any economy. Dedicate at least four hours a week to this task. Always have something with you to read. Don’t waste time waiting for doctors while reading outdated health-care magazines.

Start White Papers

Start writing white papers. A white paper is a report or guide to help readers to understand an issue. When your work involves a new technical issue, read about it and take detailed notes in narrative form, including definitions of the various new terms.

Organize your notes and add this white paper to your notebook. Start as soon as you have a job. After you have prepared a white paper, reread it several times, and commit much of the information to memory. When the subject comes up, you’ll be able to discuss it like an expert and before long everyone will consider you the smartest person in the room. White papers will serve as a useful future reference and possibly the basis of a magazine article authored by you.

I have recently completed a book on Marketing: “The ‘Smart Guide’ to MARKETING”, that is presently on “Pre-Sale” at the Kindle Store on Amazon, and is due for release on June first.

Related topics include:

“How to Prepare for a Job Interview” –

How to easily and quickly get the interviews that you want.

How to prepare for your interview and be ready for the likely questions.

How to start the job right and make the best first impression.

How to become known, build a reputation and make useful contacts.

How to gain credentials that will distinguish you from your competitors.

How to win awards that will make your resume shine.

Excerpted from ‘The “Smart Guide” to MARKETING’ Copyright © 2020 by Jack Gaskell. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to copy and distribute this “Smart Guide” tip, upon condition that this message remains. Visit:, for additional tips.