The Top 10 Ways to Bomb a Job Interview

November 26th, 2007

10. You do not send a Thank You note after the interview.

A great way to emphasize your enthusiasm for the position and to subtly remind the interviewer of you otherwise they may forget. For tips on writing a thank you note click here.

9. You dress in causal clothes (flip flops, tennis shoes, jeans, etc.)


Remember this is a job interview not a day at the beach or a shopping excursion. Dress the part you want to be hired for. The interviewer needs to be able to picture you in their company.

8. You do not ask questions.

By asking questions about the position, office atmosphere, company culture and other details you are showing the interviewer that you are interested in them. They won’t hire someone who does not show enthusiasm for the position and company. Click here for our interview guide which includes sample questions you can ask the interviewer.

7. Your attention wanders during the interview (staring out the window or playing with your rings).

This is another way to show an interviewer your lack of enthusiasm if your attention wanders. Give the interviewer good strong eye contact when you are talking to them and when you are listening to what they say.

6. You show up late for the interview without calling and explaining your tardiness.

When preparing for an interview you should build enough time prior to the interview that you can make it on time. Think about possible delays you could have and leave time to compensate. And if something happens and you are going to be late call ahead and tell them!

5. You fidget so much you distract the interviewer with your acrobatics.

It is understandable if you are nervous during the interview, but try to control the impulse to fidget. You want the interviewer to concentrate on your words not your tapping foot or swirling chair.

4. You answer your cell phone/you bring your cell phone to interview.

Big No-No! Don’t even bring your phone to the interview. Remember the interview is all about the company not all about you. They call the shots and may become annoyed and unimpressed if you answer your phone or if it even rings during the interview.

3. You speak negatively about previous supervisors or employers.

If you speak badly about your previous employer what is stopping you from speaking badly about a new employer? This is a hint into your personality that the employer may not like. Give them a positive impression. If you did not like your previous employer simply state that you had different styles but both of you worked well together.

2. You ask about pay and other benefits before they offer you the position.

Another big no-no. You want to leave the interview with the impression that you want the job because you enjoy the work and company not because of the pay check.

1. You do not know what position you are interviewing for or anything about the company.

You may say this is a hard thing to do but I have seen a student before who did not know which position they were interviewing for and knew nothing of the company. Do your research and know every little detail about the position and the company plus by doing your research you can develop questions to ask the interviewer.


Experience through Volunteering

November 19th, 2007

Did you know that most employers expect college graduates to have 1 to 2 years of experience? You are now wondering how on earth are you supposed to gain experience while in school. The most obvious answer would be either part time jobs or internships. But there are other great ways to gain relevant experience beyond the paid ones. Volunteering!

When I say volunteering I do not necessarily mean working at the homeless shelter or at a soup kitchen. While these are great endeavors they may not give you the experience you need. In order to gain relevant experience and knowledge while volunteering you need to volunteer at places that are relevant to where you want to work post graduation. There are several ways you can achieve these experiences.

First, located the organizations and businesses that are in the industry you want to later work in or have similar atmospheres. After locating these places it is up to you to approach them. This is not the time to be shy but to be bold and assertive. Approach them just like you would if you were seeking employment but let the organization know that you want to volunteer in order to gain valuable experience in the field.

Another way you can gain valuable experience through volunteering is through the Office of Service Learning ( in the Lightsey Center. These may not be a hundred percent relevant to your future career goals but they can provide you with transferable skills they may be needed in the future. Most of these opportunities may give you leadership and communication skills that will benefit you in the future. Plus volunteering will give you the satisfaction of helping others.

Or you can contact the Trident United Way office. They offer great opportunities to volunteer in the area. Check out their website at and see what you can do to help others and boost your volunteer activity. The Career Center also has a Trident United Way directory that you as a student can pick up for FREE!  So what are you waiting for?

Can you think of other ways you can gain experience? Or another way to find volunteer opportunities?

Selecting a Graduate School

November 12th, 2007

Graduate school is a big step in the development of your career aspirations. For some of you, you realized from the beginning of your undergraduate years that you were destined to seek post-secondary education in the form of a graduate degree or at a professional school. Others of you discovered this later in your undergraduate years while others decide after they have been in the ‘real’ world a few years or more. Whenever you decided to take the route of graduate or professional school it is a big step in your development. And a step that takes careful consideration into all of its aspects.

There are several factors you should keep in mind about graduate/professional school.

First, do you need to attend graduate/professional school in order to reach your career goals. Are you just going to put off going into the ‘real’ work world a few more years or does your goal of becoming a dentist or college professor require you to gain more education? Determining the answer to that question determines whether you need to go to graduate school.

The second factor you should keep in mind when deciding about graduate school has several components: quality of education received, requirements needed to enter and complete the program, and if the program is accredited.

  • The quality of education is clear and straightforward. Does the program provide you with the needed information to be a success in your chosen career field? Each program at each school is going to be a little different and may stress different areas. If the area you want to focus on is not a focused area at the school you choose the quality may not be what you need.
  • The Requirements. When trying to gain entrance into a school you need to be aware of all the entrance requirements including personal statements, test scores, GPA, etc. These are essential for gaining acceptance into your top choice. Also look at the requirements to complete the program. Some programs will require exit exams while others will require you to write a thesis. Still others will require extended internships or other similar experiences. Research the programs you are interested in to determine the various requirements.
  • Accreditation. This in part is related to the quality. If a school or program is accredited by the governing body of that profession then you can be assured that you will receive a quality education.

On the Career Center’s website we offer a lot of different links to help you in your search for the right graduate program for you. Click here for more information.


Job vs. Career

November 5th, 2007

Job: Do the work, make the money, no real love or passion—can’t wait for the end of the day

Career: Loves the work, money not the only driving force, thrives in the position, has a real passion for the work

Which one would you want to do? The decision should be clear. Most people would want a career in this instance. Can you imagine doing a job that you really do not like for the next thirty years? No. So when you are thinking about different careers you want to go into, think about something you will have a passion for (just like choosing a major). Remember whatever your decision you will most likely be doing this for quite some time so pick something you will enjoy.

But how can you know what you will have a passion for? There are several ways to discover a career you will feel strongly about.

First, do your research. Try to get all the facts about the career including typical work days, settings, requirements, growth etc. By having this knowledge you can weigh them against your values to determine if the career is a serious contender. The Career Center has a lot of books that can give you an overview of hundreds of different careers. Our web resources can also provide you with information on a particular career.

Second, think about shadowing or talking to a professional. This experience entails you following around a professional in the field for a few hours or more. You will get to watch what they do plus have the opportunity to grill them about their position. For shadowing opportunities check out the Career Mentor Network on CISTERNonline or talk with our Internship Coordinator.

After you have a few careers narrowed down another option is completing an internship in that field. While completing an internship you will do the same kinds of tasks you would if you did that full time without having to be there full time. Check out CISTERNonline, your major’s department, or come by our office. We have a lot of different resources you can use to locate an Internship. Plus, an internship will look great to potential full time employers by showing them that you have experience.

So do you want a job or a career?