MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In a couple of weeks, college students will be graduating — and hopefully interviewing — for jobs in their chosen fields.
But when it comes to job interviews, not everyone is comfortable with selling themselves.
Recruiters say they see some common mistakes among young adults during interviews. Often, these mistakes cost them the job.
A lot of it has to do with what young people in their early 20s have spent so much time doing as teenagers and as college students: communicating with other people on computers or texting on their phones.
So when it comes time for a face-to-face conversation with a potential employer about their strengths and weaknesses, they are often uncomfortable and it shows.
Part of what holds many young job seekers back has nothing to do with the economy but a lot to with “Minnesota modesty.”
“We have to toot our horns,” said Paul Sears, an employment specialist at the Minnesota Workforce Center in south Minneapolis. “We are raised in Minnesota to believe that talking about ourselves is somehow undesirable.”
He says new college grads shouldn’t underestimate the value of good social skills.
“Lack of interpersonal skills and ability to interact can really hold a person back,” Paul said. “What I suggest as a remedy for this is practice.”
He suggests finding someone you’re comfortable with and walking through the typical job interview questions.
Also, pay attention to eye contact. It needs to be steady, but natural. Not robotic.
And no wild clothes, try to look professional.
“I want to dress for the job, which means for an interview, I want to dress a notch above what I would wear on a day at work,” Paul said.
And do yourself a favor, leave your phone in the car or turn it off.
“It says my attention is divided, my attention is not fully with that hiring manager,” he said. “And besides, it’s rude.”
Another bit of advice: Google yourself.
See what comes up, and what you should clean up on your Twitter Feed, Facebook page or Instagram account.
Get rid of those inappropriate photos or comments. Employers do check those things out.
Also, keep in mind there is no field where social skills don’t matter.
Everyone has to talk to others and share ideas at some point.
And what about mistakes on resumes?
He said that young people often get caught exaggerating about education and work experience. Don’t do that. Tell the truth.
Note: All of the services at the Minnesota Workforce Centers are free.