Career seminar gives successful interview tips

Nursing, Culinary, and Instrumentation majors were some of the students attending the Career and Employment Workshop Sept. 11, at San Jacinto College Central Campus where they learned how to properly structure a resume, formulate a cover letter, and approach a job interview.

Guest speaker Michael Everett from Workforce Solutions offered students tips to improve their interviewing skills through proper preparation.

“The bad thing about an interview is that you will always be nervous no matter how much you prepare,” Everett said.

Students should be well informed to avoid any interference with a smooth hiring process. According to Everett, the first thing job seekers should do when receiving the phone call or e-mail for the interview is ask who, and how many, will be interviewing. The more information students have, the better prepared they will be. Also, they should find where the interview will be and how long it takes to get there. It is important to not procrastinate and wait until the last minute to figure these things out, Everett said.

Students should set up their attire the night before. Standard dress attire is a dark colored suit, simple tie and dress shoes. The suit should be clean, pressed, and the shoes should be polished.

They should not wear any flashy jewelry like big earrings or watches, Everett said. Dress code may vary for different types of jobs, so it is fine to check with Human Resources for proper interview attire.

As soon as the interviewees arrive at the interview location, they should be polite to everyone because they never know who can influence the hiring decision. It might be anyone from someone at the parking lot to the receptionist at the front desk.

“Personality is everything”, Everett said, “You don’t want to be the person that doesn’t get the job because you were rude to the wrong person.”

Everett said interviewees should show up at least 30 minutes early to the job interview in order to fill out all of the paper work in time.  He also stressed the importance of researching the company before an interview indicating that “Tell me about the company” may be an important first question during many interviews. Interviewers want to see someone is interested in the company, and not just getting the job for a paycheck.

A couple of days after the interview, it is polite to send a thank you card or an email to the interviewer.  It’s a good way to be remembered.

Shannon Hinton, the Career and Employment Program Coordinator at San Jacinto College Central Campus, concluded with a PowerPoint presentation covering the importance of resume structure and cover letter content. She stressed the cover letter should be tailored to the prospective company. She also offered to look through student resumes during her conference hours to make sure they are structured correctly.