Job Opportunity Still Abound For Graduates, Expert Says Preparation, Creativity Are Paramount

Published: Thu Apr 16 2009

The job market for this year’s 1.4 million college graduates is not exactly bleak, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, but employers will continue to be very selective, meaning they will look for candidates with more experience and motivation and knowledge on the industry they want to enter. Interview expert and Founder of Interview Angel ( says the keys to standing out are research, knowledge and preparation.

Interview Expert and Founder of Interview Angel, Brent Peterson, knows how to interview for a position. With a 100% success rate in his own career pursuits as a business consultant, Peterson has seen hundreds of well-qualified candidates passed over due to poor performance in job interviews, and has real tips and advice for graduates.

"It almost seems ridiculous to enforce this almost ‘old school’ and common sense approach to securing a job," said Peterson. "Still, far too many people today treat job interviews like closed book exams, walking in blind. Everyone has to get back to really preparing and researching the company and job in which they’re interviewing. Stop being ‘job seekers’ and become ‘problem solvers’ for companies."

Peterson says what graduates have to understand is that they will be competing with an unprecedented number of unemployed and underemployed Americans that are more experienced. "Unfortunately, there is no college course created to prepare graduates for this phenomena and that’s where something like Interview Angel fills in the blanks."

Peterson says that there are specific things first time candidates need to think about, consider and prepare before the interview. Here are a few:
• Narrow down the list of the organizations in which you’d like to work and thoroughly research them and the problems they face. Even an entry level employee can offer inventive ideas and problem solving skills.
• Define and write out your goals, experiences, and value before meeting with an employer.
• Find a mentor – ask a professor, family friend or meet a professional in the field you want to enter to mentor you. They can offer valuable referrals, support and advice on how to present yourself to hiring managers.
• Be prepared to fill an employer need, not a job vacancy. Even if it’s filing papers, making coffee and doing research, show that you are ready to do it to the best of your abilities and desire longevity with the company.
• Preparing prior to the interview will ensure that you clearly communicate your value and experience. No one likes to walk out of an interview thinking "I should have said this…"
• It’s not enough to just walk into the interview. KNOW the company and position you’re after. Let them know you could easily the position and transition in tomorrow.

For the actual interview, Peterson suggests:
• The obvious is dressing professionally, being courteous and making an effort to thank the hiring manager for their time. Let them know that you are interested in the position and clearly re-state the value you will bring to the company.
• Be energetic – you may not have a lot of "meat" on your resume but presenting yourself in the interview as energetic, knowledgeable on the industry and willing to learn and work hard can make all the difference.
• Communicate your goals in working with the company. Do you aspire to be vice-president, invent a new product, increase online presence or help them triple sales? Share your dreams and inspire the hiring manager.

Peterson adds that he has seen many people come in unprepared for interviews, knowing almost nothing about the company in which they’re interviewing. "It’s disrespectful to the company, and a waste of both our time. If you want to get that job, then inspire the hiring manager to believe that fact. It will show in everything you do and say in your interview." But, he warns that appearing too overeager can have an adverse outcome.

"It’s like a business presentation. You wouldn’t pitch new ideas or business without a plan, so create a career plan that focuses on presenting the very best of yourself in interviews. You will definitely increase your odds of landing the job of your dreams."

He continues, saying "Just about everyone who has taken my advice on interviewing and/or used Interview Angel said it made the difference in whether they got the job or not. They worked hard to create and fine tune their interview style and increase their knowledge, and almost immediately they received offer letters."

About Brent Peterson
Peterson, knows how to interview for a position. With a 100% success rate in his own career pursuits as a business consultant, he has seen hundreds of well-qualified candidates passed over due to poor performance in job interviews. Over the years he’s helped hundreds of people land jobs. As an outreach to the Central Virginia community, severely impacted by massive layoffs at Circuit City, Genworth, Qimonda, and LandAmerica, Peterson leads free job seminars on Saturday mornings, where he emphasizes the importance of preparation and confidence. He also offers much of his advice and thoughts on his blog

About Interview Angel
Interview Angel was launched on December 1, 2008 after six months of design and collaboration with hiring managers and professional staffing firms. Unlike books on career development, Interview Angel closes the gap between understanding what to do, and actually doing it, in an action-oriented system that users complete with their own stories, goals, and research. Also featured are essential steps to take before, during, and after the interview, including resume preparation and job searching; how and where to research organizations’ culture, vision, and performance; and what questions to ask - and avoid - during the interview. Notably, Interview Angel comes in a professional padfolio designed to be taken into the interview itself, helping candidates remain confident, focused and organized.


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