“Your first job”
Kevin just graduated from college and is looking for his first job. His mother called me to see if we could polish up his interviewing skills. When we meet, he announces, “I have my degree in marketing.”
That’s terrific, I tell him. “But why would someone hire you?”
“Because I have my degree in marketing,” he tells me again.
“So what?” I shot back.
A degree does not guarantee you a job. But try telling that to Kevin and other recent college graduates.
“Well, I don’t have years of experience, what else do I have?” Kevin asks in frustration.
Plenty. Kevin, and others in his shoes just haven’t thought about it from the eyes of the employer. This is the biggest blunder new college graduates make when they look for their first job.
Most employers don’t care if you got straight A’s. And they don’t expect you to have years of experience. You’ve been in school and they know that. They also don’t figure you’ll know everything there is to know about business.
But it would help you enormously if you did know this: What kinds of businesses exist, what they do and why they do it and why you would be doing the job you’re trying to get. This helps you persuade an employer why he or she would hire you.
For example, let’s say you want to work as assistant to the Director of Marketing at the Gadget Company which makes valves. Why would the company even have such a position? Well, they need to develop brochures, sell sheets and advertising for trade magazines to help their sales force sell their valves.
So you could be instrumental in developing marketing tools that would create product awareness which would lead to increased sales. They also need to stay competitive by knowing what their competitors are doing, so you could conduct research. Or you could be part of the team that designs next year’s product line.
Those are some of the reasons such a position exists. And the company would hire you because you’ve got the skills, knowledge and potential. You would, of course, need to illustrate that you have the latter by giving examples of how you’ve used those skills in your school, community or summer jobs.
Your degree didn’t teach you everything you needed to know for that job. It does shows an employer that you can set and achieve goals and you know (hopefully) about the latest techniques and trends in your field. And if you completed an internship as part of your degree, that demonstrates experience on the job.
It doesn’t matter what field you’re trying to get into. To do well in interviews and eventually land a good job, you have to be able to answer this question: How will my being on the payroll of a company help them? If you can’t answer that, you can’t answer the most fundamental question on the employer’s mind: Why would I hire you?