Erica Cardenas

Got your diploma? Now what?

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You’ve made it. You’ve worked at it for years, and now the most rewarding part has arrived – you’re finally a graduate. ¡Felicidades!

For some, a job may already be lined up and waiting. But for others, this signifies a time for career exploration. If you fit into the latter group, perhaps the question is, how can you land that dream job?

Pues, look no further. Here are some solid ideas for boostiing your “hire-ability,” including tips for that all-important job interview.

First, here’s an important statistic to keep in mind: the National Center for Education Statistics estimates that every year, somewhere between 1 and 2 million new students graduate college annually, which equates to a whole lot of new jobseekers in the U.S. every year.

Some practical advice: Before you line up a string of interviews and hit the pavement, think about strategies for finding that job after graduation. According to many online career-planning resource sites, a top rule for any jobseeker is to make connections and network. Get to know other graduate students in your field, work part time and volunteer in your field as well.

Maybe you started your job search well before your graduation date. If so, ¡Bravo! Another helpful pointer is to not wait until your last semester in school to start applying for that job. Begin the application process early, as this will show potential employers that you are ambitious and motivated.

And another word of advice – one that cannot go without mention and oftentimes is overlooked. Let’s face it: as a society we’re absorbed in social media. It’s a part of our daily lives in one way or another. And employers do use the Internet to learn about potential candidates.

According to a recent survey by Careerbuilder.com, 45 percent of employers reported using social networking sites to research job candidates, and 35 percent reported rejecting candidates due to information they discovered about them. This means you may want to refrain from posting expletively charged opinions or those not-so-appropriate party snapshots from your online album, to say the least.

Now, moving on to the Big Interview. Let’s start with a few common interview questions to get you in the appropriate frame of mind, as taken from Everydayinterviewtips.com, a site dedicated to providing jobseekers with an array of interview tips and guidelines.

Don’t let these common questions fool you. There’s more to them than meets the eye. Take note, dear grads:

Question #1 – Tell me about yourself

You should answer this question with a focus on your education and accomplishments and stay away from answers about your personality, your social life, etc. Potential employers care about how you will contribute to the organization and what proof you have that you would be a model employee. No need to mention hobbies, quirks or political persuasion at this point.

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