Whether you’re looking for increased pay, more benefits, better hours, or simply want to work in a different field, you are not alone. You’re in a surprisingly large group of job seekers. With unemployment rates across the state exceeded 10% in June there are over a hundred thousand Mississippians searching for better opportunities!
This growing competition will make it even more important to stand out from other applicants. One way of getting your application to the top of the pile is by strengthening your qualifications. A degree can do just that; and if you're working towards a degree, that can help too! By highlighting for an employer that you have returned to finish your degree, this shows that you're committed to self-improvement, personal growth, and finishing what you started. These additions can not only improve your chances of getting a callback and landing a job but also help you to secure a promotion or a better raise come review time.
If you left a Mississippi college more than two years ago, there is a grant that can make it easier to return. Plus there are options that can put a degree in your hand faster.
Another factor that can make you stand out is the impression you make during a job interview. Since a lot of companies require at least three interviews before making a job offer, navigating an interview effectively is everyone should get used to.
Let’s take a look at some of the best practices for nailing an interview and helping increase your chances of securing a better job.
Before the interview
- Spruce up your resume
If you’ve been working at the same job for a few years, there’s a good chance that your resume isn’t up-to-date. Since your resume is like the ticket used to get access to the interview in the first place, you should make sure it’s in good shape before you apply. Start by updating any outdated information including the time you’ve been working at a particular job. Even if your resume is up-to-date, it’s always smart to tailor your resume to fit the requirements of the position. Emphasize any certifications or skills that you’ve gained, especially those relevant to the job your applying for. Finally, you may want to consider polishing your resume with a clean and professional look. Here are some free templates that make it easier to catch the attention of potential employers.
- Do your research Information will be your best friend when it comes to a successful interview. Being familiar with the position, the company, and the person interviewing you will put you in a better position than other interviewees who come in unprepared. Reading the job description alone won’t really be enough. Use websites like Glassdoor and Indeed to find reviews from former employees, company ratings, salary averages, and more. This information won’t only impress your interviewer, but it can also put you in the best passion when it comes time to negotiate salary or benefits.
During the interview
- Maintain a good posture
It’s easy to forget about what you’re doing physically when you’re so focused on the verbal components of the interview. However, the manner in which you carry yourself has just as much of an impact on the outcome as what you say. In fact, nearly one-third of recruiters and hiring managers reference body language as a mistake that interviewees make. Poor eye-contact is another negative that influences employers when making their hiring decision. It’s important to remain as physically engaged during the interview. Sit up straight, don’t move nervously, maintain eye contact, and hold yourself confidently.
- Take notes
Just like you would during an important meeting or class, you should also take notes during a job interview for a few key reasons. First and foremost, it ensures you remember key information about the position that could be important for further interviews or even after you’re hired. Secondly, it’s an easy way to remember any questions you might have for the end of the interview. Perhaps most importantly, taking notes proves to your potential employer that you’re highly interested in the position and take it seriously. While you’ll inevitably have to break eye-contact at some points, make sure to stay engaged in the interview and jot down notes when appropriate.
After the interview
- Ask questions about the position
When the interview comes to a close, the interviewer will most likely give you a chance to ask any questions you might have. This is where taking notes will come in handy. Go back through to see if there were any points that were unclear during the interview. Don’t be afraid to be upfront and honest regarding questions about salary, bonuses, paid-leave, commission, and other income-related topics. It’s important to make sure both sides are on the same page before continuing further. These questions also show your potential employer that you’re serious about the position and want to learn more about it.
- Follow-up with a phone call or email
After you shake hands and leave the interview, there are still things you can do to improve your chances of being hired. Following up with an email or a hand-written card to thank the interviewer for the opportunity is a great way to show your professionalism, follow-through, and eagerness for the position. Surprisingly, over half of job recruiters felt that potential candidates who didn’t perform this follow-up weren’t serious about the job. In your email or message, all you have to do is thank the interviewer for their time, restate your interest in the position, and ask if they need anything else from you.
Finishing your degree is another major advantage
While all of these recommendations can help you stand out at your next interview, having a degree is the most important factor. There are clear statistics proving how having a degree can reduce your likelihood of facing unemployment. For example, those with bachelor’s degrees are significantly less likely to be unemployed than those with just high school diplomas. The lifetime earnings of someone with an associate degree are nearly half-a-million greater than those without a college-level degree.
C2C is your quickest way to graduation
The C2C Program is an initiative designed specifically to help adult MS students return to school in order to complete their degrees. Every participant is paired with a dedicated C2C Coach who will work to find the quickest path towards graduation given each person’s unique situation. This way, you can be on your way to a better career, higher pay, and a brighter future as fast as possible.
Contact C2C today to see if you’re eligible for this special program.