We generally deal with the concerns of $100K+ executives at RiseSmart, but with commencement season upon us, we thought we’d offer some tips for new college grads looking to land their first job. Here are some tips from RiseSmart Blog contributor Heather Johnson: The job interview, for anybody, can be a harrowing experience. It is even more frightening for the recent college graduate. You’re finally in the real world and everything has seemingly taken on greater importance. The safety net that supported you through the last four years is gone. You’re living on your own, your parents are more reluctant to help out, and you might live far away from your friends. It’s time to carve out a living and the first interview is your first test. Here are five things to keep in mind so you can walk away with a positive feeling:

1. Preparation is crucial.

Being prepared doesn’t simply mean that you’re ready with a quick response to any potential question the interviewer may ask. A big part of the interview will come when the interviewer asks you if you have any questions. Be ready to ask at least two or three. Make sure you’ve researched the company inside and out. This will show you have legitimate interest in the position.

2. Tend to every detail.

Call at least three days before the interview for confirmation of the location and time of the interview. Find out the name of who you will be interviewing with. Have extra copies of your resume and references available. Drive to the office where the interview is taking place to ensure there are no snags the day you actually have to be there.

3. You can only make one first impression.

Politeness and an easygoing manner are crucial. Pushiness is a turnoff. If you’re debating whether to wear a suit, wear the suit. Only take a seat when you’ve been offered one. Follow the interviewer’s lead and answer the questions asked.

4. Be punctual.

This is a no-brainer, right? Well, this goes back to No. 2. Know where the interview is taking place and make sure you know how to get there. And get there at least 15 minutes early. If you arrive early and the interviewer is ready to start, this will only make you look better in their eyes. Remember you’re on their schedule.

5. Go short instead of long.

If you feel as if you’re rambling then you probably are. The interviewer can only process so much information at once. You don’t want your major point to get lost in a bunch of unnecessary words. Be concise and thorough. This can be a tough skill to master so get a friend to ask you potential questions and practice! [Heather Johnson is an industry critic on the subject of how to become a nurse. She invites your feedback at heatherjohnson2323@gmail.com.]

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