Young women are faced with a daunting task after college graduation: finding a job. We feel the pressure as we enter the work force with thousands of other highly qualified applicants with 4.0 GPAs. We scour the Internet searching for leads and job availabilities like it’s already our full-time job. We remember the times when our stalking on the Internet was devoted to Facebook, but is now overcome by countless LinkedIn pages of people we were “advised” to make a connection with. We look to the girl sitting next to us in the lobby wearing the same closed toe black pumps and think,”What if she gets the job and I’m rejected?”

I remember feeling like a small fish in a big pond, comparing myself to the other applicants and Summa Cum Laudes competing for the same job. I was more like a minnow in the Atlantic Ocean. I was scared of failure, but after some persistence and a little luck, I landed my first job with a temporary staffing agency. I now have a better idea of how companies are programmed when it comes to hiring “the perfect candidate.” Looking back, I remember the good, the bad, and the ugly interviews from my short past and at the time, all I wanted was good advice on how to get through my first interview. Now, I would like to share some tips I’ve picked up along the way.

Here are my 5 rules:

1.  Arrive 15 minutes early: Every single time!

2. Dress for the occasion: If you’re interviewing for a law firm, it’s probably best to wear a classic, tailored black suit, but if you’re interviewing for a modern creative job like fashion design or another form of art, you’re encouraged to show your personality more. Regardless, no matter what the job is, you must appear modest.

3. Give a firm handshake: No one wants to shake a dainty and limp hand. Hold firm, look at she or he in the eyes and grip (firmly, don’t crush the hand!).

4. Don’t ramble: Say what you need to say because people tune out a person who can’t seem to shut up. It’s best to practice what you plan to say before the interview like you would before going on stage to recite lines in a play. In fact, you are putting on a show during an interview! And, you have to make sure the show isn’t a flop.

5. Ask the interviewer questions at the end: They always ask if you have any questions. This is a test, ladies! They’re testing you to see if you’ve thought about their company and have not just walked in with no intentions of getting the job.

My favorite questions are:

  • How do you like working here?
  • In what position did you start?
  • How can I get to where you are?
  • Does your company offer benefits?
  • Is there room for advancement for me here?

What are you tips on getting a job? Share your thoughts below!