Your first job after you have graduated may seem impossible to obtain. Many of your friends, who have worked in internships, seem to slip into a new position easily. How do you communicate your value when you have limited or no formal work experience?

First and foremost, you need to take inventory on yourself. Create a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Define your strong skill sets. How do others perceive you? In the part-time jobs you have held while working your way through school, were you recognized for a strong work ethic? Were you known for your excellent customer service, organizational skills, preparedness and problem-solving ability? As you address your weaknesses (for your eyes only) — be prepared to discuss what you are doing to convert these challenges into assets.

Preparing for the Interview

Create short stories of your accomplishments (situation/action/result) to include in your resume and share during the interview. The first question in most interviews: "Tell me about yourself." Most applicants nervously ramble on and on, revealing personal information that has no place or value in a job interview. The TMAY (Tell Me About Yourself) is a golden opportunity to brand yourself as a professional, describe how you do your job and close (in under a minute) with the skills and core competencies that you can bring to the company. 

A powerful opening statement will establish an agenda of topics you can refer back to throughout the interview. A strong TMAY may take the pressure out of the room and turn the interview into a comfortable conversation. Your confidence level will rise and you will take control of the interview. 

Before the interview, research the company thoroughly to understand their business model, mission statement and pain points. Follow the company and their upper management on LinkedIn. Your goal throughout the interview is to show how you can solve problems, eliminate their “pain,” and help them achieve their goals and objectives. Anticipate difficult questions and prepare a list of questions for the interviewer. Your questions should not be self-serving, they should focus on problems or challenges that exist within the company — you may be able to provide a solution.

Always bring your “Three Es” to any interview:  Energy, Enthusiasm and … Energy.

Your job search is now your fulltime job. Go out there and make it happen!

— John Singer 


Visualize Yourself at Your Best

John Singer is a career coach, speaker and author of "Resume DNA – Succeeding in Spite of Yourself." Get more information at