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First Post-Grad Interview: Tips for Confidence and Success

first post-grad interview

Your first post-grad interview after you graduate from college can be really scary. There’s a lot of pressure to have a ton of industry experience right away, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel insecure. I was so excited to partner with Smile Brilliant to share tips for confidence and success with your first post-grad interview! Stay tuned for a giveaway at the end of this post!

When I was in my last semester of college, I was desperate to find a job for right after school. I had plans to move to Orlando, and I knew I needed a source of income ASAP. This panic resulted in me applying for literally any job at all, even if I knew it wasn’t a great fit. I ended up in a job I hated, and I couldn’t even stick it out a full month. Since then, I’ve vowed to slow things down and spend my time looking for a great fit.

Last week, I had my first big interview with a job I’m really excited about! The interview wasn’t really what I expected, but I felt prepared and confident in ways I never felt before. There are a lot of simple steps you can take before your first post-grad interview to ensure you’re the best version of yourself!

Apply Purposefully

My biggest mistake when applying in college was that I was so desperate to have literally any job, I didn’t take the time to make sure I was applying for positions that actually fit my experience and personality. In part, this was due to me not even knowing where to begin. I studied English, but I couldn’t articulate what I wanted to do. I felt like I was good at a number of things, but I didn’t know how to make a career out of any of it.

Slowing down and taking time to focus on me before I started applying was the best thing I could have done. I stopped applying to 5+ jobs a day and just started growing the skills that I valued. I focused on my freelance writing side-hustle, and I worked harder at my blog. In the process, I realized my passion does not lie in social media marketing like I thought. Rather, I felt most confident writing blog posts and with content marketing. With this new perspective, I was able to apply purposefully. This resulted in my first post-grad interview that actually felt like a great fit!

Dress for the Job You Want

I’ve heard a lot of horror stories from friends about showing up to group interviews and seeing a lot of candidates wearing outlandish outfits. Some people show up in club wear or even in sweatpants! Always dress for success for your interviews! No matter the job, dress for the position you want. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.

It doesn’t have to be a complicated outfit. My go-to interview outfit is a pair of navy slacks from H&M and a button down shirt. It’s simple, comfortable, and I feel really professional in it. You should avoid outfits that aren’t comfortable or shoes you can’t walk in. Keep your makeup and jewelry simple to keep the focus on your accomplishments!

first post grad interview dress for success

Research the Company

When I was in college and in my frenzy of job applications, I had one terrible phone interview. It was terrible because though I vaguely remembered applying to this job, I couldn’t really remember much about the position or the company. In hindsight, I should have spent more time researching the company before I agreed to the phone interview. I found myself stumbling over answers, hesitating, and trying to be something I’m not.

Here are some things you should learn about the company before your first post-grad interview:

  • The company mission and goals
  • The company culture
  • Any of the company’s awards or accolades
  • Company background/history
  • News and recent events

It’s also a good idea to do some research about the person interviewing you. This can actually help you feel a lot more confident when going into your first post-grad interview since you won’t be surprised by meeting a new face. A great place to get some background information is on LinkedIn or even on Twitter. See how long they’ve been with the company and learn more about their background. This information will give you an important edge in your first post-grad interview!

first post grad interview do your research

Practice Questions

The worst thing that can happen in an interview is that you find yourself unprepared for questions. While there’s no way to know 100% of the questions you’ll be asked, there are some general questions that you can count on making an appearance. Have a friend or family member ask you some of the questions and practice your answers out loud. Try to keep your answers short and to the point.

Here are the most common interview questions to get you started:

Why should we hire you?

This is the time you should highlight your experience and education. For instance, as an English major applying to content writing positions, I would say something like:

I recently graduated with my degree in English. While in college, I started my own successful freelance writing business and I maintain a popular blog. I also worked as a student tutor and as the editor of my school’s literary magazine. I could use my experience writing for different audiences to help grow your company’s readership.

What are your weaknesses?

This always seems like a trick question. I mean, obviously, you shouldn’t tell them about your shoe addiction or the time you failed Algebra. The key here is addressing how you’re working on your skills and always improving.

I’ve always struggled with public speaking in college, but recently I joined an improv group which has really helped me gain confidence.

Give an example of a time you led a project at work.

Interviewers often ask for specific examples showing your leadership or problem-solving skills. If you have limited work experience, it’s okay to refer to your college experience. Just be sure to keep your answer concise and avoid a long-winded tangent.

In college, I was the editor of an award-winning literary magazine. I managed 10 other students, and at times it could be overwhelming. To help keep things organized, I designated tasks and created a detailed schedule. We were able to finish our publication a whole week before our deadline!  

Smile Fearlessly

I have always been self-conscious about my teeth. As an avid coffee and tea drinker, they’ve gotten their fair share of stains throughout the years. I’ve tried white strips and mouthwashes and toothpaste, but nothing ever worked. I was excited to try Smile Brilliant because I’d heard a lot of great things and it’s really similar to the process my dentist office uses for teeth whitening.

first post-grad interview

I always felt my teeth were pretty yellow, and it made me afraid to smile. After using the Smile Brilliant teeth whitening system for just over a week, I felt more confident in my smile than I had in years. I went into my first post-grad interview excited and confident. It’s really easy to get started with Smile Brilliant. You choose a system on their website, then you’ll receive your kit in the mail. Then you create molds of your teeth which reminded me of being at the orthodontist back in elementary school. It was weird but pretty cool to see molds of my teeth!

first post-grad interview

Next, you mail away your molds to get custom teeth trays for the whitening gel. Each tube of gel fills the trays 3-4 times, so you get a lot of use out of the system. You leave the trays with the whitening gel in for 1-3 hours. At first, I just kept it in for an hour since I was worried about sensitivity. I put them in before bed and just read a book or watched Netflix.

Since I was worried about sensitivity which I experienced in the past, I used the desensitizing gel after each treatment. I never had to worry though since I didn’t experience any sensitivity at all! Within a few days, I could already notice a major difference in my teeth. Now that I’ve removed most of the stains, I’ll just use the system every few weeks to maintain this white shade.

If you want to win your own teeth whitening system, I’m hosting a giveaway with Smile Brilliant! You can win credit for a customized tray creation kit! The giveaway will go from now until October 25 and it’s super easy to enter! Click below to join! 

first post-grad interview

First Post-Grad Interview

Your first post-grad interview can be intimidating. The best way to be confident and successful is to be prepared. If you dress your best and do your research, you can’t go wrong! If you’re self-conscious about your smile like I was, Smile Brilliant can help you achieve your best smile yet! Use code samanthability10 for 10% off your order with Smile Brilliant

What are your tips for preparing for your first post-grad interview?

This post is sponsored by Smile Brilliant. I received a free whitening system in exchange for my honest opinion. For more information on sponsorships, please read my privacy policy.


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