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Career Considerations
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You're going to have to get an interview in order to land the job that sets you out on your career path.

In fact, one can look at the interview as the central step in this journey. But let's look at first steps first:

  1. Before the interview
  2. During the interview
  3. After the interview

1. Before the interview

Prepare yourself for your career. This is where your education, work and life experience come in. You've been doing this for practically your whole life! The classes you take, the contacts you make, and the work you do while in school all add up to make you well suited for the working world.

  • Consider an outside job or internship. Successfully managing either while you're going to school is a plus! Most interviewers will see this as a sign of drive and good time-management skills. Most internships are unpaid; you participate for the experience and the contacts. Jobs, of course, help pay tuition, and paying for all or part of your education yourself is another positive thing to bring to an interviewer's attention. Your college career center and library are the first places to start looking for the perfect opportunity. Also, the internet offers many resources for this kind of research. Start at, or search on your area of interest directly (e.g., +"psychology" +"internships" +"undergraduate" yields the APA's Links to External Undergraduate Research Opportunities and Internships).
  • Research your career path. Your college career center and library are great places to get information here. Also, the internet offers virtually limitless resources for this kind of research. Here are some great starting sites:
  • Search for a job. Word-of-mouth indications of job openings, your college career center, and print want ads are resources to consider when you start your job hunt in earnest. The internet also provides valuable resources here:
  • Prepare your resume and cover letter. Not sure where to begin? Consult your textbook, or nearly any good comprehensive handbook. Also, the internet has these valuable resources:
  • Research the place where you're going to interview. The career-path links above will help you here, too. Don't go into your interview cold. Know something about the business or institution where you plan to work.

2. During the interview

  • Dress well.Wear clothes that would be appropriate for the type of job you want to land. If in doubt, err on the side of being slightly more formal. Your grooming should be at its best no matter what kind of job you're trying to get. Did you notice that almost all of the sites above give tips for dressing, too?

    Be on your best behavior. Be yourself, only more so. Listen. Don't denigrate previous work experience that you've had. Interact. One good way is to. . .
  • Ask questions. Prepare some about the place you'd like to work and be prepared to answer some about yourself and how you'd fit in there. What can you add to the business or concern?
  • Say thank you! It never hurts to be polite, during and at the end of the interview.

3. After the interview

  • Send a thank-you letter. It never hurts to be polite afterwards, either. You are, at the least, thanking the interviewer for his or her time.
  • Follow up. If you're given a date when the position is to be filled and you haven't heard anything, following up by phone or letter is a good idea. Obviously, following up if you're offered the job is a very good idea. But it also doesn't hurt to send a letter if you don't get the job, asking them to keep you in mind.

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