Career Advice, Interviews

Job & Interview Tips for College Grads

Unemployment is at a 25-year high and the class of 2009 is faced with a puzzling question of ‘now what?’

According to a survey from National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the class of 2009 is leaving campus with fewer jobs in hand than their 2008 counterparts. The group’s 2009 Student Survey found that just 19.7 percent of 2009 graduates who applied for a job actually have one.

And based on the NACE report issued last week, engineering and accounting grads are the most likely to garner and accept a job offer. Interestingly, liberal arts graduates are more likely to turn down the job offers they are receiving. And to add on top of it, even after students indicate that they plan to enter the job market, many students have not begun their job searches. In fact, just 59 percent of this year’s class has started the job search. This compares to approximately 64 percent of the Class of 2007 and two-thirds of the Class of 2008 had started looking for a job by this time.

Since this class is facing unique challenges due to the economic climate, and rather than us talk about the difficulties students face we wanted to give here are tips and resources to those college students getting ready to enter the workforce:

  • Take Advantage of your .edu Account: Don’t let your .edu email account slip away without using all of its benefits. With Glassdoor, students can get access to information about salaries, as well as information about company culture and interviews at specific companies for free. If you’re a student and have never had a “real” job, don’t worry – we’ve been there. Simply send an email from your school’s .edu account to and we’ll set up an account for you with full access to all the salaries, reviews, and interviews shared by our community. We just ask that when you get that interview or job, you “pay it forward” and share your own experiences with others in the community.
  • Create a Study Guide for your Job Interviews: Use the information within Glassdoor to know what type of questions a company may ask and what the interview experience is like altogether. For example, if you are an engineer or accountant check out these interview reviews and questions from previous job applicants:
  • Know Your Earning Potential: Now that you have a chance to make some money and pay off those student loans, it’s time to get smart about what your salary can or should be. Before you walk in the door, do some research on Glassdoor and look you are likely to earn for a specific position at a specific company. It’s also a good idea to cross reference this with what someone in that same position is likely to earn at a competitive company in the same industry. For example, if you are an accounting graduate, take a look at what Ernst & Young pays versus PricewaterhouseCoopers.
  • Develop a List of Questions to Ask During the Interview: Check out company reviews to know what the culture is like within a specific company or industry and develop a list of informed questions that show you know about the company beyond what’s on their website. For example, see what some current employees at Deloitte and Cisco Systems have to advise:
    • “Nice place to start the career (post MBA). Staying at Deloitte for a few years helps you master the politics of consulting and client relationship management. Deloitte also works in a lot of industries and has a wide list of service offerings (except true strategy, especially growth strategy), which givens everyone an opportunity to work on projects within their area of interest – you do need to align yourself to the right partner.” – Deloitte Strategy and Operations Manager (Washington, DC)
    • “Cisco is a great company to build someone’s career at. Gaining 5+ years at Cisco is not only a resume builder for a young person starting his/or her’s career, but also having the knowledge in the latest technologies (DC virtualization, CORE/EDGE Routing, UC, Telepresence, etc)…This is a great place to start a career if you only have 5 to maybe 8 years work experience. Also, you benefit from its strong benefits but it might be changing due to the down economy. The company paid for my MBA school ($60k) and supported me through any career developments I wanted to tackle.” – Cisco Business Development Manager (San Jose, CA)

Good luck to this year’s grads! And keep us posted on your interview and job experiences. Also what’s been working and what hasn’t for those of you who have been starting to interview for the first job post college?