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Science student with a PREPs career counselor meeting for a one-on-one career counseling session

Science student with a PREPs career counselor meeting for a one-on-one career counseling session.

Jobs and internships

Need help with your Science job or internship search? See below for step-by-step guides for your search and networking and personal brand creation tips.

Also, be sure to check out the career resources page to learn how to write compelling resumes, CVs, research statements and more. If you are a member of IUPUI's Honors College or the School of Science (either currently enrolled or an alumni), please schedule a free one-on-one career advising appointment.

Job search

Whether you’re still in school or you’ve graduated, finding an internship or job is difficult, stressful, and time consuming. Make the process less stressful by reviewing the 3 step job search plan below and schedule an appointment with a PREPs career counselor

Step 1: Assess Yourself

Begin your job search with some honest self reflection. Ask yourself:

  • How well do I know myself?
    • What are my unique strengths?
    • What are my values?
    • What are my hobbies and passions?
    • Do I need to take a self-assessment such as Myers-Briggs?
  • What do I have to offer an employer?
    • What are my skills?
    • What are my experiences?
  • How do I want to contribute?
    • What type of work do I find meaningful?
    • What vision do I want to achieve?
    • What missions do I want to serve?
  • What is my ideal job?
    • What kind of people do I want to work with and how might this influence the industry I choose to work in?
    • What type of environment do I want to work in? Do I prefer to work outdoors, or do I do my best work in a cubicle?
    • What is my ideal workload? How important is work-life balance important to me?
    • What type of benefits do I want? How much do I want to earn, and how hard am I willing to work for that income?
  • What industry do I want to be in?
  • Where do I want this job to take me in the next 10-15 years?

It is easy to overlook these questions when you are stressed and in need of a job, but being confident about what type of job you seek will make you a stronger candidate because you will be better able to articulate why you are well suited for the position.

Struggling to answer these questions? Check out these resources:

Step 2: Search Smarter not Harder

Job searching can become an all-consuming pursuit if you aren't strategic. To protect your valuable time, PREPs has handpicked the best sites to look for your next job. Don't search harder, search smarter with these resources:

  • ScienceLink is our new career services management database. It's a powerful tool that connects School of Science students and alumni with exceptional career and internship opportunities. Every day we evaluate each job posting and determine if it satisfies NACE standards. 
  • Search for jobs by major: PREPs has put together this list of organizations where you can search for jobs by your major.
  • Student Employment: if you are looking for a job on campus be sure to visit the Office of Student Employment. 
  • The Next Step Fair is a great opportunity to meet with many employers at one place. Help each spring, the next step fair will connect you with a broad range of job options suited to your major.

Keep in mind that achieving ambitious career goals require time. Your first job is probably not going to be your dream job. Rather, it will be an opportunity for you to learn about the industry, yourself, and gain valuable experience. Think of each job as a stepping stone towards your ultimate destination.

See ScienceLink job board

Step 3: Apply

Your application materials form the first impression of hiring managers. Yet employers consistently report receiving cover letters riddled with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. Submit an error-free, standout resume and cover letter by using our "Resumes & More" section then make an appointment at PREPs for a full review.

PREPs also holds resume reviews every semester in the SL/LD lobby, see our event calendar for the next "Resumania" event.

Career Resources

Glassdoor for Students

Glassdoor for Students has recently launched. It is a free resource customized to meet the specific needs of today's students, allowing them to find and research the latest internships, entry-level jobs and salaries, career tips and more.

CareerBliss

CareerBliss is a free online career community that empowers job seekers with millions of jobs, reviews, and salaries, along with hundreds of career advice articles.

Meaning and Pay

Explore jobs by seeing how different workers rate job meaning, salary, stress and job satisfaction. This interactive graph allows you to explore the pros and cons of over 450 jobs. 

O*NET OnLine

O*NET has detailed descriptions of the world of work for use by job seekers, workforce development and HR professionals, students, researchers, and more!

Occupational Outlook Handbook 

The Occupational Outlook Handbook is the Nation's premier source for career information! The profiles featured cover hundreds of occupations and describe the work tasks, environment, pay, and career path. Each profile also includes employment projections for the 2010-20 decade.

See career resources page

Internships

An internship is a short-term work experience that will allow you to gain relevant knowledge and skills related to a particular career. It's also the best way to explore your career interests and gain experience that will accelerate your career.

The 9 Internship Steps

  1. Meet with a PREPs advisor to get started in your internship search
  2. Research employers and internship opportunities to develop a prospective list
  3. Let PREPs help you with your application materials:
    • Resume
    • Cover Letter
    • References
  4. Begin applying for internships
  5. Schedule a mock interview with PREPs
  6. Follow up with the company or organization after your interview
  7. Keep good records so that you can effectively evaluate your offers and choose the one that's best for you
  8. Enjoy your internship and learn as much as you can
  9. Report back to PREPs after your internship and let us know how it went

When should I look for an internship?

Finding an internship takes time. Allow yourself an entire semester to find an internship that fits your goals and schedule. Your academics are your first priority, so, if you're struggling to maintain a solid GPA, adding an internship on top of everything else is not the best idea. However, if you feel you can handle the added work of interning on top of your other responsibilities, then the second semester of your freshman year is a good time to start looking for an internship for the summer or fall semester.

Where should I look for an internship?

There are many places to look for internships, including your current network! Here are some sites that PREPs recommends:

ScienceLink: Online Job Search for Science Students & Alumni

This service connects School of Science students and alumni with exceptional career and internship opportunities.

School of Science Internship Board

We've collected a list internships available to students pursuing careers in science, health and technology.

The Indiana INTERNnet!

View a wide array of internship opportunities here in Indiana.

How do I determine if an internship is right for me?

Before accepting an internship, there are several factors you need to consider. If you are unsure of any of the following points, make sure to ask your potential supervisor.

What types of projects or assignments would you be involved in, and what would your role would be?
  • Your internship position should include a specific, written list of internship responsibilities, goals and learning objectives. If this is not currently available, ask the supervisor if they are willing to with you to develop a specific list of assignments, goals and objectives for the internship before it begins. PREPs can help you in formulating these objectives.
  • At least 80% of your time should be spent doing assignments such as data gathering/analysis, research, writing, presenting, problem solving, computer use, and interpersonal interaction. Observing and clerical work (filing, making copies, taking coffee orders) is part of most internship positions, however, the ideal internship will require no more than 20% of the time in routine clerical tasks.

What type of supervision do the organization or company's interns receive?  Is there an orientation process?  Do interns meet with supervision routinely?  How do interns get feedback on their work?

  • A good internship should include a supervisor who possesses the skills, education, experience and time to provide a positive learning environment for you.
  • Your internship should include an established agreement between the intern and the supervisor for scheduled meetings to review progress, to obtain feedback, and for the intern to ask questions. If this is not currently part of the internship, ask the supervisor if they are willing to commit to this.

Are interns included in staff meetings and/or training sessions?  Do interns observe site visits or meetings with clients?

  • Another important aspect of a great internship include opportunities for interns to meet/interview multiple people within the organization to gain insight into the role of the department and the broader organization
What is your primary learning objective for this internship? How much work involved in the internship will allow you to meet this objective?
How long will the internship last and how many hours will you be working each week?
  • You want to gain as much experience as possible from your internship, but still be able to balance your other responsibilities. Ideally, summer internships last at least 8 weeks and are often full-time. Internships that take place during the academic semester vary between part-time and full-time. If you are completing an internship for credit, make sure you know how many hours are necessary to receive full credit.

Is this a paid internship? 

  • Not all internships are paid, but in every internship you should receive something in return for your energy, time and skills. The experience should result in hands-on-experience, contacts, and increased marketability. If you are doing work and getting nothing in return, this is not an internship, it's unpaid labor.
  • Governmental and non-profit organizations often aren't able to pay interns and are not subject to the same regulations. Talk to the PREPs office about possible funding sources if you are evaluating an unpaid internship in any sector.

Networking

Don't forget it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Most jobs (roughly 80%) are not published, meaning you won’t find them in the classifieds or on Indeed.com. Furthermore, the jobs that are published receive approximately six times as many applications as there are employees in the company.

Networking 101

What Exactly is Networking?

Networking is simply the sharing of information between you and another person. Asking your neighbor for a restaurant recommendation is an example of networking.

Professional networking involves establishing relationships with people who can help you advance your career. Asking a new contact if they have a job at their place of employment for you, or if they'd be willing to give your resume to HR is NOT networking. Networking is about showing sincere interest in others and being willing to share information with them as well. Networking involves a two-way exchange, not just taking.

How Do I Network?

Network is definitely more of an art than a science, however, the following tips can be used to guide you as your become more savvy in the art of networking.

Have a contact card. A contact card is a personal business card that includes your name, LinkedIn URL, email, cell phone, and areas of expertise. Having your own card to offer will make it easier to ask someone else for his or hers. It's also a great way to promote your "brand."

Develop your already-established network. Don't overlook your existing contacts. Family members, co-workers, neighbors, people in your religious community are already part of your network. When you spend time with these people, start talking about your future plans and goals. Not only is this good practice, but they may have great advice or opportunities for you.

Seek out new contacts. Being on a college campus, you are surrounded by others with whom you can connect: classmates, student organization members, staff, and faculty are all potential contacts. If there is a specific person you want to have in your network, locate them! Simply approach someone confidently, stick out you hand, and introduce yourself. It sounds scary at first, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Have your elevator pitch ready. An elevator pitch is a speech that can be delivered in the time it takes a ride an elevator. Your speech doesn't have to be memorized, but you should have several refrains that you can easily customize to your situation. For example: "I am about to graduate from IUPUI with a degree in chemistry. This major allowed me to develop strong problem-solving and reasoning skills. I am currently working as a part-time intern at MolecuTech, which I love...."

LinkedIn is a must for networking. For those unfamiliar with LinkedIn, we have provided a guide below to help you get started.

Keep an on-going list of the people in your growing network. Reach out to them on a regular basis. Offer to introduce them to each other and ask them to introduce you to some of their contacts as well. A great way to stay on top of this is by scheduling 10 minutes a day into your calendar for networking. Make a phone call or write a letter to the people in your network. Let them know what is happening in your life and ask about them.

Don't view networking as an imposition. Don't apologize for asking for advice. Most people feel honored that you are looking to them for advice or input. And remember, you aren't networking just to get something out of someone else. Approach networking from the perspective of "How can I help this person."

Above all, follow these four rules and you'll do fine:

  • Smile: It's easy to do and it tells people that you are friendly and personable.
  • Ask a question: If you're shy, this is a great way to engage in a conversation.
  • Listen: Good networkers listen; they listen and remember. It's also a great way to engage if you are shy, because you can let the other person do a lot of the talking.
  • Say the person's name: People like to hear their own name, so use it in the conversation. Doing so makes the person feel more comfortable, like you really know her and she knows you.

Networking for Introverts

Introversion is one of the Myers-Briggs type indictors to describe one of the major personality types. Those who are introverted are often exhausted by social interactions and find stimulating environments overwhelming. Introverts tend to be reserved, cautious, reflective, independent, quiet (at first), inward-oriented, need solitude to recharge, prefer deeper discussion, prefer fewer and more intimate friendships, and are comfortable being alone.

Networking involves interacting and connecting with others and cultivating relationships. As an introvert, it can feel exhausting going to events and putting yourself out there for the sake of networking. However, you can think of networking simply as making friends, being kind to them, and keeping in touch. Introverts have many qualities that are beneficial for growing and deepening relationships. 

On-campus activities can help you meet people with similar goals and values. Consider joining a few student groups that interest you, attend special events, volunteer to help or run for a leadership role, get to know faculty and staff on campus. These are just a few ways to connect with others on campus. Remember, your friends and classmates are future colleagues, so it's important to cultivate relationships now. You may want to focus on one-on-one interactions to begin, then you can ask friends to introduce you to other friends. Study groups are also great introverted activities as you have the social interaction, but are still doing an introverted activity. 

There are many more resources on this topic, if you'd like to learn more, download the Introvert's Networking Resource Directory by clicking the button at the top of the page.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn allows you to build your professional identify online and keep in touch with other professionals. You can also use LinkedIn to discover professional opportunities and stay informed with the latest news, inspiration and insights. In a nutshell, LinkedIn is awesome and you should be using it.

Creating your LinkedIn profile isn't difficult, but it does take time. Below are some tips for creating an excellent LinkedIn profile:

Go to LinkedIn.com to get started building your LinkedIn profile. As you begin filling in your profile, be sure you convey your skills, experience, and everything else you have to offer a potential employer-- so be thorough! Prepare to put a lot of time and thought into your profile page.

Have a dynamic title or tagline to set you apart from everyone else. Most people put their job title in the section directly below their name, but you can use this space to emphasize your unique qualities instead by using a tagline. If you need help coming up with a tagline, meet with your career advisor for ideas.

If you don't have a lot of work experience, make sure to highlight your volunteer experience and student involvement. This counts for a lot when you are just getting started on your career path.

Take advantage of the summary section. Include your accomplishments, qualifications, and expertise, and use this section to show potential employers how you are unique.

You can customize your URL. Your first and last name is a great option if it's available. Use your custom LinkedIn URL on your resume and email signature to help lead professionals to your profile.

Connect with others in a personal way. Don't just use the default greeting to connect with others. When you send a LinkedIn invitation, write a personalized greeting that reminds the person how you know them. You are only able to do this on the computer, if you are using the mobile app you don't yet have the option to customize your connection request.

Join groups. Being a member of a group will help you stand out, but even more importantly, groups allow you to participate in discussions, seek advice, and connect to other members. There's a ton of great information being passed around in these groups. Take advantage of all these free resources.

Give and receive recommendations. Recommendations on LinkedIn are the equivalent to job references (and they carry more weight than just getting yours skills endorsed on LinkedIn). While it is easy to hit the "Request Recommendations" button, it is better to reach out personally when asking for a recommendation.

Remember that spelling and grammar is important. Your goal is to impress potential employers. Having an error-free LinkedIn profile is just as important as having an error-free resume and cover letter. Make an appointment to have someone at PREPs look over your profile and help you improve it.

The perfect professional photo: Your photo is the first thing people will see when they visit your LinkedIn page; it needs to exhibit professionalism. PREPs can help you get the perfect shot. Contact our office today to schedule your photo shoot.

Your Personal Brand

Your Brand | Your Involvement | Your Experience. Use these assets to help you stand out to hiring managers and admissions officers. Here are some tips as to how:

Get a Brand

Learn how to develop a brand that portrays you as a high-caliber individual who would be a great asset to any organization. A personal brand is your reputation, qualities, professional persona, passions, and specialties all wrapped into one spectacular package. 

Get Connected

Develop your network to learn about programs, careers, and job opportunities.

Get Experience

Find internships, research opportunities, and student employment to help you develop skills that employers needs.

Get Involved

Involvement in student clubs and campus groups expands the platforms for learning within the School of Science. Network, develop valuable skills, gain recognition, and making a lasting impact on the campus and community.

Give Back

Service learning projects and volunteer work allow you to meet new people, contribute to the campus and community,  develop personal leadership and communication skills, and gain experience for your resume.

Interviewing

Whether it’s an interview for medical school, a graduate program, or a job, winging the interview is a common mistake. It’s easy to think your accomplishments or personality will get you through the interview, but as the competition gets fiercer, preparation becomes essential.

Step 1: Do Your Research

Continue researching the company with which you are interviewing. Identify common areas of interest and include those commonalities in your reasons for wanting to work with the company. Go beyond the company's website by using sites like Glassdoor.com, exploring the company's social media, and pay attention to their employee's LinkedIn profiles. Be sure to take careful notes of all this research.

Interviewers may ask if you know what's happening in their company. To prepare, research to see if the company has been in the news recently or if they have any upcoming products or projects they're working on.

Beyond being able to answer questions intelligently, your research will also provide you with valuable information that will allow you to ask relevant queries and help you make a decision concerning your future with the company.

For even more tips on researching the organization, check out this video.

Step 2: Practice

Don't expect to provide polished answers to every question without having practiced first. The best way to practice for an interview is by attending a mock interview. A mock interview is an emulation of an interview used for training purposes. InterviewStream is a free online service that allows you to conduct mock interviews via webcam. After recording your answers, review the video to identify areas of improvement. You can also schedule a mock interview at PREPs by using the button to the right.

To the left, we've gathered a list of common interview questions. Keep in mind that the purpose of the interview is for the interviewer to make an informed decision as to whether or not you would be the best person for the position. Essentially the interviewer wants to know if you are capable of doing the work, you will enjoy the work, and you are a good fit for the program or company. The questions below are simply a variety of ways these basic three questions may be phrased.

How to Answer Tricky Interview Questions

"Tell me about yourself"

Sounds like a simple question, right? This question is not an icebreaker. The interviewer wants to know if you would be a good fit for the position.  This is where having an elevator pitch comes in handy. An elevator pitch is a concise, carefully planned, well-practiced description about yourself.

It's easy to understand what a good answer to this question is by looking at a bad answer. Here's a bad way to answer: "I'm engaged and originally from Chicago. My fiance took a position here in Indianapolis three months ago, and I've been getting us settled in our new apartment. I'm now ready to go back to work. I've worked in a variety of jobs, usually customer-service related. I'm looking for a company that offers growth opportunities" 

Not only is the interviewee's answer too personal, but it raises concerns as to whether she was an employee who would stay for long. For example, she's engaged and when her fiance moves, she moves too. She has some work experience with customers but didn't emphasize what she did. She's looking to grow. Will she be content with the job she is applying for? Will she stay long?

What she should have done was come with a prepared elevator pitch in which she emphasizes her strengths. For example, she is warm and easily connects with people. She is highly articulate, and one of her greatest strengths is follow-through. She has a reputation for always meeting deadlines. Here how she could have approached the question.

Mention past experiences and proven success: "I have been in the customer-service industry for the last five years. My most recent experience has been handling incoming calls in the high-tech industry. One reason I particularly enjoy this business and the challenges that go along with it, is the opportunity to connect with people. In my last job, I formed some significant customer relationships resulting in a 30% increase in sales in a matter of months."

Mention strengths and abilities: "My greatest strength is my attention to detail. I pride myself on my reputation for following through and meeting deadlines. When I commit to doing something I make sure it gets done, and on time."

Conclude with a statement about your current situation: "What I'm looking for now is a company that values customer relations, where I can join a strong team and have a positive impact on customer retention and sales."

Once you have a polished answer, practice it. This doesn't mean memorize it (you don't want your answer to be stiff from rote memorization) but get used to saying the various phrases you want to include.

"Tell me about a time in the past when you demonstrated..."

Questions that begin this way are called behavioral-based questions. Interviewers use these questions to predict your future performance.

We recommend using the S.T.A.R method to best answer these questions.  S.T.A.R stands for:

  • Situation: What were you doing? Who were you working with?
  • Task: What was the goal you were striving to accomplish or the problem you attempted to solve?
  • Action: What did you do to resolve the problem or reach the goal?
  • Result: How did the situation end? What did you learn from this experience?

Don't expect to go into an interview and use this method perfectly the very first time you try it. It takes practice and preparation. Which is why it's also important to prepare five or more success stories. List your skills and keys assets, then reflect on past jobs and pick out one or two instances when you used those skills successfully.

You'll also want to present concrete, quantifiable data. This includes measurable information and details about specific accomplishments. You may already have this information listed on your resume, but practice talking about it.

Practice talking about yourself in front of the mirror. Observe your facial expressions, practice making eye contact with yourself, and pay attention to your posture. Make sure you aren't fidgeting or playing with your hair. Practice your handshake with friends and family members. Body language accounts for more than half of all our communication, so checking your watch, yawning, looking out the window, giving a weak handshake, etc. communicates that you are not excited about the position."

Why do you want to work for us? or Why do you want to pursue this degree?

In order to answer this question successfully, you have to do your research. Use the following questions to get started:

  1. What are the organization's leading products or services?
  2. What makes this organization or university different than others?
  3. What has happened recently for this organization? Acquisitions? New Products? Anything newsworthy?
  4. Who runs the organization? How many employees work for the org.? In how many offices? Is it big or small?
  5. What is the school or organization's mission? Philosophy? Values? Vision?

Prepare by writing facts about the organization on notecards. Include reasons why you want to work for the organization, questions you have about the organization, news bits, and any other tidbits you may want to add. Study the notecards in the days prior to the interview so that you have the information in your brain and can deploy any facts, questions, or figures as necessary.

Here's an example of an answer that demonstrates the interviewee's research:  "First, I know what a growth story Evernote is! Didn't I read recently that you've had three straight years of double-digit growth? I read in your annual report that you're planning to introduce a new line of products in the near future. I jumped at the chance to apply here."

"Do you have any questions for me?"

It's important to have questions about the company or school you are interviewing for. Not having questions signals that you are not interested in the position. Keep your goal in mind: you want to find a company that will be a good fit for your personality, skills, etc. So you should have questions to ask.

You should have already prepared for this part of the interview when you researched the organization. You probably came across questions along with way, but if not, here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. "Tell me some of the particular skills or attributes the ideal candidate for this position possesses."
  2. "What do you like best about this organization? Why?"
  3. "What has been the company's layoff history in the last five years? Do you anticipate any cutbacks in the near future and, if you do, how will they affect my department or position?"
  4. "Does this job usually lead to other positions at the company? Which ones?"
  5. "What major problems or challenges has the organization recently faced? How were they addressed? What results do you expect?"

We have created an extensive list of questions for you to choose from.

Make sure you have several questions ready to deploy in case your other questions were already answered. Three questions you should ask, if not previously addressed, include:

  1. "What are the next steps in the hiring process?" OR "When you do expect to make a hiring decision?"
  2. "If I am offered the position, how soon would you need my response?" OR "If I am offered the position, how soon would you need me to start?"
  3. "May I have your business card?" (Then use the card to send a thank you note to the interviewer afterwards!)

Illegal Questions

Unfortunately, you may be asked an illegal question during your interview. Be aware of what these questions are and what to do if you are asked one.

Illegal Job Interview Questions & How to Handle them

Step 3: Dress for Success

When choosing an outfit for your upcoming interview, be conservative! Don't wear tight or revealing clothing, and do your best to cover up any tattoos or piercings, even if it's allowed by the company's dress code. Stick to appropriate attire, because the point of the interview is not to be remembered by your looks, but by the level of professionalism and the skills you have to offer.

Watch our video about professional dress or read the guidelines below in order to learn how to dress properly for your interview:

  • A tailored suit: Be sure the suit fits properly! There are places that will hem or tailor the suit to fit you precisely. If you choose to wear a skirt, be sure the length is at least to your knees. Appropriate suit colors include black, grey, or navy blue. If you want to add some color, do so by choosing to wear a brighter colored blouse or dress shirt. Lastly, be sure your suit is ironed. Wrinkles don't make a good impression. Don't know how to use an iron? Learn how.
  • Tie: If you choose to wear a traditional tie or bowtie, be sure it coordinates with the rest of your outfit. Here's a quick video with tips.
  • Shoes: Dress shoes or flats are a perfect choice, but be sure to shine or polish them if necessary. If you prefer heels, choose a moderate pair. Make sure you can walk comfortably in your shoes before the day of the interview.
  • Jewelry: Limit yourself to two pieces or less. Avoid any jewelry that is noisy and distracting. Remove any ear, face, or tongue piercings prior to the interview.
  • Hair: If your hair is short, make sure it's neat. If your hair is long, pull it back and away from your face, preferably in a ponytail. Any facial hair should be neatly trimmed.
  • Makeup: If you choose to wear any, use soft and natural shades.
  • Nails: Should be short, neat, and clean. Remove any chipped nail polish if need be.
  • Wear deodorant or antiperspirant: Do NOT wear any perfume or cologne. The smell of either of these may be offensive to your interviewer, best not to take any chances.

Polish your look

  • Get opinions from a professional audience about your interview outfit. Be sure to ask your parents, your grandparents, or any other professionals you know.
  • Being on time is always in style. Arriving late to your interview may hurt your chances at getting the job. If possible, drive to the interview location beforehand, time how long it takes to get there (allow for traffic if necessary), and stake out the parking situation.
  • Don't smoke before the interview. You don't want them to smell you before they see you!
  • Bring a leather padfolio with several crisp copies of your resume, your business cards, a notepad, and pens. 

Step 4: Make a Great First Impression

It takes only 12-15 seconds to make a first impression. So you need to know how to make the most of that moment.

  • Make sure you are at least ten minutes early, any earlier may make you too nervous.
  • Make sure your suit is clean and pressed.
  • Practice your handshake. It should be firm, dry, and make full palm-to-palm contact.
  • Make eye contact. This conveys a sense of confidence.
  • Speak slowly with a steady voice. This conveys a sense or professionalism.
  • Be aware of your body language. Make sure you have good posture and are aware of your gestures.

See our First Impressions video for more information.

Step 5: Follow Up

During the Job Interview

As the interview begins to draw to a close and you've asked your interviewer questions about the position, be sure to collect any business cards or contact information from the employer/interviewer before you leave.

Having a business card will make it easier to follow up. If for some reason you can't get a business card, use LinkedIn for the contact information of your interviewer.

After a Job Interview

The purpose of following up after an interview is to show your gratitude for being brought in to interview and remind the interviewer that you're a strong candidate for the job and should be given serious consideration.

Immediately send a thank you letter, note, or email message to everyone who interviewed you. Handwritten letters are best, but they aren't always feasible, thus email is perfectly acceptable. 

  • Use your follow-up note to reiterate your interest in the job and the company.
  • Remind the interviewer why you're qualified by highlighting your relevant skills.
  • Did you forget to say something? If there's something you had wished you'd shared during the interview, do it now.
  • Proofread your follow-up letters before you send them. A typo or grammatical error can hurt you more than it will will help.

For more information, see our Follow Up video.

Interview questions

Below are common interview questions asked of interviewees for job and internships.

Job Interview Questions

If you are unsure how to answer any of these questions, check out Step 2 of our Interviewing section for detailed tips on how to correctly answer tricky interview questions.

Questions About You

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. What are your two best points?
  3. What are your two weakest points?
  4. What are three things you want to change about yourself?
  5. How do you handle conflict?
  6. Explain your leadership/research/volunteer experiences.
  7. What extracurricular activities are you engaged in?
  8. Which of your college courses interested you the most?
  9. Where do you see yourself in five/ten years?
  10. What do you do in your spare time?
  11. Why did you choose your major?
  12. In which campus activities did you participate?
  13. What do you do to relieve stress?
  14. What course was most academically challenging for you?
  15. If you were to start over, what would you change about your education?
  16. What job related skills have you developed?
  17. Who are the three most influential people in your life?
  18. Describe your greatest accomplishments.
  19. How do you feel about working in a structured environment?
  20. How do you feel about working overtime?
  21. How do you feel about travel?
  22. Do you consider yourself successful?
  23. Describe your dream job.
  24. What kind of person would you refuse to work with?
  25. What is more important to you: the money or the work?
  26. What do you expect from your supervisor?
  27. Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?
  28. Are you a self-starter?
  29. Describe yourself in one word.
  30. When you are working on a team, what role do you usually play?

Questions About Your Career Goals/Job Experience

  1. What experiences do you have in this field?
  2. What do co-workers say about you?
  3. How would your co-workers describe you?
  4. What are your career goals? How will this position help you achieve your goals?
  5. What have you done to keep yourself knowledgeable of current trends/theories, etc. in this field?
  6. Why did you leave your last position?
  7. Why do you want to change positions?
  8. What you like best/least about your current position? 
  9. Define success. Define failure.
  10. Tell us a time that you succeeded/failed at your job.
  11. Why do you believe you have the ability to undertake the study and work involved in graduate school?
  12. If you are not accepted, what will you do?
  13. Tell me about your experience in this field. What was challenging? What was your contribution?
  14. How do you intend to finance your education?
  15. What is your philosophy regarding this profession?
  16. What is your concern about the profession?
  17. Are you a team player?  Provide an example.
  18. Have you ever had to discipline an employee?  If yes, how did you handle the situation?
  19. Have you ever had to fire someone?  How did you feel about it?
  20. Have you ever been asked to leave a position?
  21. What would you like to improve professionally about yourself?

Questions About the Company/Positions

  1. Why did you choose to apply for this position?
  2. Why should we choose you over other candidates?
  3. What can you offer us?
  4. What do you know about our company?
  5. Do you prefer a large or small company?  Why?
  6. Why do you want to work for this company?
  7. Explain how you would be an asset to this company?

Current Issue/Scenario Questions

  1. Give an example of a situation in which you provided a solution for an employer.
  2. Give an example of a time in which you worked under a deadline pressure.
  3. How would you handle a situation where you were having a problem with your supervisor?
  4. If you were having problems working with a co-worker, what steps would you take to fix it?
  5. Tell me about a time that you made a mistake on the job.  How did you correct it and what did you learn from the experience?
  6. How would you handle a situation where a co-worker received credit for work that you did and did not correct the fact that he was not the person that should be receiving the recognition?