What’s the Deal with Interviews, Anyway?

-Luke Faith

Hello and welcome back to yet another week of my blogging antics! This week I’ve chosen a very important topic to discuss, but, then again, they’re all important. This week we are focusing on the importance of preparation for interviews. I personally believe that the interview is one of the most important phases of job search.

In case you have not had a chance to view one of my previous blogs, I encourage you to check it out because it highlights some employer expectations. Click here to see what those are.

5 Simple, Yet Serious, Interview Tips 

So let’s get started! First, try to think about the different elements of an interview: your presentation / delivery, preparation and rehearsal, and lastly, the effort and confidence you put in during the “performance” (so-to-speak). Be aware that though we may always think interviews are easy, they aren’t, nor are they ever easy for some. You must remember to present yourself with confidence, and talk about applicable content that will show your competence in the future,

Tip #1: Apparel and etiquette

Do you think how you dress and act effect the end result? I mean, it comes second-nature to some, but there are some employers who are considered “traditional” who expect you to over-dress. So what if their company uniform policy is a polo and dress pants? It’s better to over-dress, anyway. Impress! When an employer meets someone for the first time they are very attentive to physical and social cues- how you are dressed is one of them.

How you act reveals character and your delivery that portrays intelligence. Employers evaluate anything and everything you do and say to aid them in making a decision. Things like body language, responses, your tone of voice, and your posture are just some examples.

Being improper in any way may create the impression that an individual lacks effort and may suggests that person does not adhere to a professional attitude.

Tip #2: Keep speech in mind, and be professional

Another thing to consider is language during your interview. Make sure that you’re prepared to speak about your skills/qualifications, any accomplishments, and have questions ready to ask at the end (always do this).

This goes directly in line with one of our #1 tips to resume writing: write it yourself. If you have someone else do it for you, an employer will be able to tell almost instantly whether or not you wrote it based on your verbal language and how it compares to your resume.

P.S. Did you know that The Career Center does mock interviews with students and alumni? You can contact them at either office to schedule one, and, for those of you interested, check out our other events scheduled for this year. Also, students interested may wish to register for the upcoming Mock Interview Day at the North Central Campus.

Tip #3: A resourceful info-graphic

Tip #4: Practice makes perfect

I really feel like this tip title is an ongoing theme of mine. Practicing for an interview is crucial. Whether it be with a Career Consultant, a family member or friend, or in front of the mirror at home, it helps. With practice you can demonstrate your readiness and confidence, and will provide the opportunity to put some thought into your answers. Oh, and most importantly, you feel more comfortable.

Practicing also shows your communication skills. If you land the interview, why not go the extra mile to get the job?

Tip #5: Recommendations for success

Most often employers ask behavioral-based questions, since these show past behaviors, and past behaviors are a prime indicator for future behavior. Prepare yourself to ask reflective questions that begin with “Tell me about a time when….”, or “How did you handle…..”. Having answers prefabricated will help you to breeze through an interview rather than feeling like your brain is being scrambled.

I myself have only been through a handful of interviews, but I have always taken any opportunity to help prepare myself by participating in mock interviews in school and outside of school.

Some Questions for Practice:

It is also very beneficial for the interviewee to express interest in the company, and have questions ready to ask the employer when given the chance, and do research on the company.

If you feel the need to build on you interview skills, feel free to come into either the North Central or Calumet Career Center and schedule and appointment. Or, to get even more experience with interviews as well as opportunities to network yourself, sign up for one of our mock interview events that occur each year.

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Graduate School: ‘To Be or Not To Be?’

-Luke Faith

Welcome back! I hope everybody is feeling well with the change of seasons and we are another week down before the end of the semester! As Mother Nature shifts gears and we are approaching the final months of the year, I’d like to change directions and focus on something we all may have thought about at one point or another in life: graduate school.

As college students or graduates, we have already made one big decision in life- to go to college. However, an even BIGGER decision may have you sitting on the edge of your seat, hypothetically speaking, and that’s whether or not to continue your education after your baccalaureate degree. Should you apply? When is the right time to apply? How do I know which program is the right one for me?



We all know that graduate school is a large financial investment, which amplifies why this decision should not be taken lightly. For those of you considering Graduate School see Lynn O’Shaughnessy’s advice in an article on U.S. News & World Report’s Education website.

It is obvious that completing a graduate degree can benefit you, but how? Well, that’s part of career planning and some exploration (again! Remember when I said it was always ongoing?). Obtaining a higher degree involves being directed and concentrated towards gaining expertise in a particular field, as the quality of education is above average.

A graduate program challenges you to focus. It challenges you to think, and to apply skills directly. It also challenges you to work with others who may not always live close to you, or who have different schedules than you (I am referring to our favorite thing in the undergraduate world- group work). But think about the additional skills you will learn from this. Think about how valuable you can be. Ultimately, deciding to pursue a graduate degree is up to you. We do, however, have a plethora of resources to help you!

Where do you start? The first thing to do is look at where you want to be, and what career field you’d like to work in. Below is a list of things to think about when looking at graduate programs:

  • What can I get my degree in that sets me apart from the other candidates?
  • When is the application deadline?
  • What is required to apply (i.e., GRE exam, MCATs, LSATs, a stellar GPA, etc.)?
  • Do I have people in my life who would be willing to give recommendations?
  • Do I want to attend solely online, or in a classroom setting?
  • Will the class hours work with my current work schedule?
  • Can I handle taking an accelerated semester (6 or 8 weeks) if the program requires it?
  • Is the program I am looking at accredited? How do I know what accreditation to look for?

To actually work toward getting started in a program itself is a lot of work. It’s like making a decision about what you want for dinner when you REALLY don’t know- it almost has to be perfect.  The Career Center has an entire section on their website dedicated to Graduate and Professional Schools, and a Career Consultant can sit down with you and go through different programs with you, especially if you are unsure about accreditation (my favorite website to look at programs is Gradschools.com because you can filter schools by program and program type). You can also stop by The Career Center to pick up a graduate guide.

Some things that may be required for your application:

  • A resume or a CV
  • A personal statement
  • Two to three recommendations
  • Academic Transcripts

It never hurts to simply weigh out the possibilities when making decisions as important as graduate school. Otherwise, whose to say whether graduate school is or is not for you. Overall, I hope to send you some friendly advice. Consider if Graduate School is for you but remember to think it through thoroughly.

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Q &A: Employer Expectations

-Luke Faith

Welcome to another week of The Career Center’s Blog! Remember in my previous blogs when I kept plugging the Fall Career Expo on October 23rd? Well, this week, to get a good gauge on what an employer is looking for, I have interviewed a few company representatives to find out what they expect from a job seeker (or an internship seeker, if that’s what you’re looking for).

The lineup:

  1. Aaron Hurt, Manager, All-Phase Electric Supply
  2. Sarah Satkus, Senior Staffing Specialist, Dwyer Instruments
  3. Esther Che, Recruiter, Defense Finance Accounting Services
  4. Kristen Rex, Recruiter, Speedway, LLC

Now, before I get started with the good stuff, I do want to again encourage you to pre-register online to attend the Fall Expo!

I also want to take a brief moment (I know, the suspense is burning inside you, isn’t it?) to look at the mistakes job seekers make when approaching employers. I’m not going to go into detail, but take a look:

Hint: you want to aim to avoid these mistakes.

image of a business man with statistics on nonverbal cues

Common nonverbal mistakes job seekers make

Now let’s get to what you have all been waiting for.

Drum roll please……..

Do first impressions really count? What types of things do you note that may make or break a positive first impression?

Aaron: Absolutely. Eye contact, self-confidence, dry hands, firm hand shake, nice smelling breath, having a copy of your resume with you, proper attire.

Sarah: First impressions absolutely count! If you make a poor first impression, you definitely have to work much harder to change a potential employer’s mind about you.  If I’m at a career fair or interview, I definitely look at dress first.  Dressing the part (i.e., your power suit) says to me that you take yourself, the university, and the career fair seriously so you’ll more than likely take the job I offer seriously as well. I’m also very cognisant about eye contact- don’t stare an employer down, but be sure to show that you’re engaged in the conversation by keeping focus. Don’t be afraid to ask questions (it shows a higher level of interest) and be an active listener.

Esther: The way you dress can either make or break you. Most of the time candidates are in good attire, but sometimes how you approach an employer also adds to that first impression. If you land your elevator pitch and have a positive attitude, that’s going to impress me.

Kristen: I believe first impressions count, but there is a short period of time in which one can turn a negative first impression into a positive one. One way to make a great first impression is to make small talk or start a conversation with an employer. Tardiness, lack of enthusiasm, and a weak handshake are the top ways to break a first impression.

What types of Knowledge/experience do you expect candidates to have when applying for an internship or job with your company?

Aaron: General business knowledge gained through school work is all that I expect. We offer a training program that should completely acclimate a new employee to our company.

Sarah: I don’t expect student applicants to have too much “real world” experience so I like to see what they’re involved in outside of their classes.  Be it work, volunteering, or extracurricular activities, I want to see that students are doing what they can to become well-rounded individuals. Having a leadership position in your outside activities is especially attractive as it shows me that you’re willing to step up and take on additional responsibilities.

Esther: Something that is major-related to what we are looking for position-wise is one of the first things we look for. We also look to see how involved they are- not just focused on academics, as being in the workforce is more than being ‘book smart’. Leadership and extracurricular activities are extrememly important, too. Lastly, we look to see if a candidate has put in any effort to put in any effort to get work experience, whether it be at McDonald’s or on campus at the bookstore.

Kristen: We at Speedway look for retail experience, so candidates understand the way the business works. With our interns and higher level management candidates, we also look for a high GPA, because it reflects how much effort you put into your work.

What do you expect a candidate to know about you when approaching you at an event or an interview?

Aaron: A general idea of what we do, and a knowledge of our available positions is appreciated. A simple Google search (let me Google that for you) will give you an idea about our company, and our available positions are listed on the career fair documents.

Sarah:  Before you approach an employer you should definitely know what the company does.  I know many employers that will immediately dismiss students for not being prepared in this regard.

Esther: I have a higher expectations at an interview than at a recruiting event. Candidates are expected to know who we are and what we do at in interview. Though we are impressed by candidates who also know this at a recruitment event, we have had experiences where we have interviewed and hired someone who wasn’t even at the event to talk to our company.

Kristen: It’s always nice to have candidates that have some knowledge about the company, other than just knowing a few random stores. Do your research; it’s better to be over prepared than under.

What do you look for on a resume? How long do you look at a resume?

Aaron: The resume is generally not a make-or-break item for use, but typos and grammatical errors are a turn off. A truthful, short (no more than one page), and simple resume is the best in my opinion.

Sarah: I read a lot of resumes so I don’t spend too much time on them, usually less than a minute. I look at the overall structure (is it easy to read), GPA (my company has a minimum 3.0 out of 4.0 requirement),  and what you’re involved with outside of classes.

Esther: Though we do not accept resumes but online, students still provide us with resumes at recruitment events. The first thing I look at is GPA. It helps to get into the door of the organization. I also look at leadership experiences, any type of work history, or anything that shows that the candidate has made an effort to do- something aside from study.

Kristen: Organization, clarity, and depth. Take time on your resume, it’s what an employer sees before they see you. If a resume is well written, I will read it all the way through.

So, there you have it- employer’s perspective. Take it as you will, but the best approach is to over-prepare, whether it be with your attire, your elevator speech, or your resume. Practice makes perfect. I truly hope this Q&A helps you as a job seeker.

You can see these representatives, along with many others, at the Fall Career Expo on October 23rd! Introduce yourself to them and let them know you read this!


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More on Social Media & Keeping Up with the Jones’

-Luke Faith

Social media is on the rise, right? Sometimes when I am around campus I can’t help but notice how tied to our phones we can get. It is important for you as job seekers to be aware of how social media could potentially affect you, whether it be positively or negatively.

With businesses everywhere adopting social media as a recruitment tool this could be favorable or unfavorable for upcoming graduates and future generations. Plus, there are so many outlets nowadays; sometimes I feel like I can’t keep up! Companies nowadays are using Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, Meerkat, and Instagram to not only advertise their businesses, but to look up digital dirt on potential candidates. Did you know that?

But first, a cat lover’s rendition of social media defined:



Below are the five W’s you should be consider when using social media:

Who you are on social media. This means everyone on Facebook should be mindful of who you portray yourself to be, what you say, and who you are friends with. Employers really do check candidate social media profiles to see what they are saying and doing. Did you ever hear the story about the teacher who was fired over a picture she posted on Facebook? Read it here.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be able to express yourself online, but what I am saying is to be mindful of who your audience is.

What you are using social media for is also something to take into consideration. Are you posting pictures of your vacations or food? Are you solely using it to connect with long lost friends from high school? Regardless of what you use it for, be careful not to make a spectacle out of your personal beliefs or feelings, as anything that can be considered destructive may lead to an unhappy ending.

Now that I have thrown all of the bad at you, here’s a positive note: social media can be used to your advantage- it is a great place for networking! So finding companies and careers is now becoming more and more possible on social media sites. As you may know, LinkedIn is a great site to become active in networking oneself.

When one uses social media excessively it can also become an issue, in my opinion. Being on social media throughout day is certainly a new trend, but how can this have an effect on you getting your job done? I tend to find social media distracting and shut it down when I am working. It is an escape that swallows a lot of time in the day. If you are looking for a job, how much time do you find you spend keeping up with the Jones’ compared to time spent on CareerTrax, Indiana INTERNnet, or Indeed.com?

By the way, did you know that The Career Center tweets jobs they post? Check it out!

Where you are using social media is also something I believe can come into factor and is becoming a growing issue. In the business world one adheres to expectations and certain codes of conduct. Being on Facebook or Twitter all day is probably not in your job description, unless your job focuses on social media branding or promotion for the company.

image of a man stating

That’s what they all say, right?

Why you are on social media seems pretty evident to me. It’s just a popular way of staying connected in the world. It provides information on pop culture, allows for close ties, and people make contributions to conversations with larger audiences. It’s great that technology is advancing, but I also feel that we as human beings are also losing our use of interpersonal communication skills. Take the app YikYak for example. People say how they feel all the time on that app, but do you think they verbally express it? Would you? It’s like the old saying about being intoxicated: you say what you really mean, but don’t when you’re sober.

Social media is great, but do you see an uprising issue when professors have to put something on their syllabi about using text language?

So, there are my 5 W’s on social media. We use it for leisure. Business use it for promotion. It can either be a building block for you or extremely detrimental. It is imperative that we are attentive of what goes public or on our social media site (check your privacy settings to see who can see your stuff).

It’s totally alright to keep up with the Jones’, but don’t publicly tell them that they are jerks.


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Show up and Show Off- Professional Dress Tips

-Luke Faith

It’s almost time Purdue Calumet and Purdue North Central Students! The Fall Career-Expo is quickly approaching and I’d like to offer you some advice on what is considered to be professional dress.

My inspiration for this topic this week was due to the fact that so many students have been into our offices in the past two weeks asking for advice on how to prepare for the Krannert Undergraduate Business Fair and the Industrial Roundtable Fair. When Consultants brought up the topic of attire, most were planning on wearing something I would consider 2/3 professional. Remember this: dress for the job you want. It’s better to overdress than under-impress.

Professional dress in perspective can be misunderstood, especially with how the ‘dressy’ trend has changed in recent years. It seems a good portion of the younger generations are taking a more relaxed approach to professional dress. However, with employers, first impressions are absolutely critical. Being halfway dressed up (or 2/3) is not the best way to give a good first impression. Employers just as much as regular people rely on first-impression and will generally make their decision of weather or not to hire based off this perspective.

photo of workers in an office with one of the group dresses inappripriately

courtesy of homedress.net

Since it is about that time to start putting together your outfit for our Career Expo on Friday, October 23, I would like to give you some pointers. I wish the best for everyone and hope that you attend this event, and get the outcome you were expecting. Below are some tips for both men and women.

courtesy of an article on LinkedIN


  • Wear a suit. Everyone else will be doing it. Plus, if they aren’t, who cares? You’ll just look that much classier.
  • What’s in a suit? Dress pants/slacks, a button-up shirt, a tie, a jacket, and dress shoes.
    • Shirts should be of plain color, without patterns, and be a neutral color that matches your suit color. Even though bright colors may seem fitting with mood, personality, or time of year, stay away from them.
  • A belt is required. Wearing jeans without a belt, I get, but why take the chance of your pants falling down at a career fair?
  • Hygiene is just as important as attire. Have a clean-shaven face or neck, a haircut that isn’t hard to control, a fresh, clean mouth, straight posture, and a firm handshake.


  • Wear a suit. Suits for women can include skirts, but should be no shorter than 1 inch above the knee cap.
    • Women need not purchase men’s-style button down shirts, but a button-down blouse with a collar to match your suit.
  • Just like with men, the blouse should be of plain color and match the suit.
  • Jewelry is kept to a minimum, match (all gold or all silver), and only 1-2 rings per hand, minimum.
  • Heels should be 1-2 inches in height. Any higher and you may be in pain by the end of the day (ouch!).
  • Skin-colored hosiery is recommended. It adds a nice even tone to your skin and hides marks or scratches.

Regardless of your gender, tattoos and piercings are a taboo topic. Some companies foster a culture in which these are allowed, but until you’re in that job and know whether they are or not, it’s best to hide them. I get that they are a form of art and identity, but working in a traditionally professional environment doesn’t allow for these.



For more information on how to dress to impress, view the Career Events Prep Book: Appearance Section.

Remember that you can never go wrong by over-dressing. The first impression will always be a factor in employer’s decisions.

Here is link to our advice on professional attire on the Career Center Website.

And Best of Luck to all the students and alumni at the Fall Career Fair! See you on the 23rd!

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Let’s Get Together and be Alright (Networking)

-Luke Faith

Entering the professional world generally requires more than earning a degree and applying for the job. Now, I’m not saying it’s impossible to move forward this way, but why test the hypothetically unclear waters when you can go the mile and network, potentially receiving 3 job offers to your one sans networking?

Networking starts as early as high school. It’s strongly encouraged in college. Practice makes perfect (do you see the theme in my blogs?). Those who do network will surely find it enhances their opportunities in a career search. With that being said, this blog is dedicated to the leading networking website in the nation: LinkedIN.

LinkedIN logo in a tablet with a coffee cup on a table

Courtesy of Forbes online

LinkedIn is the leading professional marketing website in the nation with millions of employers and job seekers. If you have not built yourself a personal profile, then get on it! By the way, did you know that The Career Center assists with LinkedIN profile building? I hear they give good advice…

Being active on LinkedIn also takes more effort than just making a profile. An individual is likely to see results by having good content, making connections, and receiving recommendations and endorsements. Below are some LinkedIN profile musts:

  • Complete your profile. When you log in and view your profile there will be a scale that tells you where your profile is compared to where it should be. Fill out as many sections as you can.
  • Have a catchy headline. If you are seeking employment you can make this reflect your studies and note that you’re seeking employment. Example: Soon-to-be Business Management graduate looking to obtain a career.
  • Location, Location, Location. Have your industry and location on your profile. If you do not want to be specific about your location, you can generalize it and put your area, such as Chicago Area.
  • Have a Summary. A summary tells the reader what skills you may have, and what direction you’re going into with your desired career field. It’s similar to an objective statement on a resume, just with more information.
  • Keep it Current. Keep your profile updated as much as possible. Have a new job? Update it. Did you get your degree? Update it. I think you can pick up what I’m putting down.
  • Connections. Aim to have up to 50 connections when you start your profile. Unsure who to connect with? You can connect with classmates, co-workers, bosses, professors, old managers, or anyone in your professional zone. Note that the etiquette behind making connections is different from Facebook or Twitter. Don’t connect with your long-lost high school crush, unless you want to.
Screenshot of a user's LinkedIN Summary

Example of a Summary

  • Endorsements. Get those connections to endorse you on your profile! Unsure how to endorse or how to receive endorsements? Check out LinkedIN’s help article on endorsements.
  • Your Photo Says it All. A professional-looking profile picture is extremely important on your LinkedIN profile. I mean, it’s cool that you listen to Pantera, but do you want the professional world to see that you like them on the ripped-up garage t-shirt while advertising your career-related knowledge? If you’re going to the Fall Career Expo, there will be a professional photographer there to take head shots that you can use for your profile page (a fee may apply)!
  • What’s in a Recommendation? A recommendation is a comment written by a LinkedIN member to recognize or commend a colleague, business partner, or student. Viewers of your profile often view your recommendations to see what others have to say about your work.

LinkedIn is an outstanding resource for job seekers. Since a professional’s skills and experiences are presented on the profile, this website becomes an outlet with vast opportunities. Did you know that you can apply for jobs through LinkedIN? Or that you can follow a company? Or that you can search for and join groups related to your field?

As I started to say before, the etiquette behind LinkedIN in quite different from that of most other social media outlets. With LinkedIN it’s acceptable to reach out to a stranger to seek a connection (after all, that’s what you do at a networking event or a job fair, right?), or to ask them if they would like to be your mentor.

Picture of Dwight from The Office with captioning that says

Talent Brand Meme

Companies are presently and more so in the future putting use to the internet while scanning and surveying recruits. So the person who is not actively networking themselves could potentially miss out on an untold number of opportunities. With a plethora of information and interconnections for job seekers on the internet it is hard to believe that anyone would not consider utilizing these resources.

For more information on LinkedIN, check out The Career Center’s Career Road Map: Journey 4, which has LinkedIN Graduate Guides and developmental information on Personal Branding.

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Why Are You Here? Building a Future Foundation

-Luke Faith

The reason us college students invest our time and energy into college is not just to be employable; we dedicate ourselves to obtaining our ideal occupation or a career. That means that we are committed to making our future more valuable in perspective. College grads want to land at least an entry-level position, which would then hopefully lead to promotion or advancement.

It is widely known that a college degree does not equal a career. In fact, in 2014 The National Center for Colleges and Employers (NACE) announced, “The employment rate for young adult’s ages 20 to 24 with a bachelor’s degree or higher was higher than the rate for young adults with some college.” There are a number of factors that cause a high unemployment rate, such as the recent recessions, globalization, international competitors, and much more. However, there’s better news for upcoming alumni. NACE declared that in 2015, based off their survey results, employers “expect to hire more new college graduates than they did in 2014.”



So in order to build a foundation for the future let’s hunt down these new opportunities, seniors! Consider it crucial to begin applying for jobs as early as or before your senior year.  Larger employers start their recruitment processes in the fall semester of the year they want to hire for (for example, let’s say I am graduating in May of this year. Companies are more likely to start looking to hire soon-to-be grads like me now so that I am hired and ready to start in May when I get my degree).

If you’re starting your internship search, remember that it is very common for employers to hire their interns for full-time opportunities if their skills and abilities display value to the company.

Disclaimer: this is dependent on each company, your work skills and values, and if they have room to bring interns on to a full-time career-related status (sorry if I got your hopes up).



So gaining employment after college usually requires more than just the education you get. Employers want to see experience, skills, abilities, which may be part of the reason less graduates are entering careers. This morning Fox News Chicago put a quiz up before a commercial break that said that a college degree was the most expensive thing that about 40% of people have but do not use.

Theoretically, a lack of experience or knowledge can cause you to miss out on opportunities, or cause you to be a part of the statistic reported by Fox News. The solution is to get experience. Experience can be obtained in many ways- check out my previous blog with tips on how to gain experience.



For employers, the ideal candidate for any position should, beyond their field expertise, have some average interpersonal and analytical skills. The NACE’s Job Outlook Survey lists five traits that employers look for. Those being:

  • Ability to make decisions and solve problems
  • Ability to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization
  • Ability to obtain and process information
  • Ability to plan, organize, and prioritize work
  • Ability to analyze quantitative data


To summarize this week’s blog, gaining skills and experience should strongly contribute to a career if you, as a job seeker, take the initiative do obtain those items. Start soon! No, don’t start soon. Start now! I could sound like a broken record for you, if you want, and tell you that the earlier you start, the better, no matter your class level, but I will save that for later. Taking advantage of the numerous programs and events that The Career Centers of the North Central and Calumet campuses will help you, regardless of what your concerns are, who you are, or what you’re looking for.



Why should you consider taking the steps towards a job search before you finish your college experience? There is always competition. Putting yourself out there as early as possible allows for you to weigh out options and leaves extra time if you do not immediately receive offers. Surely employers would be impressed by someone who is very ambitious about their job search and they will at least consider you for an interview. Always remember there is competition in the job market. Your education, skills, qualifications, and initiative are not the only factors, yet they are all extremely important. Think about what you bring to the table for an employer and how you can bring more, before you even start with that company.

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