Make sure you dress in business attire and show up early for an interview, in case you have to fill out any advance paperwork. *AFP photo
Make sure you dress in business attire and show up early for an interview, in case you have to fill out any advance paperwork. *AFP photo

It’s almost the summer and that means it’s time to gear up for interviews and summer jobs. 

Summer employment and intern programmes are always a good way to get your foot in the door, to be able to network, gain experience, and figure out what industry piques your interest the most.  During a summer job, don’t be afraid to ask questions.  

You will find that your co-workers are generally open and willing to help students advance.

If you know someone in the industry you are pursuing, take the initiative and ask that person to lunch/ coffee to discuss career paths/opportunities for yourself.  

How did they get where they are today? What were their goals back then and what are their new goals now? Discuss appropriate additional education/designations to pursue after college/university.  Remember that senior professionals won’t always have time to hold your hand, so when you do get ‘face time’ with them, be prepared with specific questions.  

Finally, apply early! Don’t wait until you have finished your last day of school.

As an HR professional, I have had the pleasure of interviewing countless individuals at various stages of their careers.  

From entry-level positions to the C-suite, there are certain tips that everyone should take to heart when interviewing for a new position. 

My top tips are below:

• Always dress in business attire, you can never be too formal for an interview.

• Research the company you are interviewing for.

• Show up approximately 10 minutes before your scheduled interview.  You never know if you will have forms to complete beforehand, and managers always want the interview to start on time.

• Bring copies of your resume/references (shows you are prepared/organized).

• Come with questions — remember you are also interviewing the company to see if they will be a good fit for you.

• Some people are naturally extroverted and must consider whether they should tone it down during the interview.   On the other hand, if you tend to be introverted, think about how to show enthusiasm, and avoid making the interviewer have to pull the answers out of you.

• Practise beforehand.  There are general interview questions everyone asks; know your responses in advance.

• Make sure your cell phone is turned off completely, not on vibrate.

• Send a thank you e-mail following your interview.

• It is appropriate to send a follow-up e-mail a week or two after your interview to see where the interview process is and to reconfirm your interest in the position; however, weekly e-mail updates will not score you additional points.

• If you receive a confirmation e-mail with details about where to go for your interview, be sure to read it carefully beforehand and locate the building in advance. Don’t call while you are on your way to the interview for exact directions.

• Make sure there are no gaps in your resume.  If you do have gaps, then explain on the resume and make sure the dates you have listed tie in from one job to the next.

• Keep your resume simple and easy to read, no more than two pages, and check for spelling and grammatical errors.

• When applying unsolicited (i.e., not for an advertised position), make it clear what role/career you are looking for; don’t make the HR person do the work.

During the summer, remember that it only takes one summer experience for a company to see your potential.  

If you are given that opportunity, treat it as a real job. 

It could open up many other doors for you later down the road. 

Show up for work on time, dress as per company dress code, return from lunch on time, keep personal phone calls minimal, ask for additional tasks if you have completed your work, and don’t surf the internet.  

If you don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to ask questions so you can complete the task correctly.  Most of all, remember that summer employment is an opportunity for you to determine your professional path in life.  

Given that we spend more than 40 hours a week in the office, pursue something you are passionate about.  

When you love your job, you will never ‘work’ a day in your life. 

Nicole Correia is the human resources manager for Allied World Bermuda.