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How To Avoid These 5 Common Interview Mistakes

As college students, one of the most annoying, complicated and downright terrifying questions someone can ask us is: “What are you doing after graduation?” Most of us don’t even know what we’re having for breakfast tomorrow, let alone what we’re doing for the rest of our lives. On top of having to decide what kind of job we want, there’s the even more daunting challenge of actually landing it.

Enter Jane Buckingham, president and founder of consumer insights firm Trendera, author of The Modern Girl’s Guide to Life series and, most recently, a job expert on ABC Family’s “Job or No Job.”

On the show, Buckingham works with millennials to land them their dream jobs, or at least trains them to do so. Guiding them through three job interviews, Buckingham coaches these young college graduates on nailing perhaps the scariest part of the job search– the interview.

In an exclusive interview with Buckingham, College Living gained so much insight on how to succeed (or completely tank) in the job search, that we’re launching a series of how-to’s, tips, secrets and more from Buckingham. Up first: Buckingham’s Top 5 Interview “Don’ts” and how to avoid them.


5. Don’t say you’re an “idea person”

Though some may think this is a great character trait, Buckingham points out that it is your boss’ job to be the idea person; they need you to carry out those ideas. It is another general personal statement that really doesn’t say much about you.

4. Don't forget to do your research

Regardless if you are applying to three jobs or three hundred, you should always tailor your resume, cover letter and interview to each specific job. Especially in the interview, you should demonstrate your knowledge of specific details of that company, such as their strengths and weaknesses, competitors and upcoming events. “Don’t forget that that company is really special to all the people who work there, so know really specific things about it,” Buckingham said.

3. Don't be too casual

This could range anywhere from you attire to your language. Never forget that your interviewer is your potential boss, and no matter how casual the workplace is, you need to show that you know how to be professional. “In a million years I wouldn’t expect to have to say in the top five, don’t curse in an interview, but now I feel like I need to say it,” Buckingham said, noting that already two of her “Job or No Job” candidates have made this grave mistake.

2. Don’t forget your resume (and extras)

What seems to be a no-brainer has actually become necessary to mention. Perhaps because of the world’s growing dependence on technology, many millennials aren’t bringing hard copies of their resumes into interviews. However, most potential employers still want that hard copy, even if it is just to reference it during the interview.

1. Don’t say you’re a “people person”

This is an extremely common moniker that Needs. To. End. Think about it– pretty much any job ever requires at least an ounce of people skills. If you have to point out that you like to work with other humans, your interviewer will probably roll their eyes because you can’t some up with anything more original. As Buckingham puts it: “Unless you want to work in a morgue, chances are you like people.


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