Preparing for Your First Job


Index for this page 

Career Action Plan

Does an Interview Have You Stressed?

Mock Interview Process

Understanding and Preparing for the Interview Process

Skills Employers Want

Job Search

Social Presence

Contact Us


Preparing for your first career position begins as you start your college career. Follow this checklist each year to be sure you are preparing for your career both inside and outside the classroom. 


Does an Interview Have You Stressed?

A reality for every college student is that they will face an interview. Whether you are applying for a part-time job, a full time job, a student organization, or a graduate program, interviews can play a vital part in achieving your goal. No matter what you are interviewing for, it is the best chance you will have to sell yourself.

So why should you participate in the Career Planning and Development Mock Interview Program? Practice makes perfect! Interviews are often stressful and the practice a mock interview provides can help build your confidence and tear down that anxiety. Also, a mock interview is a great way to get the “kinks” out prior to the real thing. After all, you want to do your best.

Mock Interview Process

  • Set up an appointment with the Career Center
    (Let us know what you are applying for so we can tailor our questions to your needs)
  • Allot 1 hour for the entire process
  • Bring in your resume and be on time
  • Dress the part

Call us at (256) 765-4276 or fill out the contact form for us to reach you.



Most employers would prefer a student with a 3.0 grade point average who has experience from internships, part-time jobs, volunteer activities, community service and/or extracurricular activities than a student with a 4.0 who was not involved while going to college. Each year the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) publish a top ten list of skills/qualities employers seek. Below is the ranked order list. 

  1. Ability to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization.
  2. Ability to work in a team structure.
  3. Ability to make decisions and solve problems.
  4. Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work. 
  5. Ability to obtain and process information.
  6. Ability to analyze quantitative data.
  7. Technical knowledge related to the job.
  8. Proficiency with computer software program.
  9. Ability to create and/or edit written reports.
  10. Ability to sell or influence others.

The skill that employers report as lacking the most is the ability to communicate effectively in both written and oral form. Employers also report that a majority of new hires lack initiative. Some students have a difficult time grasping the concept of initiative and what it really means. It's important for students to understand that initiative means going above and beyond the call of duty. Employers love when students do more than is expected of them, see a need and meet it, and who not wait to be told every move they need to make. You can play an important role in encouraging your student to be this type of employee.  


There is no quick, easy way to find a job. You should expect to put a considerable amount of time into identifying opportunities. Research your field of interest thoroughly and develop a list of all potential employers. Consider all employment sectors including businesses, government, and nonprofit organizations. Once you’ve compiled that list, individually research each employer and familiarize yourself with the procedures for applying for positions. 




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