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Innovative interviewing strategies for CTE students, graduates

4 min read

Career-Technical Education

As part of SmartBrief Education’s coverage of Path to Workforce, we’ve teamed with the Association for Career and Technical Education to share CTE articles written by educators, for educators. This blog post also helps us recognize national CTE Month.

We all know that  interviewing for a job can be intimidating. Here, 2015 ACTE New Teacher of the Year Eric Mathews breaks-down top interviewing skills for CTE students.

Interview strategies are a combination of preparation for the interview, behavior during and after the interview, as well as follow-up. Each of these strategies are equally important in the interview process.

I often tell my students, preparing for an interview can be daunting because you may not be aware of the kinds of questions that will be asked or how long the interview will take. However, a good attitude and professionalism can give you an edge. Candidates should always be confident in their ability to do the job they are interviewing for, but not arrogant.

Arriving on time for an interview is a must, since it is indicative of your professionalism and respect for the hiring manager. Conducting research on the company prior to interviewing conveys a genuine interest in the position. Reviewing the company’s website can accomplish this. Finally, sharing with the employer your enthusiasm for the position will separate you from the competition.

A good resume is a critical aspect of the job search. It is your first point of contact with a potential employer. Candidates often make one very common mistake when updating their resume. Be sure to edit or delete obsolete information so that your resume will not become cluttered and unattractive. Employers will not want to sort through excess and unnecessary information.

When updating your resume, make sure you focus on your accomplishments, and not just ordinary responsibilities. You want to show an employer what competencies you have acquired to meet their business objectives. These accomplishments should be summarized in bullet format, highlighting your contributions. Hiring managers are busy and want easy access to information that show how you can contribute to the business’ bottom-line.

Regarding career and technical education students, it is critical to have well developed resumes. Although many CTE students may not have much job experience, they can highlight extracurricular activities and volunteer experience. Many employers will scan CTE students’ resumes for accurate content and grammatical errors. CTE students should be concerned with developing superior writing skills, or have someone with these skills review their resume.

As a former human resources director, I believe thank-you notes are essential to the job search process. It gives a candidate the edge over other candidates who may not have sent a thank-you note. Regarding my marketing education program at Akron Public Schools, I have stressed to my students the importance of writing a thank-you note, after they interview with a company.

I would also recommend that candidates send thank-you notes within 24 hours and no later than two days after the interview. Keep the thank-you note brief. The letter should be personalized, including specific titles of people in the interview and any significant notes about the conversation. The content of the letter should include thanking the interviewer for their time and reiterating your qualifications for the position. Although mailing a thank-you note is still appropriate, it is also acceptable to sent it in an email.

For implementation of these interview strategies, utilize your advisory board to conduct mock interview sessions. They are the industry experts and can provide candid feedback for your CTE students. I hope you find these strategies in this post beneficial to your job search.

Eric Mathews is a marketing education instructor at Akron Public Schools, in Ohio,  and the 2015 ACTE New Teacher of the Year.

This article also appears on ACTE’s Educators in Action blog.

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