Top 20 Entry-Level Job Interview Questions and Answers

Congratulations on getting an interview, it’s no minor feat! It’s important to remember that the employer will be far less forgiving in an entry-level job interview than in an internship interview. Hiring a full-time employee is much riskier than hiring an intern for the summer. So come well rested, prepared, and as relaxed as you possibly can.

We’ve compiled a list of the top 20 entry-level interview questions and answers to help you prepare to land your first job after. They fall into the following categories:

Pro Tip: visit this page on your phone to turn these questions into flash cards for practicing!

Select a topic to navigate to related interview questions and view their answers.


The Core 5 Interview Questions

You’re guaranteed to get asked these questions.

1. Tell me about yourself.

This question is often used to break the ice and see how personable you can be. Be careful not to drone on endlessly for this question. It’s easy to get caught up in your back story and lose track of time. A safe answer is to give a brief overview that covers where you grew up, where you went to school, why you chose your major, any internship experience you have, and why you’re applying for this job.

2. What are your strengths? Your weaknesses?

To answer this question you need to do some introspection. Ask your friends, family, and any previous coworkers what they how they view your strengths and weaknesses. Prepare to discuss at least 3 strengths and 3 weaknesses. Stay away from clichés like “perfectionist” and “workaholic” as they can be interpreted as weaknesses. Own up to your faults. Everyone has them. Just be honest and open to improving yourself.

3. Give me an example or a situation in which…

These questions are not only used to determine what you learned from a particular experience, but also to assess how you would respond to potential workplace scenarios and situations. Prepare to talk about 3 scenarios in which you faced conflict or difficulty in either work or school, had difficulty with either a supervisor or peer, and a leadership opportunity or a project you are particularly proud of.

4. Tell me about this (class / internship) I see on your resume?

The good news here is that nobody knows and understands your experiences better than you, so you should be confident for this question. This is a great opportunity for you to sell yourself. A good framework for your answers is to explain the goals for any class or internship, cover your personal responsibilities in any projects, and discuss the outcomes. Again, avoid droning on for too long about any particular experience and wrap things up concisely.

5. What are your longer-term career goals (or where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years)?

There is no “right answer” to this question and it’s certainly ok to say that you don’t have any. However, be prepared to explain why you don’t have any. One solid strategy is to downplay your career goals and aspirations (you are young after all) and play up your interest in the company and industry of the job you’re applying for. Showcase your passion to be a part of whatever it is they are doing.

Entry-Level Specific Interview Questions

Questions specific to the nature of entry-level jobs.

1. Why are you interested in this role?

Stating a clear and concise answer here is crucial. The employer is looking to see that you are interested and ready to invest your time into such an opportunity. Be specific about your goals and expectations, discuss how you believe your qualifications are in-line with those required of the position, and be ready to explain why you chose this particular company when applying.

2. What do you know about our company?

Researching the company or organization you are applying to is an integral part of the application process, and this question is an evaluation of whether or not you have already done such an essential task. Prepare to answer questions regarding the origins of the company/organization, their current activities, and their objectives for the future.

Failing to have any knowledge of the company/organization you are applying for will appear to be indicative of a lack of interest or commitment to the application, and to the position itself, whether or not that was your actual intention.

3. How has your internship experience prepared you for the position you’re applying to?

If you don’t have internship experience, feel free to skip this one, as they probably won’t ask it. Otherwise, if your internship experience was directly relevant to the current role you’re applying for (i.e. the same general work), your answer should focus on the specifics of the internship work. Otherwise, it’s wise to focus on any experience you had working on a team, meeting deadlines, and communicating effectively.

4. What classwork has best prepared you for this role?

If you have group project experience, highlight it now. Focus on your role on a team and how you know how to be a team player. If there are classes with specific knowledge that directly prepared you for this role, you’re in luck, that’s another easy answer to this question.

5. How would you assess your writing and communication skills?

This is not a question that mid or senior-level applicants ever get asked. Writing and communication in school is very different from that in the professional world and the employer is checking to make sure you know the difference. If you’ve had experience communicating with full-time employees in your internship, let them know. Otherwise, hammer home the point that you know how to write clearly, concisely, and respectfully.

Academic or Interest-Related Interview Questions

Questions to assess your passion and motivation.

1. Why did you choose the major that you did?

You probably didn’t make a snap decision to major in your major. You likely chose it because you found it interesting, challenging, or thought it would lead to a promising career. The only key to answering this question is knowing why you chose your major and communicating that reasoning clearly. Be honest, even if your reasoning doesn’t seem interesting. It’s better to be honest to yourself and the employer up front than attempt to tell them what you think they want to hear.

2. What were some of your favorite/least favorite classes? Why?

Don’t just give a list of your classes or answer with something generic about how you liked all of them. Be opinionated here and honest. Try and stick to classes you enjoyed because they were stimulating or challenging and avoid saying that you enjoyed a class because it was easy or because you did well in it. The employer wants to see what piques your interest in your measure. They’re evaluating your ability to be genuine and passionate about things.

3. What activities do you do outside of work or school?

Employers like to see that you are engaged in other activities that are either indirectly or directly related to the skills required for the position you are applying for, but it isn’t a necessity. The most important part of this question is to be able to demonstrate that you have a life outside of work, and are invested in and passionate about experiencing new things.

4. How would your past professors or managers describe you?

It’s best to start answering this question with a clarification that you can’t known for certain how they would describe you. Start broad and cover as a whole how you think your previous supervisors or professors have viewed you. This is similar to the strengths and weaknesses question. Then, once you’ve stated broadly how you think you’re viewed, give a few specific examples. It’s best if you can demonstrate through examples (e.g. projects) why a professor or previous manager would say these things.

5. Have you worked any part-time jobs?

Part-time jobs are a major advantage when applying for a job. Over 80% of students have worked a part-time job by the time they graduate. It’s been shown again and again that students with part-time work experience do better in the work place. If you have some part-time job experience, highlight it here. One way to nail this question would be to talk about learning to work on a team, in a professional environment, and communicate with fellow employees. If you don’t have experience, a simple ‘no’ will do here.

Situational Interview Questions

Questions about your past behavior in certain situations to see how you react and learn from previous experiences.

1. Give me an example of a time in which you handled a looming deadline.

How well do you perform under pressure? That’s what the employer is trying to understand. Don’t be afraid to show your weakness here. This, like most situational questions, is trying to get at what you learned or took away from a past situation. Admit your weaknesses and how you’d handle them differently. Then highlight your strengths. Fortunately, you’ve probably had lots of recent experience with tight deadlines in your classes.

2. Give me an example of a time when you worked on a team. What was your role?

Your ability to collaborate and communicate with a team are probably the most important professional soft skills that you can have. Prepare for this by having some specific examples ready from when you worked on a group project. You don’t have to choose a group project where you were the team lead. What’s more important is that you knew your role on a team and that you performed well in your role. If that was a leadership role, great. If not, no worries. If you have examples of how you established or tweaked processes or mediated conflict within the team, use them.

3. Describe a situation where you taught a concept to a co-worker or classmate.

You’ve just spent a lot of time learning from professors and in groups, so you might not think of yourself as a teacher. However, the more knowledge you accumulate, the more likely it is that you’ll be teaching things in the future. It’s best to be specific if you can, and focus on an example from a group project at school or in a previous job. Focus primarily on how you communicated with the person and ensured that they were learning. Don’t focus so much on what you taught them, but rather on how you taught them.

4. Describe a time where you disagreed with a coworker or teammate on a project.

Disagreement is natural. The employer isn’t trying to assess your ability to debate, or even to know whether you’re right or wrong. What they want to know is at the end of the day, can you reach a consensus and move forward. Disagreement is good as long as it doesn’t prevent good work and progress from being made. Being able to resolve differences and move forward is a critical skill that all employers are looking for.

5. Describe a situation in which someone critiqued your work. How did you respond?

You’re (hopefully) going to get lots of feedback in any new job. How you take that feedback and what you do with it will often determine whether or not you keep the job. If you’re not willing to listen to feedback (even if you think it’s wrong) and attempt to address concerns, you likely won’t do well in many professional environments. To answer this question, try and find a situation where someone not only critiqued you, but a situation where you disagreed with that critique. Attempt to demonstrate how you still listened to the critique, voiced your own opinion, and did your best to understand where the critiquer was coming from. Show that you have the capacity to listen and change your behavior.

What’s Next

Now that you’ve got the top 20 questions down, you’re gonna nail that interview and get the job. Well, at least we hope you do! Next, check out some tips we have on evaluating entry-level job fit.

Once you’ve got the job, come check out our tips on starting your entry-level job off right and setting great entry-level job goals.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is an Entry-Level Job? and find answers to common interview questions such as Tell me about yourself.

How to Use a Blog to Apply for An Internship

Writing a blog post on why you would like to work at a company is a brilliant way to stand out. A blog post application serves two purposes:

1.) It demonstrates that you understand and know how to use important online marketing and communication tools.

2.) The medium itself allows you to express a voice and excitement for a company in a manner that is much stronger and more powerful than a traditional cover letter.

There are two easy to use services for writing a blog post on — Tumblr and WordPress!

Tumblr
takes only a few seconds to setup and is built to allow to get applying quickly.

WordPress
is more customizable, a little more complex to setup, but has a ton of additional tools and features to help you standout.  It is also more commonly used by companies so is more helpful in teaching you the right skills when applying for a marketing or communications role.

Inspiration:

This blog post by Lisa Petrilli explains 4 ways your blog can succeed in making you standout and offers additional insight on why this strategy can be effective.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is an Internship? and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?

The Importance of Location in Your Entry-Level Job Search

In general, recent grads that are looking for their first job fall into 3 major categories when it comes to location preferences:

  1. You’re willing to go anywhere. The world is your oyster after all.
  2. You’re open to several locations but not willing to work just anywhere.
  3. You have strict location requirements. Gotta stay close to home, your boo, or whatever it is.

You location preferences are one of the primary determining factors in your search for your first job after college. You may really want that amazing non-profit gig in NYC, but if you really need to stick close to home it’s not going to do you much good to spend time wishing it was local.

Willing to Go Anywhere

If you’re willing to go anywhere, you’ve got plenty of options. In fact, the primary difficulty is in narrowing your location options to those that interest you. Even though you’re open to re-locating, that doesn’t mean that you should be willing to move absolutely anywhere.

The location of your job has a dramatic impact on how enjoyable and satisfying your job is. Particularly your first job. If you really can’t stand winter but move to Chicago to take the job there anyways, you might find yourself resenting the job all winter long. It’s important to prioritize your search efforts to focus on the locations that are most likely to bring you joy first. If you can’t find the right types of positions there, then broaden your search.

When considering the viability of a location you don’t know about, it’s important to do proper and thorough research. Here are some critical factors to consider when learning about a location for the first time:

  1. The weather. How do you deal with winter? Heat?
  2. Red state vs blue state. Knowing the political leaning of your location will help you fit in ideologically.
  3. The average age of the population. You’re young and likely want to make young friends. Don’t move to Palm Springs (sorry Palm Springs).
  4. Travel to and from the location. You’re likely going to have friends and family elsewhere if you re-locate. How easy and expensive is it to get to and from them?
  5. The local activities. What do the local folks do outside of work? Hike? Eat? Dance? Theater?
  6. The commute. You’re likely going to be making the same trip every day. What will it look like?

Open to Some New Locations

If you fall under this umbrella, congrats, you’re well on your way to an easier job search process. You don’t have too many options nor do you have too few. The trick is going to be quickly figuring out whether or not the location requirements you have align with your job interests. For example, if you really want to get into theater as a performer and eventually make it to Broadway, you’re probably not going to find the best opportunities in a small rural community.

Once you know the several locations you’re targeting, head over to some major job search sites like WayUp
to run a search for jobs in a particular location. Then sign up for job alerts by email for that location. You should start getting notified by email when new jobs pop up in your desired location. This way you don’t have to spend time constantly running the same job searches on multiple sites.

It’s also imperative to weigh the relative attractiveness of the locations you’re considering. For example, say that you know that you want to be on the west coast in a city. You’re attracted to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. It’s important to research each city and prioritize them. The stricter you can be about your preferences in every dimension of your job search, the smoother your search will be.

Strict Location Requirements

Recent grads with strict job location requirements often either have it fairly easy or really tough. If you’re looking for a theater job and you have to be in NYC, then there’s already great alignment between your interests and your required location. However, if you’re looking for a theater job and you don’t want to go far from your home in Fargo, you likely have a major uphill battle.

When looking for entry-level employment in a single location there are several specific tools that can help you right off the bat. First, head over to major job search sites like WayUp to search for jobs and create job alerts by email for that location. This way, you see every job that pops up in that location. Ideally, you set your filters for entry-level jobs only so you don’t have to comb through endless part-time and senior-level roles. Second, leverage the career resources available in that location. If you’re looking in the same city as where you attended college, head on over to the career center.

Career centers often partner with local businesses looking for great entry-level talent.
Otherwise, check out the city’s official website. There will often be lots of helpful advice on gaining employment in that particular location.

Location is critical when searching for entry-level jobs. Make sure you don’t underestimate just how impactful the right location can be on achieving success in your first job after college. We’ve got other great tips to
help you get started on your entry-level job search and land an entry-level job without any experience.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is an Entry-Level Job? and find answers to common interview questions such as Tell me about yourself.

Internship Interview: Questions and Answers

Got five minutes? Great! Here are the top five questions you should be prepared to answer before any internship interview. The art of interviewing well includes knowing how to respond to the most popular types of interview questions.

If you feel nervous about being interviewed, we encourage you to practice answering the following foundational questions. Remember, you initially took the time to prepare an outstanding application (which got you to this stage in the first place) so continue this trend and take the time to prepare for the interview.

Of course, please take more than five minutes to actually prepare for your interview.  Practice the answers to these questions—in fact, master them:

1. Tell me about yourself?

The interviewer’s intent of asking this question is to get to know you. Your goal, however, is for the interviewer to remember you. Be brief by keeping answers to 60 seconds or less. One way of doing this is to open up by introducing where you are from and by directly stating what you are currently doing (student or working professional). Proceed to discuss your academic of professional interests and list 1-3 past experiences supporting your interests. Conclude by stating the reason(s) for applying to the internship.

2.  What are your strengths and weaknesses?

The intent of this question is to learn more about your competencies and your motivation to improve your weak ones. Prepare to discuss at least 3 strengths and 3 weaknesses.

Most candidates get nervous at the thought of divulging weaknesses. After all, isn’t stating a weakness a bad thing?  It actually is not if you are choosing to do something about. Herein lies the strategy; first, stay away from cliché and ineffective answers such as “perfectionist” or “workaholic.” Second, always follow a statement about a weakness with a statement describing what you are doing to improve upon it.

For instance, if you have struggled in the past with public speaking, you could state, “However, by learning to collaborate within smaller teams and joining leadership positions on campus, I am learning to give speeches and short announcements to larger crowds…”

Also remember that the lack of experience in a given field can be a weakness but that transferable skills or experience may make up for it. For instance, “While I have never worked in a marketing position for a large nonprofit, I have taken classes in nonprofit management and I have volunteered for political campaigns where I learned to develop targeted messages.”

3.  Give me an example or a situation in which…

The intent of this question is to understand how you would respond to situational or work-place situations. By asking questions about your past, the interviewer may try to predict how you would handle and resolve future workplace situations, from deadlines to interacting with coworkers.

Individual questions vary, but typically, you should prepare at least 3 scenarios to cover any of these questions: (1) a situation in which you faced a conflict or difficulty at work or in school; (2) a situation in which you may have had difficulty with a supervisor, co-worker, or peer; and (3) a leadership opportunity or a project you were most proud of.

Where do you find examples?  Look at your resume. Remember, you can use also use experiences from school or from other prior internships or work.

To answer such questions, use a variation of the “STAR” technique: answer the question by retelling the situation
and stating the task at hand that was involved in the situation. Then describe how you acted (the action). End by revealing the results of your actions and how you resolved the situation. Using the STAR technique will keep your answers relevant and succinct.

4.  Let’s go over your resume (and what’s not on it).

The purpose of this question is to see how you discuss past educational and professional experiences. Seize this opportunity to successfully market yourself. An interviewer may start by going over your resume but end by asking you to provide more details on a variety of topics, whether it’s a project you’ve collaborated on, the time gaps in between jobs, and class subjects you enjoyed or least enjoyed.

This question is a big reason why you should know your resume inside and out. Aside from sounding confident and prepared, you will sound professional. So know your resume like the back of your hand. One strategy to help you highlight certain parts of your resume to the interviewer would be to prepare an “interview resume” to bring to the actual interview. This is a resume that has been slightly marked up with your notes. These notes could be extra information or qualities that are relevant to the internship description. If permitted, pull out the resume at the beginning of your interview so you can have your notes in front of you at all times.

5. What are your career goals (a.k.a. where do you see yourself in ___ years)?

Interviewers usually pose this question because they may be interested in knowing how serious you are in pursuing a given academic or professional field. In an internship context, this question should compel you to dig down and think about your career interests in the long term: Are you planning to go back to graduate school? Are you interested in gaining a few years of actual real-world experience? Would you like to work as a full-time staff member of an organization similar to the one you are applying for? There is no “right answer” but you do have to provide one that is insightful in that you have a plan to keep building your professional skills after your internship. Who knows, maybe your organization would like to know if you would be available for a permanent position after you complete your internship. And in that case, how you answer this becomes all the more important.

There you have it. To sum up, thoroughly prepare your answers on these 5 basic questions. In fact, have a friend drill you to help keep your answers brief and avoid rambling. Talk to a mirror. Repeat the answers in the shower.  Write your answers down and keep studying at it. The results: a successful interview and newfound confidence in your ability to interview well.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 6 Ways to Impress Your Boss and find answers to common interview questions such as What Are Your Strengths?

How to Get A Great Letter of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation can make or break your ability to get hired. Even if your qualifications are excellent, if your referrals are non existent or negative your chances of finding employment are slim. That said, there are several things you can do to help insure that good references follow your employment trail, and are accessible to potential employers.

1.Identify the right references

If you have no work history or if you are asked for personal references, do not use family or peer group friends. If you feel that one of your parent’s friends knows you well you might consider using them.  Teachers, councilors, TAs and coaches could make strong personal references. But, don’t forget to ask them first.

2. Always ask permission of the person you hope to use as a reference.Never just assume they will say yes.

They may feel uncomfortable talking about you for reasons you may not even guess at. Some companies even have policies that prohibit their employees from saying anything but a confirmation of your employment and the dates of your employment.

3. Help them out.

You may want to list some skills, accomplishments or character traits that you think would apply and send the list to your references for their use. Also include the dates of your employment. Sometimes, people can be busy or distracted or forgetful and it is helpful for them to have a list in front of them when they write or talk about you. If they disagree with something you have put on the list, they can always leave it out.

4. If possible, obtain a letter of recommendation before you leave your internship or job.

You can ask for the referral during the all important exit interview or anytime before you leave.  What you don’t want is for your boss to move on from the company and disappear into the mist at some later date without a way for you to contact them.

5. Conduct an exit interview.

(See the section on how to conduct your exit). The exit interview will be a good opportunity to go over the company’s expectations and how they were met or exceeded by your accomplishments. You, also, will have refreshed their memory about how wonderful you are so they can say some very nice things about you.

6. Don’t burn any bridges upon leaving.

If you want to leave recommendations for change then do so carefully and with tact. Limit your discussion to issues that might make the next intern’s experience even better. Never, ever complain about any individual or incident, and make sure that you make any suggestions positive in tone and content.

7. You might consider having your boss’s recommendations posted on a professional networking site or on Facebook.

Such a site allows you have the references for public view for all of posterity. If you don’t like what someone says about you, you can simply erase it.

8. You do not need to say “references available upon request” on your resume or cover letter.

Employers know they can ask for them. If the references are available on a professional network, however, you could mention that in your cover letter and supply the specific link to your specific reference page.

9. Keep in touch.

If you worked for a company that refuses to give a reference because it is against company policy, do not despair. It is often possible to contact an employee after they have left the company and get a reference then.  Make sure you keep up with your boss or colleagues so you know where and when to reach them.

10. Don’t ask for references from someone who may give you a negative review.

A negative review from a reference can look really bad. This is someone you have hand selected as able to attest to your strong characteristics as a worker and a person. Make sure your references are coming from someone you can trust, who has openly commended you in the past, and ideally someone who has willingly offered to be a reference

11. Keep a list of five references handy so they can be quickly and easily emailed to a prospective employer.

Most interviewers want a list of three but you don’t want anything held up if a reference is out of town or for some reason is unreachable. Include in the list:

  1. Their name
  2. Their position (and current position)
  3. The company  (and their current company, if they have left)
  4. Their professional relationship to you (ex. The person you reported to.)
  5. Their contact information…email and phone

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 6 Do’s and Don’ts of Video Interviews and find answers to common interview questions such as Tell Me About Yourself.

San Diego Summer Internship Guide

Settled on San Diego as your summer internship destination? That’s great because you have chosen to be in one of the most beautiful cities in America. San Diego is the land of sun kissed beaches, surfer dudes and some of the most laid back people on earth. It’s the California that everybody dreams about.

Of course, just because the beach is always at most a 10 minute drive away doesn’t mean San Diegans are all slackers. Quite the contrary, as the top biotech and life science cluster in the country and home to the largest naval fleet in the world, San Diegans embody the ethos of “work hard, party hard.”

At WayUp, we want you to get the most out of your summer in San Diego so we took the time to create an Internship City Guide that gives you a crash course in navigating the city. The guide covers everything from transportation and networking opportunities to things that only seasoned locals would know.

See our housing guide for a full breakdown of neighborhoods and summer housing resources.

Exploring San Diego

The hardest part about going to the beach in San Diego is deciding which one to go to as there are just so many. Always wanted to learn how to surf? Head on to Pacific Beach to grab some waves and maybe a beer afterwards at one of the area’s many bars. If you prefer a quiet beach, check out Black’s beach where there are tide pools to explore and play in, however, beware of wandering too far north as it becomes a nude beach.


*Local Tip: High above Black’s Beach is a place UCSD students refer to as “the cliffs.” Boasting magnificent views of the coast below, this is one of San Diego’s best kept secrets. The hard to spot entrance is on Whitecliff Dr. and La Jolla Farms Rd.

In addition to the beach, San Diego’s outdoors also offers great hiking trails. The Mount Woodson Trail
or better known as the “Potato Chip Rock Hike” offers great views and a photo opportunity at the summit. For something less strenuous, take a walk along the Sunset Cliffs at Ocean Beach, rumored to be the best place to watch the sunset in San Diego.

If you are in the city, the world famous San Diego Zoo is not to be missed. After the zoo, check out the surrounding museums in Balboa Park. Head to sea and climb aboard a decommissioned aircraft carrier at the USS Midway museum. If you time it right, you can catch a Padres game after all that museum learning before ending your day at a classy restaurant in the historic Glasslamp Quarter.

*Local Tip: On your way out of the city, consider attending a late night improv show at the
National Comedy Theatre.

Getting Around San Diego: Transportation

San Diego, like all of Southern California is an automotive city; expect your mobility to be severely limited without a car. Parking in San Diego is a pretty easy affair, there is a lot of parking and the lot prices are affordable.

Public transit in the form of buses is slow and often not on time. The trolley system is better than the bus system but mainly serves downtown San Diego. For frequent users of public transit, a prepaid Compass Card is a must and can be easily bought in a variety of ways.

Local Food and Drink Spots

San Diegans take food very seriously and it shows by the large number of world class restaurants in the city.

A short list of must try places include Truluck’s, a seafood restaurant in La Jolla that was named the “Best of the best” by San Diego magazine. Normally, it’s a bit pricey for an intern’s salary, but if you go during happy hour it’s quite affordable. If you want a great view with your meal go to George’s at the Cove in downtown La Jolla, where you can look over the beach while enjoying a reasonably priced lunch that serves the best that California farms have to offer. A stay in San Diego is not complete without a visit to Phil’s BBQ, hands down the most famous restaurant in San Diego.

Taco Tuesday

Every Tuesday, Mexican restaurants in San Diego offer highly discounted tacos. $2 can get you a fish taco, the local favorite and if you feel like splurging a little, give the lobster taco a try. The most popular destinations for Taco Tuesday are World Famous and South Beach Bar and Grille. Arrive early at (around 5pm), if you do not want to wait 30 minutes or more to be seated.

*Local Tip: Oscar’s Mexican Seafood, a hole in the wall taco shack in Pacific Beach serves a better fish taco than any of the previously mentioned destinations. In addition, it’s located near Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, which serves the best coffee in San Diego.

Breweries

San Diego has perhaps the largest concentration of independent brewers in the country. The most well-known brewery in the area is Karl Strauss, which has multiple brewery restaurant locations. Every Thursday is cask night at Karl Strauss, where you can try an unique cask conditioned ale that is not available at any other time, in addition, the ale changes every week. Craft beer enthusiasts will need to head over Stone Brewing Company and
Green Flash Brewery, both well-known San Diegan brands. All the beers at these breweries are reasonably priced, and even more so during happy hour.

*Local Tip: Though you can usually get these brands on tap at a local San Diego bar, it is highly suggested that you go visit the brewery because they have a unique atmosphere, knowledgeable bartenders and a much wider selection on tap.

Asian cuisine

Hampering for some Asian cuisine? Head down to Convoy Street in Kearny Mesa where pretty much all of San Diego’s notable Asian restaurants reside. Grab a bowl of delicious ramen at Tajima (open
till 3am!), or hot pho at Phuong Trang. Avoid the Chinese restaurants as they tend to be expensive and quite bad. Wash that meal down with a cup of boba milk tea at Tea Station.

Staying Fit

Keeping in shape to look good on the beach is a must for many San Diegans. No surprise that there always seems to be some local gym or 24 Hour Fitness nearby. Yoga has taken San Diego by storm and there are probably just as many yoga studios as there are gyms.

For the more adventurous, San Diego hosts some of the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) schools in the country. University of Jiu Jitsu and Andre Galvao San Diego Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy
are just two of many schools in San Diego that are taught by BJJ world champions. If you want to train like and with professional MMA fighters, pay a visit to The ArenaBlack House or Victory MMA.

Entrepreneurs Wanted!

San Diego has a fast growing startup scene and there is at least one networking event or workshop a week. Most of the events are free and provide a chance to learn valuable skills. In addition, it’s also a great way to meet interesting people over some great and oftentimes free beer.

*Local Tip: See all upcoming startup events at sdtechscene.org. Sign up for the San Diego Startup Digest
and Ansir Innovation Center newsletter for curated lists of events.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is an Internship? and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?

How to Stand Out with Student Business Cards

At WayUp we believe every student should have amazing business cards. They are one of the easiest and most effective ways to stand out at zoo-like career fairs and to remain at the top of a recruiters mind after an interview.

Get A Leg Up:

A good business card says I’m a professional.

It helps recruiters put a check mark next to your name and says this student is ready to work in an office, meet with executives and contribute to our team. It’s an action that is worth a thousand words to most employers who are constantly afraid that after making their student hires, they are going to spend the next month teaching interns professional basics rather than getting work done.

Aside from being an in your face way of telling interviewers that you are better equipped and more ready to begin working in the professional world than your peers, a good business card makes you memorable.
Every person you meet at a career fair or job interview, is talking to tons of students.   They are taking down mental notes of who is a good fit and who isn’t but, it is easy for those notes to begin to blur together.  These recruiters are begging for a sign that helps them make a more informed choice on who to select.  When they open their pocket or look down at their desk and see your business card, with your picture or favorite quote on it, you will have just made their job a whole lot easier.

Personalized Design:

I’m a student, not a business, what should I put on my card?

Business cards are relationship builders, they are ways to stay in touch and build your personal brand.
The golden rule is that when an employer looks at your business card the day after you meet, they should instantly remember you.

So if you are interested in marine biology, then perhaps put your favorite whale on the front of your card.  If you are interested in finance, make a clean, professional card with a quote from Warren Buffett on the back.  Or if you are an art major, you can put your favorite Picasso on the front! There is a no limit to what you can do, but the best cards are typically both subtle and personal.

If you’re running out of ideas or don’t want to pigeon hole yourself with a single design, then a great fall back design is to place your college crest on the front of your card with your name, contact info, and school email address.  A college crest on a mono-colored business card is a simple and professional way to show pride in where you go to school.

Business card etiquette!

Knowing when and how to hand out business cards is a whole skill in itself.  The general rule is that in networking situations you want to give out your business card at the end of the conversation.  For example, when wrapping up a conversation, you can say, “It was great speaking with you, here is my card, let’s stay in touch.”  The other person should also give you their card and that way you too can follow-up with them as well.

In an interview or meeting setting you want to give out your business card at the beginning.  You might say, “Thanks for taking the time to meet with me, here’s my card to hold onto.”  If they give you their card, proper etiquette says you want to place it squarely on the desk in front of you, facing you for the remainder of the conversation.

Business Cards from Moo.com!

Whether you need business cards for an upcoming career fair or want them because they are a lot of fun to make and to hand out to friends WayUp has you covered.WayUp recommends Moo.com for a pack of professionally designed business cards from Moo.com. Moo is one of the leaders in business card design so whatever you decide is just about guaranteed to look great.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is an Internship? and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?

Advice for Starting Your Entry-Level Job Search

Knowing where to start the search for your first job after college and how to refine the numerous options available is half of the battle. Intelligently planning out your approach can save you precious time and energy. Here are a few pieces of advice to get you started on your search.

Understanding Yourself

The first task you should tackle is getting familiar with yourself. Knowing your desires, strengths, and weaknesses will enable you to narrow your search process from the get-go. If you’re an exceptionally strong writer and outgoing, social individual, you might make a great marketer. Analytical thinker and problem solver who loves to tackle problems on your own? You might make a great data analyst or engineer. Not sure about your strengths or what type of position you’re looking for? No worries, you can easily start by looking at all of the positions available in a particular location.

Knowing Where to Look

The internet is full of resources to help you find jobs. There are hundreds and hundreds of search engines for jobs. How do you choose the right one?

The good news is that there are two primary strategies for job searches on the internet. Searching on Google will often lead you to the largest job search engines and often some search engines that specialize in what you’re looking for (like WayUp). These larger search engines will often have many positions from the largest companies and most prolific brands in the world. Searching on the specialty job boards is the other primary strategy. If you know exactly what you’re interested in doing, job boards with a narrower focus often have high quality postings from very desirable small companies.

You can also start looking locally by getting in contact with your career center (even if you’re a recent grad). Local employers often post jobs with the local universities knowing that students will come to the career center for help finding employment. If you’d like to remain near your university, the career center can be a fantastic resource.

Searching for Entry-Level Positions by Keyword

If you opt to search for jobs on a larger search engine, you will likely lose the ability to easily search for entry-level positions only. In that case, here is a list of job title keywords that can help you narrow the results down to entry-level positions:

“Junior”

is a very common entry-level term for technical jobs or design related jobs.

“Associate”

is another commonplace title for recent graduates. Many marketing and business roles have the associate title.

“Entry-Level”

is a term primarily used by the job seeker. It’s not common for employers to post positions with this term in the title. However, a few will, so you might get lucky and find a position if you search by this term.

“Recent Graduates”

is a term you won’t find in many job titles, but it’s often in job descriptions for entry-level positions.

“Graduating”

is a much broader search term, but one that will also often be prevalent in the descriptions of entry-level positions.

Look Outside of Your Major

It’s becoming more and more common for recent grads to land their first job in a position completely unrelated to their major. Just because you chose to major in psychology or english doesn’t mean you have to only look for jobs in psychology or english. There are plenty of junior or associate-level jobs that aren’t directly associated with a common college major. Keep your eyes open for things like coordinator or volunteer management roles at non-profits, account management positions, and operations roles.

This isn’t just the case for non-technical majors either. If you majored in Computer Science or Mechanical Engineering, you don’t have to go straight into an engineering role. You might make a wonderful Product Manager or Data Scientist.

Interested in stepping outside of your major? Here are 5 tips to help you get a job that is unrelated to your major.

Be Aware of Scams and Advantageous Employers

It’s incredibly sad, but recent graduates are often taken advantage of in their first job. Many positions that sound incredibly appealing and promising are actually terrible jobs or scams. Here are a few things to watch out for:

Jobs That Seem Too Good to be True

Pro tip: they probably are too good to be true. If someone is offering you a large signing bonus or an unbelievably high salary for an easy position, it’s best to steer clear. Scammers often masquerade as employers hiring recent graduates for positions like Office Manager, Customer Support, Front Desk, Assistant, etc.

Ambassador or Campus Rep positions

These positions are common part-time roles for current students but aren’t the best options for recent graduates. They often pay a meager commission for each student you get to sign up for their service. When you’re in school and can easily network with your classmates, these positions can help pay the bills bit-by-bit. However, once you graduate, it’s extremely difficult to make enough money to live off of.

Be Diligent, Daily

Employers post new entry-level roles constantly. It’s important to diligently stay on top of your job search. Here are a few tips for doing that:

  1. Sign up to receive job alerts by email from any of the entry-level specific job boards (i.e. WayUp).
  2. Search for positions on your phone while you’re commuting (please don’t do this if you commute by car). Use Google to find entry-level jobs near you.
  3. Create a daily calendar reminder to check the major job boards for any recent positions that might be of interest to you.

Finding the right entry-level jobs to apply to is not an easy task. However, taking your time to do some introspection and plan out your search process will make your process far less painful.

Start Your Entry-Level Job Search Now

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is an Entry-Level Job? and find answers to common interview questions such as Tell me about yourself.

Getting an Entry-Level Job with No Experience

Unfortunately, many employers want to have their cake and eat it too. They would love to hire someone for an entry-level salary that has experience and isn’t actually entry-level. As a result, you’ll see plenty of positions in your search for your first job after college that require experience. Here’s how we suggest you handle them:

Apply Anyways

This doesn’t mean that you should apply willy-nilly to all of the positions you possibly can and hope that someone gives you an interview. That is a strategy that has been proven not to work and in the end can only damage your personal brand (you never know who you may wind up trying to work for in the future).

What this does mean is that if you find a great entry-level position that you think is the perfect fit for you, feel free to apply for it regardless of whether or not you meet the experience requirements. Employers will often post a position hoping to lure in the unicorn entry-level candidate with 3+ years of experience and no salary expectations only to discover that nobody is applying to their position. If you apply anyways, you can find yourself amongst a relatively small pool of applicants vying for the job.

If you do decide to apply to the position, don’t be patronizing or attempt to inform the employer that they’re delusional for wanting to hire someone with 3+ years of experience for an entry-level role. Instead, be mature and respectful. If it’s experience they want, show them that you’re wise beyond your years and between your ears.

A Few Tips for Applying to a Position You’re Not Qualified For

  1. Know yourself.
    Poll your family, friends, teachers, and do some serious introspection to understand what your strengths are. Then highlight them.
  2. Be confident, yet humble.
    This gets easier the more comfortable you are with yourself. Be comfortable with not knowing things. You can’t be expected to know everything. Instead, be curious and listen.
  3. Emphasize your motivation and desire.
    You wouldn’t be applying to the job if you didn’t want it. Like, really want it, right? Make sure that’s obvious. Don’t seem desperate, but do seem passionate. Do your background research and have a prepared, honest, thoughtful response for the “Why do you want to work here?” question.
  4. Get experience and highlight it.
    Spin up a side project, volunteer for a local business, or get an internship.

Want to know more? Read more advice on getting a job unrelated to your major.

Network

Getting your resume submitted via someone at the company you’re applying to will massively increase your chances of getting an interview. The hard part is meeting someone at the company and getting them to vouch for you. Fortunately, we’ve got some great guides to help you network offline and meet the right people
or start the networking process online via social media.

Both of these tactics can help you get in front of the right people at the company. Have a cup of coffee with an employee and use the opportunity to learn more about the company, the role, you potential future career options, and get to know what it’s like to work there. Impress them with your thoroughness, thoughtfulness, and curiosity and they may vouch for you.

Get an Internship First

Internships aren’t just for current students and they most certainly count towards any job’s experience requirements. If you’re having trouble getting interviews, it may be that your resume simply doesn’t have enough real world experience on it. Getting a paid internship isn’t an easy thing to do, but fortunately, there are destination like WayUp that can help you launch your career.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is an Entry-Level Job? and find answers to common interview questions such as Tell me about yourself.

How Do I Get an Internship?

Internships have slowly graduated from an optional over-the-top resume addition to an essential part of finding a job when you graduate. More and more businesses are looking for internship experience on the resumes of their entry-level job candidates.

But how do you find an internship?

Step 1: Know what you want

The first step in answering the question “How do I find an internship?” is asking “What do I want to do?” Start looking at industries that you’re interested in and get a feel for what they’re looking for. Make a list of the industries you might want to work in, and then start listing potential internships in each one.

Internships should be tailored to your interests, and your skills. If you’re majoring in accounting, you probably won’t be qualified for an engineering internship (I mean, I’ve been wrong before, but stay with me). The company should also offer the kinds of things you’re looking for in an internship. If working remotely or being able to access your personal social media at work are important factors, keep them in mind when making your list.

You should also look at which cities you might want to try out or that you’ve always wanted to visit.

Step 2: Prepare for the search

Once you have a list of places to go and companies to work for, you’re going to need to gussy up that resume. “How do I get an internship?” “You make a great resume.” Take a look at an online resume guide or check out Pinterest to get some solid and creative ideas for how you want your resume to look. You’ve only got about fifteen seconds to grab a recruiter’s attention on paper, so do it right. Don’t have typos in your resume, and try not to let it get longer than a page. I know, you want to expound on all the things that make you a great person, but keep it short and sweet.

Cover letters are also a very important piece of applying for an internship. Each application should be accompanied by a completely customized cover letter. Do not generalize and then send it out to a dozen different companies.

Do some serious research on each company that you are going to contact (because you will be contacting them) and apply to. The best thing you can do to recommend yourself to a company is to be well-versed on what they do and how they do it. The more you know, the better you fit into the already established order of the company and the less they have to think about training you.

Step 3: Make contact (Network. You have to network.)

The best way for you to get an internship is to network, and to network intelligently and efficiently.

Start with your school’s career center. Honestly, that is the best resource you have at your disposal. They might not have contacts at a particular company, but you might be able to break into an industry from there. Career centers often host mock interviews for practice, have resume and cover letter help, and networks and contacts of their own that you can tap into.

If they can’t help you (or even if they can), your next step should be finding alumni from your school on LinkedIn who work at your preferred companies. Connect with them and explain briefly what you’re up to, ask if they have any tips, advice, etc.

Also consider shooting out a Tweet or a Facebook status. “I want to get an internship at X company. Does anyone know somebody I can talk to?”

Depending on a company’s internship program, you may be applying online. If this is the case, you need to identify the recruiter or internship coordinator, if at all possible. In the age of information, “To Whom it May Concern” is a thing of the past, and there are few excuses for not being able to directly address the person reading your application. Find them on LinkedIn or a company directory, or you can try calling the company.

If the company you want to work for does not have an internship program, things get a little interesting. Find the contact information for the head of Human Resources (this can sometimes be accomplished with a simple phone call to the company). If you can provide value to a company and prove the merits of having an internship program, you can get an internship simply by creating your own. But this needs to be a well-thought-out presentation, with persistence and confidence.

Step 4: Be Prompt

Whenever you make contact with someone at a company, assuming they’re interested in you, they’ll ask for your materials. This could be as simple as a resume and a cover letter, or it could extend to an entire portfolio of your creative works. Send in this information as soon as possible. Recruiters are busy people, and they appreciate someone who is on top of their game and who responds quickly and efficiently.

Apply to open positions early so that you can follow up early and can demonstrate an eagerness to fill the role.

Step 5: Follow Up

So you’ve applied, you’ve made contact. You need to follow up or all of that work will have been for nothing and you might end up not getting an internship. Send a succinct email reminding the recruiter who you are and mentioning your application. This should be sent about two weeks after you’ve sent in your application. Thank them for their time and consideration, and say that you really appreciated having the opportunity to land an internship with their company. Don’t ask when/if you’ll find out about the internship. They’ll contact you or they won’t, and bugging the recruiter for those details might make you sound like you’ve got multiple applications in the works (which, however true, is something you want to keep to yourself).

Attending your college’s career fair can also be a form of follow-up, as you should have your application completed and sent in before you set foot on a job fair floor. If a company you applied to is attending the fair, definitely pay their booth a visit. Follow some career fair guidelines to make a (favorable) lasting impression and increase your chances of getting an internship.

Step 6: Interviews

If you’ve managed to land an interview, you’re halfway there. Yes, only halfway, maybe even only one-third, depending on how many rounds of interviews the company has.

Phone Interviews:

While this arms-length interview puts less pressure on your physical appearance, it is still a very important step in the process of landing that internship. The most important thing you should remember with a phone interview is to not interrupt. I mean it: be respectful and do not interrupt. Wait for an opening. Listen and respond to the questions. Keep your answers brief, and address the interviewer’s questions without launching an in-depth tale of your life story.

In-Person Interviews:

Obviously, you’ll need to dress the part, so know what kind of dress code is common for the industry you’re interviewing for is crucial (this goes back to all that research you did). Make sure your hand isn’t clammy when you shake the interviewer’s hand (wipe it on your pants first if you have to) and do NOT be the limp fish handshake. While many people recognize the folly of basing an interview on the initial handshake, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a good firm handshake.

Similar rules apply in-person as over the phone. Do not interrupt, answer questions as completely but as briefly as possible, and don’t talk yourself silly. But now there’s a physical element. Keep eye contact when listening to your interviewer. Do not fidget, it makes you look restless and impatient. Be friendly but not informal, even when interviewing in an informal workplace.

And no matter what, always have questions for the interviewer, whether you’re talking on the phone or in person. Have at least two good questions to ask when the interviewer says “Do you have any questions?” If, at the end of the interview, the interviewer hasn’t asked you if you have any questions, ask them anyway.

Step 7: Repeat.

Don’t give up. Every rejection is a new opportunity to look for a new opportunity. And believe me, you’re not going to get every internship you apply for. You’re going to receive a lot of “Sorry, we’ve chosen someone else”s and even more opportunities will pass without a response at all. Don’t be discouraged. To get an internship, you have to be a special breed of persistent. You can do it.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is an Internship? and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?