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Contributor Response to Wall Street Journal's Article "To My Fellow Job-Hunting College Seniors" published on March 17, 2014 by David Pierce

April 11, 2014

On March 17, 2014, the Wall Street Journal published an opinion To My Fellow Job-Hunting College Seniors, by a graduating college senior, David Pierce, with advice for other graduates on job hunting. Corporate recruiters and hiring experts from jobipedia.org weighed in with their professional experience to make some corrections to Mr. Pierce’s advice:

Pierce:
Never wear a black suit to an interview. Black suits are for weddings and funerals. Go to a classy men's boutique and have them fix you up with a nice $500 suit, gray or navy blue. It'll last you five years. The key is to make sure it fits so you'll feel snappy in the job interview despite your stutters and flop sweat. If you can swing it, buy the gray and the blue suit. Wear the blue for the first-round interview, and the gray to the more formal second- or third-round interviews. (Women: Sorry, I'm not qualified to advise on pencil-skirts and heels.)

Jobipedia experts unanimously felt a black suit would be just fine to wear. One Jobipedia expert from a Fortune 300 company felt the best point here was that the suit should fit well because, "…an interviewee that feels snappy (his words) going into the interview, will definitely display poise and self-confidence during the interview."

Pierce:
If you get nervous in social situations, make an effort to go out to a bar—not with your buddies—a few months before interview season, have a couple of drinks, and strike up a conversation with an unfamiliar girl (or guy). Bars are low-pressure, and even if you do get shut down, you'll realize that the rejection isn't that bad. More important, you'll gain new confidence that will help in higher-pressure environments such as interviews and networking sessions.

While Jobipedia experts found this suggestion an interesting new approach, it’s not something they’d recommend. However, the point being made about practicing for an interview is very important. To practice communication skills and leave your comfort zone, Jobipedia experts recommend that students attend school sponsored networking events and career office workshops. Students could also volunteer for a charitable cause or event. Not only would this allow an opportunity to talk with strangers, but it would also be something to reference during the interview.

Pierce:
In networking sessions, don't talk about the fascinating people you've met or the exotic places you've been if that information hasn't been strongly solicited by the other person. Better to talk about your friend who deep-fried an entire bag of Doritos than the semester you spent at Oxford. You'll get laughs and seem down-to-earth.

One Jobipedia expert said to make sure the conversation is not overly "self-centered." Another expert suggested interviewees should be aware of his or her audience. While joking is welcome, make sure the story being shared is relevant and will help show you are the best candidate for the job.

Pierce:
Trying to network with someone in a company but don't know their email? If you have someone else's email from the company, follow the format. If an analyst's email is John.Doe@bank.com, and you want to get in touch with Jane Smith, send the email to Jane.Smith@bank.com. I have used this trick a few times and it works.

This is aggressive advice. Jobipedia experts said to stick to formal networking approaches and LinkedIn. Guessing an email, especially to someone you’ve never met, might backfire and be perceived as overstepping.

Pierce:
Write thank-you notes for job interviews. Emails don't cut it, so play it safe and do both. Write and mail the note the minute you get home.

Jobipedia experts said a "thank you" note via email is completely fine. And to take this a step further, one Jobipedia expert from a Fortune 100 company suggested: "Send a thank you to references and anyone else that helped you get your foot in the door for an interview."

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