Graduation is almost here. According to Ben Carpenter, it’s time to switch from “college” thinking to “real-world” thinking. If you treat each résumé-and-cover-letter combo the same way you do midterm papers (i.e., write, submit, hope for the best), you’ll spend eons in job-search purgatory.


Carpenter, author of the new book “The Bigs: The Secrets Nobody Tells Students and Young Professionals About How to Find a Great Job, Do a Great Job, Be a Leader, Start a Business, Stay Out of Trouble, and Live a Happy Life” offers tips for finding and keeping a great job including:


Practice talking about your résumé. At most interviews, you’ll be asked questions concerning your résumé. You never know what will catch the eye of an interviewer, though, so you need to practice framing everything on your résumé in the best possible light. Also, hone your ability to bring any questions that aren’t about your résumé back around to what makes you qualified for the position. Not all your answers will be jaw-dropping showstoppers…but they all need to be well thought-out and designed to show the interviewer why he or she needs to hire you.


“For instance, for a job in public relations, advertising, or marketing you might be asked, ‘Did you enjoy being an English major?’” Carpenter says. “While your answer could be lengthy, an effective brief answer would be, ‘I enjoyed it a great deal, and one of the reasons I am so excited about public relations is because I want the opportunity to put my strong writing skills to use.’


“Here’s another example,” he continues. “What if you’re applying for a job in sales and are asked, ‘Did you like being in a fraternity?’ While I believe lengthy conversations about fraternity life are a bad idea for most interviews, a good answer would be, ‘I enjoyed my fraternity a great deal, but what I liked the most was giving my sales pitch to freshmen regarding why my fraternity was the best. I have always enjoyed the challenge of getting people to see things the way I do, and that is what excites me about sales.’”