The final countdown. With just over two weeks left in the semester students are racing to complete projects and cramming for final exams. For those who are graduating, resumes are being fine tuned, references gathered, and ears are to the pavement on any and all job leads. It’s an exciting and nervous time as two years of training culminates in a triumphant entry into the workforce. For some this is the first real job they have ever had, for others it represents some sort of career change. Young graduates can’t help but pick up on to the dismal tone of the older generation, when it comes to job prospects. They have to be worried they will be among the statistics of unemployed graduates, or will they stand out in the sea of job seekers? I would love to advise you on the tips and tricks for landing your dream job, but as a person who has been on both sides of the hiring table…there are few hard and fast rules. I have never had a good answer to the question “Where do you see yourself in five years?” I just learned that they do not want to hear the ever ambitious, “I’m want to have your job.” I have always fallen into the trap of “Tell me your strengths and weaknesses.” It seems interviewers have not appreciated by philosophical approach of “My strengths are my weakness and my weaknesses are my strengths” It doesn’t matter if it’s true that my sense of humor both helps and hinders me, and therefore is both a stench and weakness. It seemed when I was on a hiring committee similar anecdotal answers were not well received. For example a lady answered that she would give kids cookies for a snack at her last job, and since that was not allowed at the school we worked for…she was out. Another lady was not hired because she “looked like she wouldn’t want to get dirty.” Looking too nice for the job interview seems an odd arbitrary consideration, but this is often the case. The problem is every company is looking for something different, and it nearly impossible to predict what qualities they want in an employee. Certainly you can mold your personality to fit the expectation…but will the job be the right fit for you in that case? The older I get, the more I wonder if being yourself, and finding a job that truly respects all your candid answers, is mission impossible. However, imagine the job satisfaction you could have if you found that one perfect fit. When they seek all your weaknesses as strengths, and have respect for your goal of getting their job in five years. If you can find that one job that knows exactly who you are and love you for it…then it will make all the hard work worthwhile. Good luck! Happy hunting.