Be the First-Round Pick

How can you be the first-round pick for the job of your dreams?

You’ve seen the NFL draft, right? It’s one of the biggest days of the year for the NFL. If you haven’t, here’s all you need to know: hundreds of college athletes are drafted round after round to professional football teams, based on their position and skill level. Of course, those who are drafted in the first round, the first-round picks for their position, are the men who played the best during their college careers.

Bottom line: be the first-round pick in your position; your area of specialty.

So, what does the NFL draft have to do with applying for a job? You’re up against other people in your field vying for the same position.

Your resume is what qualifies you for the draft and your interview is what could make you their first-round pick.

So how do you become the first-round pick?

Research. PERIOD.

It’s important to know about the company you’re trying to get a job at. Nothing says “don’t hire me” like not knowing who the CEO is or the company’s mission, so doing your research is important. What should you know in addition to the CEO and company mission?

Aside from researching the company, it’s also a great idea to do a little research on your interviewer. Check out your interviewer’s LinkedIn profile to see their background.

Think you’re a creeper? Think again. By looking at your interviewer’s background, you can really get a sense of who they are as a professional from the articles they post and share, to their education and job history. Checking out their profile is also a good idea because it will enable you to see any mutual connections you may have in common, giving you the ability to reach out to that person and ask for more information about the interviewer or the company (if they work at the same place).

Things to Know About the Company You’re Interviewing At

Other than knowing who the company’s CEO is, as well as a little bit about your interviewer, here’s a few more traditional things you should know about the company before interviewing:

  • Number of employees
  • Headquarter location
  • Recent news about the company (press releases)
  • Products and services offered
  • Standing in the marketplace
  • Competitors
  • Financials from the prior year or quarter

Where can you find all of this information? Easy, their website. Crazy that all the information you need to know about the company you’re interviewing at can be found in one place.

Get Social

Aside from getting to know the company’s website, it’s also a good idea to follow their social media accounts to see what they post. This will give you an idea about the company culture and what people are saying about them. If you want more information about what people are saying about your prospective employer, check out career sites like Glassdoor, where people give their honest feedback about salary, the interview process, culture, benefits, etc.

Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.

You’re inevitably going to get this question in any interview you’re in: “Do you have any questions?” Your answer should always be yes.

Nothing screams “I’m unprepared” more than a blank stare, so make sure you have some questions ready to use, such as:

  • What is the company culture like?
  • Are their opportunities for growth?
  • What makes someone successful in this role?
  • How much travel is required?
  • Are there continuing education or mentoring opportunities?

On the other hand, you should also consider the types of questions they might ask you (which can vary by job), and how you would answer. It helps to write these questions and answers down, so you feel like you aren’t flying by the seat of your pants. Some general questions you may be asked are:

  • Tell me a little bit about yourself
    • To answer this question, start with your education history and progress into your professional experience.
  • Are you willing to relocate or travel?
  • Tell me about a time you acted as a leader.
  • Tell me about a time that you solved a problem at work.
  • What is your biggest strength/weakness?
  • How do you react to working with a difficult teammate?
  • What’s your biggest accomplishment?
  • What do you hope to learn from this job?

Once you have all the information and questions you need to successfully crush your interview, it never hurts to ask a friend to do a mock interview with you. This way, you can rehearse your answers and feel comfortable answering their questions when it happens in real life. In fact, this is the perfect time to get some constructive criticism.

Jeez – Anything else you should have prepared?


Make sure your resume is up-to-date and in a consistent format. Oh, and make sure there aren’t any spelling errors. Don’t just spell-check – actually read your resume, or have a friend take a look at it. Personally speaking, I wouldn’t hire someone with a spelling error on their resume – it shows they don’t care and don’t pay attention to detail. Don’t be that person.

Overwhelmed? Here are some resume writing tips that can help.

In addition to actually reading your resume, you should also have several copies of it on-hand to bring to your interview because it shows you’re proactive, prepared, and courteous to the interviewer’s time (they might not have time to print your resume).

With your resume up-to-date, start thinking about how your prior experience relates to the job you’re going for. In other words, come up with the reasons why you’re qualified for the job you’re going for, and why they should hire you (your elevator pitch).


If you have any questions about how to become the first-round pick, leave a comment below or Talk to Tosti!

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