How Online College Students Can Compete with Other Students in Job Interviews

Barry Lenson

How Online College Students Can Compete with Other Students in Job Interviews

Three tips for competing on an equal footing with applicants who attended traditional “brick and mortar” colleges

If a student walked into a job interview back in 2000 and said, “I went to college online,” the interviewer would probably have tossed his or her job application as soon as the interview was over. 

Things are different today – and better. Now that distance learning has entered the mainstream of American higher education, employers have come to respect it more. However as you begin to look for jobs after earning a degree online, there are still some strategies you should know that can put you on a more equal footing with “regular” college graduates as you interview for jobs . . . 

  1. Explain why you pursued your studies online. Put your decision in context. Was it because you were stationed in Afghanistan while you were in the Army, because you are a single parent, or because you were working a day job and needed to pursue your coursework on a flexible schedule?  When you let employers know the reasons behind your choice to study online, they can see your decision as a positive choice.
  2. Talk actively about your experiences. If you describe what you learned in courses you took – algebra, science, whatever – interviewers will see that your college courses were just as thorough as others that are taught in classrooms. Also bring in examples of your assignments or your grade transcript to bring your online college experience to life. 
  3. Talk about the role that online education will continue to play in your professional development. Now that you have put computerized courses to work for you, you can continue to take them to build your career.  If you are interviewing for a job in the payroll department of a company, for example, you can state that you will continue to train yourself for the job by taking an online course in business statistics as soon as you are hired. 

And put your good attitude to work for you too . . . 

Present yourself with pride as an online student! You are at the cutting edge of education and if you can project confidence and a sense of achievement, your interviewer will be more likely to see you in an appropriately positive light. 

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