With the economy down in the dumps, many people are scrambling to find jobs or professional opportunities. As a job seeker, you have to be on top of your game in order to land your desired position. There’s a lot of competition out there. First step is to create a “perfect” resume that shows you are dynamic, self-motivated, and a team player.
However, everybody knows a good resume is required, and you can expect other applicants to have impressive resumes as well, so make sure yours is comprehensive and unique. If your resume gets your foot in the door, that’s great! The one-on-one interaction in the interview that can be your ticket to the job that you love and the career of your dreams.
There are numerous things that you need to do in preparation for the interview.
Below are some plan-ahead tips to help you rock your interview and put your best foot forward for your professional career:
1. Know your resume inside and out:
If the interviewer questions you about a specific job or activity written on your application, you have to be sure that you can answer them without sounding as if you made it up. Be able to elaborate on everything, providing specific details of the tasks you maintained and how you contributed to the team.
2. Conduct some research on the institution/company where you are scheduled for an interview:
This shows that you are interested in the position and that you are a self-starter: you are able to go find information that is free and available on the internet. Interviewers will occasionally ask you to raise any questions or concerns that you may have about the position or work environment.
Having done your research prior to the interview, you will be confident and well-prepared for this part. It would really help if you would reference something you read or heard about the institution in the process.
3. Practice a mock interview:
This is quite effective especially if you can arrange for a friend to ask you some questions that you think the real interviewer might ask. You could even ask a stranger at the park!
Typical questions include discussing your strengths/weaknesses, a most important career moment from the past, how you have learned from your mistakes, or your goals for the future. If no one can help you out, just plan ahead and think of the most suitable responses to these questions.
4. Plan to be early:
Make sure you know your way to the interview location when the day finally comes; the last thing you want is to get lost on your way to the interview or to arrive late. This is disrespectful of the interviewer’s time. It is smart to give yourself extra traveling time for punctuality purposes.
Note that arriving early shows that you are on top of things and eager to contribute to the work environment.
5. Dress for the occasion:
When choosing what to wear to your interview, it is always better to go with overdressed rather than the alternative. Sometimes, you can get a feel of your expected dress code from the institution’s website or the correspondence you have already had with the Institution.
See if the company has any photos of employees in the workplace– do they all wear suits? Is it more casual? Try to ascertain this info in order to dress appropriately for the occasion.
What to bring to the interview?
Bringing a few extra copies of your resume is always a good idea especially if you submitted your resume online during the application process. Also, carry a pen and a notebook to take notes during the interview.
Depending on the position, bring any examples of relevant work (for example, if this is for a marketing position, you might want to bring some examples of promotional material you have created).
Do’s and don’ts
During the interview, maintain eye contact with your interviewer. Remain upbeat, and avoid making rude or offensive comments. Bad habits like chewing gum while being interviewed can be seen as sloppy and rude and should be avoided.
As mentioned before, you need to be prepared with a few smart questions for the interviewer to showcase your interest in the position and your inquisitive nature.
Lastly, relax! It’s clear that the company/institution is interested in you, or else they would not have given you the chance to represent yourself in person through the interview. Be yourself and let your interviewer see your personality as the great asset it is and will be to the institution.