After hours of filling out online applications, and writing more cover letters than college essays, you’ve finally nailed an interview! Now what…
Its hard enough to dazzle anyone into thinking your the epitome of greatness in 30 minutes, let alone when your career-starting dream job hangs in the balance.
Here are a few tips and tricks to calm your nerves and feel more prepared and confident during your interview:
3 Days Before:
Make sure you have a few printed copies of your most recently updated resume. If you can, print your resume on nice card stock, or something sturdier than just printer paper, this will make your resume stand out in a stack over all the others. Also print out any letters of recommendation or references that would apply to the job, keep these and any other applicable papers in a folder to bring with you on the day of. If you need to, trim up any appearance factors that might make you look less put together and clean-cut. Get your hair trimmed or your color re-done, get your nails manicured, or your eyebrows waxed. These are small things that can make you stand out during your first appearance.
2 Days Before:
Research, research, research. Researching the company you are meeting with with is crucial for an interview. Having knowledge of the company shows that you are invested in the job and are putting forth the effort to really know the position and company for which you are applying. Make sure you review all of the job qualifications and have the ability to explain your level of experience on each one. Dedicate a notebook, (not a spiral one, something office-ready) to taking notes on the company, any thoughts you have about their work, or any questions that arise while researching. Bring this notebook to your interview, it will allow you to jot down memos and any important information during the interview, while also allowing you to have some information on hand with you so you don’t have to memorize everything. Having a notebook with you will not harm your chances of getting the job, it will show that you are organized and work-ready, just try not to read out of it the entire time, it is only for small notes and taking down vital information.
1 Day Before:
Practice sample questions before you go in. Go over all of the main most common questions such as:
-Why would you be the best candidate for this position?
-What are your strengths/weaknesses?
-Tell me about yourself?
-What interests you most about this position?
There are many more than this to consider, simply Googling “interview questions” will give you a large variety of possible questions to work with. Rehearse these in the mirror, you want to have well-rounded answers to each. Make sure to provide real life examples if applicable. Answer each question fully, but without rambling, forget fluff or repeating yourself.
The Day Of:
Make sure to wake up a few hours early so that you do not feel rushed. Eat a large healthy breakfast and have some coffee if you feel you need a caffeine boost. When dressing for your interview there are a few things to consider. When you are young it is hard to come off professional, and you might not own that many office-appropriate outfits. If you don’t own anything invest in at least one outfit that you can dedicate to wearing to interviews. Choose something conservative, nothing with a sloping neckline and no skirts above mid thigh. Neutral colors are better than brights, minimal jewelry and nothing with distracting patterns or frills. These are things that you can add in later after your hired if the work atmosphere permits, for the interview stick to the conservative-neutral rule. Pull you hair back rather than keeping it down, a sleek ponytail or bun is best. Even though this style may not be you, it is necessary to convey the right amount of professionalism, personal flair can be added later after being hired.
Make sure you allow yourself enough travel time in case you run into traffic, or you get lost. You want to arrive about 10-15 minutes before your interview, timeliness is very important to convey. It shows employers that you have good time management and will be on time for work if hired. Once in the meeting room have out your notebook, a pen and your folder. Distribute your resume and any other papers to your interviewer.
Body language is important, they know you are nervous so don’t feel as though you look weak if you are feeling stiff. Sit up straight and keep your arms and hands out in front of you, crossing your arms or hiding them under the table will make you seem closed off. Keep eye contact with you interviewer as much as possible unless you need to refer to notes.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to throw your personality in there, a little bit of humor or mild conversation can make the interviewer feel connected to you and give them something to remember you by.
After your interview, always follow up. Within 24 hours send out a thank you email or note-card. Send an individual thank you message to each person if you were interviewed by more than one within the company, make sure to review for typos and that all parties names are spelled correctly.
Most likely, you will go to many interviews before finding the right fit, don’t be afraid to turn down a job offer if you don’t think it is right for you. The fit should be on both sides, it might take time but eventually the right one will come along. There are plenty of options out there and as a post-grad you have years of work experience ahead of you, and it’s only up from here!
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