You’ve built a stellar resume, chock full of academic and professional achievements. Your cover letter is impressive, as are your recommendations. Now, all that stands between you and your dream job is the big interview. Unfortunately, your ability to sell yourself on paper may not extend to the interview process if you struggle to impress interviewers. Keep these tips in mind as you prepare for your interview:
1. Do Your Research
The hard work should begin the moment you decide to send your resume and cover letter to a prospective employer. Research the company you want to work for both online and through word of mouth. Read between the lines to determine the company’s core culture, and spend some time thinking about how you might fit in. Integrate your findings into your interview message, crafting your responses carefully to reflect what you know about the company’s values. Mention business or industry issues you observed while researching, and how you can use your unique skill set to solve those problems.
2. Develop Useful Sound Bites
Don’t get stuck with “cat got your tongue” syndrome — form phrases ahead of time that you can use as a launching pad. Some questions tend to appear again and again in interviews (examples include greatest weaknesses and why you want the job), so prepare a few sound bites based on expected queries. Do not, however, memorize an entire paragraph to recite at once; it’s best not to sound overly rehearsed.
3. Ditch Modesty
An interview is not the time to be modest. Make the most of every accomplishment, demonstrating even minor achievements in an impressive, yet believable light. Seemingly small endeavors may seem like huge accomplishments to your interviewer if packaged correctly.
4. Show Your Potential For Growth
Employers are looking for more than a laundry list of degrees and previous jobs — they can see all that on your resume. They want to know where you’re at and how much you stand to grow in your next position. Demonstrate your potential for growth by reflecting on how you’ve challenged yourself these last few years and what you’ve learned in the process.
5. Harness the Power of Nonverbal Communication
You could hit on all the right points while conducting your interview and still not be offered the job, simply because you look too nervous. Practice extensively with a friend if you struggle to make direct eye contact, shake hands firmly, or avoid the temptation to fidget. Have another friend record your mock interview — this is the best way to understand your nervous quirks.
Your interview performance is largely determined by how you perceive the process. Think of it not as a burden on your way to gainful employment, but rather, as an opportunity to show why you are the perfect person for the job. The proper mindset can make all the difference as you embark on your job hunt.