Life in the “real” world is always a scare for most, if not all, recent graduates. One of the most common scares relates to finding the right job. That’s right – I said it, and now it’s time to face your fear. We always want to make sure that we put our best foot forward in our career life and preparing for job interviews is one of them.
1. Arrive 15 mins early
Trust me, this makes a difference. It has been a rule of thumb to be at the place of your interview 15 minutes early. You can use this time to either go over basic interview questions, recall all your education upbringing in terms of how it will relate to the position, and thinking of reasons of how you are qualified. Or, you can be like me and use the extra time to simply panic. Not to mention, arriving a few minutes early shows them new potential employer that you are dependable and don’t arrive late! It is practically a win-win and it never hurts arriving too early rather than too late.
2. Prepare with a mock interview
Whether you want to do this alone or with a friend or family member, it is always helpful to do a mock interview so you can have a feel of the real deal before it happens. Doing this may sound silly and a bit time consuming, but you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Start this off by searching basic and common interview questions; this way you can have your answers thought out and will appear organized in front of the interviewer. The question of “What can you bring and what makes you qualified?” is a common but significant question to answer to prepare yourself. Some other common interview questions that you can practice on are:
- Tell me a little about yourself
- Describe a moment when you faced something difficult but were able to resolve it and how.
- What do you know about our company?
- Name one strength and one weakness.
- How would you describe yourself?
- What interests you about this position?
3. Dress to impress
Although mainly focusing on physical appearance is unnecessary, there are employers in this world that do focus on that as a main factor, whether that is fair or not. To help yourself determine if your outfit is interview appropriate or not, take a look at it and ask yourself: “Would I wear this to my grandmother’s tea party?” When I ask this, I’m not referring to wearing a poufy floral dress and a sun hat the size of an umbrella. Although your grandmother might actually dig that look, I am referring to your outfit being the embodiment of modesty. For example, you don’t want to wear a skirt too shirt or a v-neck plain white shirt with boot cut jeans and cowboy boots if you are being interviewed for a business position, do you?
4. Bold personality
To stick out from everyone else who is applying for your same position, you want to make sure you leave a good impression. One way to achieve this is by having a bold personality. There is nothing an employer loves more than someone who is confident and speaks like they know what they’re talking about. Having a confident attitude can take you anywhere in this world and makes you feel better as a person as well. You want to avoid being shy and/or timid at all costs if possible. If this idea is uncomfortable for you, it’s okay! You just want to make sure you leave a positive impression some other way.
5. Firm handshake
I know this sounds a bit silly and seems insignificant, but a firm handshake says a lot more than you think and goes a long way for a good first impression. It is known that firm handshakes express strong and confident personalities. It tells the employer that, basically, you mean business and possess a strong attitude; this is a characteristic an employer finds attractive. I know what you’re thinking—this is the most ridiculous advice you’ve ever heard, but take it into consideration.
6. Google the business
Before stepping inside the interview room, make sure you do complete background research on the company. You want to make sure you know everything you possibly can about their mission statement and company history. The information you learn may become useful for when employers ask you why you’re interested in their specific business. Not doing your research on the company before the interview is like signing up for a presentation on a topic you don’t know anything about. That doesn’t make sense, does it? (This is the part where you say “no,” by the way.)
7. The nerve of nerves
One thing we all have in common is that job interviews are nerve-wracking. You start to sweat even thinking about the interview date, and then your sweats start to sweat, and then your sweat’s sweat starts to sweat. Find a relaxation method to calm the nerves. You could try meditating, giving yourself little pep-talks or even talk out your nerves with a family member, friend, or even with yourself. Find whatever way possible to help yourself relax and know that being nervous about an interview is completely normal! We all go through it.
8. University experience
Don’t forget to mention any club or organization you were a part of during your college years. Possibly mention some positions you have held as well to prove your leadership capabilities and qualities. Any mention of a position you’ve held or an organization you were a part of in school that relates to the position you are interviewing for is always a key experience to mention when they ask about your college career or other related experiences. Who knows, maybe that president position you held for the cooking club may come in handy! Are there cooking clubs in universities? Well, you get what I mean.
9. Bring the goods (your resume)
Some employers will ask that you bring your most recent updated job resume to the interview. There is a chance they already have a printed copy of yours from when you first submitted it during the application process, but then again, they end up asking you bring a copy regardless. This can also be a good way for you to refresh every position you’ve ever held including tasks you were assigned and what you accomplished during your past work experiences for when they ask you about your work experience! So, don’t forget to bring a hard copy of your resume with you beforehand. While we’re on the topic, here are some helpful tips to keep your resume clean and organized:
- Try to keep it at one page if possible. You don’t want to overwhelm employers with a two-three full-paged resume. Try to keep the page number at a minimum since most employers base their decision according to the first page of a resume anyways.
- Keep it brief. Your resume is not telling your whole life story; it is a collection of achievements and the important parts only. Try to keep your sentences as short as possible, but good enough to showcase what you CAN do. Make sure to explain your accomplishments and not just list them. This also includes your biography – keep it to a minimum.
- Re-check the format. This is a highly important one. Make sure that your body paragraph/bullet points are lined up nicely along with the rest. Stick to one consistent font for the body to keep it clean. What also helps is using a resume template. These templates are found available online for people to use, or Microsoft Word even has their own you can start from.
- Practice makes perfect. Have your resume looked at with another set of eyes because the person who revises it may have a lot to point out you haven’t noticed yourself. It is always a great idea to have another person look at your resume to also avoid any punctuational or grammatical errors.
10. Google-Map it
This one should be a no-brainer, but in case it hasn’t come across your mind, make sure to look up the location of the interview or where the company/business is located. While doing so, also keep in mind of the distance and possible traffic or upcoming construction that might delay and interfere with your interview time. If your interview is scheduled for 1 p.m. and you see that it is a 30-minute drive from your place, maybe consider leaving 45 minutes early or even 50 minutes early (if you’re that extra). Make sure to have that extra 15 mins in your time frame to arrive early to the interview.
In the end what matters is that the interview is finally done. Well, until your next one comes – which is scheduled for the next day (goodness gracious, good luck). What I am trying to say is that always make sure to give it your all. The main idea is to sell yourself. The world is tough out there, and there will be other job seekers searching for your same position for the same company. You want to tell yourself that you are confident; that you are strong and deserving enough of the position you are applying for. Promote yourself because if you don’t, who will? Go chase after that job you want and make sure to rock at the interview because that will always matter, no matter how intimidating it is. You can do this.