You researched your ideal job. You’ve submitted your resumé. You sent in your cover letter. You’ve waited for a while and it finally happened–you received that fantastic e-mail asking for an interview. Getting asked back for an interview is great news for anyone applying to a job; someone out there has validated your skills and wants to learn more about you and what you can bring to a particular position. The only problem? You’ve never been on an interview before.
Do you need some quick tips for nailing that interview for your dream job? Here are a few helpful hints for some interview success:
Always dress up. Interviews are all about that perfect first impression–and yes, that includes your appearance. Interviewers often judge an applicant by the way he or she dresses. The idea behind it? The way you dress reflects the way you work. If you show up to an interview with disheveled hair, wrinkled clothes and a disorganized demeanor, you look like a sloppy worker. When you’re about to go on an interview, make sure you pick out professional clothes that fit perfectly. Try on everything beforehand so there are no surprises (and unwanted stress) the day of the interview. Also, don’t forget to bring your resumé, business cards and portfolio (if needed) with you–they’re the perfect interview accessories!
Do your homework. Before you go on your interview, be sure to take some time to research the company where you’ll be interviewing for a position. If you interview with a person who worked on a campaign you liked or whose research you admire, mention it and give examples. You’ll seem like a genuine candidate who could really mesh with the work done by the company. Another imperative interview point: always prepare questions ahead of time. At the end of every interview, candidates are asked if they have any questions. This can be the “make it or break it” moment for an employer. Interviewers want to make sure applicants are inquisitive about company culture, projects and ideas. By asking a question, you’ll set yourself apart–especially if that question relates back to the research you did before the interview. You can never go wrong with showing your interest through questions!
Practice, practice, practice! Going on interviews can be stressful, especially if you’re a naturally shy person. If you’re nervous about upcoming interviews, practice a few times. See if your college or university has a career center where you can give mock interviews–this is more common on campus than you may think! If not, find a friend who’s good at giving constructive feedback and have him (or her) help you out by asking questions about the job. You’ll develop a comfort zone with interviewing and it will help you relax before the big day.
Follow up in style. The interview process does not end when you shake your interviewer’s hand good-bye. Always be sure to follow up a day or two after your interview. Send a quick e-mail thanking your interviewer for his or her time and say that you are always available for more questions or comments (and re-state your e-mail and phone number). Following up is important because it shows that you appreciate your interviewer’s time! Don’t forget to send a thank-you note or e-mail–it can only help you stand out more!
Hopefully these tips will help you with your interview woes. Good luck!