How to Have a Winning Interview
Finding a job nowadays can be tough enough, let alone just getting to the interview stage. In order to get an interview with a prospective employer, you want to make sure you show that you are prepared with a professional resume and prior knowledge about the job you are applying for. It is a good idea to also research about the company and its history beforehand. Showing that you know some things about the company can really be impressive to your interviewer. You can prepare questions of your own as well, to ask during your interview about the job you are interested in and what types of advancements would be available to you in the future. This will show that you are a responsible worker who is looking for a career, not just a fly-by-night job.
Your Chance to Shine
Your first point of contact with your prospective employer is your resume. This is where you get to show them that you are the right person for the job. Your resume should never be more than two pages and should be able to be read in two minutes or less. It should showcase all your previous work and your skills that pertain to the job you are applying for. You want your resume to be concise and easy to understand. Make sure that you use all the proper grammar and punctuation as this helps the document be understandable and also helps to make you look better. Having the wrong tense to verbs and improper grammar will most certainly reflect badly on you.
As such, the wording of your resume should be of professional quality. There should be no slang used and you want to double-check your spelling to make sure it is all correct. Using industry keywords in your resume shows that you have more knowledge than perhaps the other applicants for the job do. You will show that you have taken the time to do research about the industry and this will make you easier to train for the job.
When writing your all-important resume, you’ll want to make sure and point out any strengths you have, and any volunteer or community work you have done. If you have any other qualifications that pertain to the job you are applying for, this is your chance to list them and prove that you are right for the job.
Pertinent work history is of course also something you should have listed. If you have little work experience in this field, explain why this is so; for example, someone fresh out of college might want to add their education history. This may include completed or semi-finished degree programs, plus certifications or awards that relate to the position. If you have been in the working world for some time on the other hand, you want to include only up to fifteen years’ worth of working history.
Above all else, you should never lie on your resume. Many potential employers will do background checks on you or speak with your references and could find out easily that you are lying. If they discover your lie after you are hired, they have the legal right to fire you right away without any further notice. There is no good reason to lie on your resume, so avoid the hassle and the headache of it all and don’t do it in the first place.
When you are sure you are done writing up your resume, you need to go over it several times to make sure there are no errors and everything in it is pertinent. It should have a smooth flow to it and not jump around between information. You can also have other friends and family members read it for you to get second opinions and check for any spelling or grammar issues.
Keep your resume updated on a regular basis, and make sure that you change it for each job you apply to that is of a different field, so that you can tailor it to that particular job. In this way, you will always have a resume that shows your skill level for each particular job and it gives you a better chance at getting the job.
Submit your resume to the appropriate person, and contact the company beforehand so you know where it should go. After submitting your resume, keep in contact and call the people in charge of hiring within a week at the most, unless they specifically tell you that they do not wish to receive phone calls. You can also post your resume to online sites to get it out to more eyes. Many companies use these websites to find their employees, and this could be a great help to you in finding a job.
You want to make sure and include a cover letter with your resume. This should give your prospective employer a quick look at your job skills and what your qualifications are for this particular job. A couple of sentences explaining your career goals are necessary here and it should be related to your resume. Make sure it gets to the right people by addressing it appropriately and follow up within a week to make sure that it has arrived safely and has been reviewed.
Being Ready for the Big Day
Once you have gotten the interview you’ve been trying to obtain, it is a good idea to research and gather any information on the place of business itself and the industry of work they are involved in. A perfect place to start out is the company’s website. You will most likely find most of the information you need from here, including company history. This will help you to be even more prepared for the interview and will show your prospective employer that you have vested interest in their company.
Arriving a bit early for the interview is considered on time. You need to make the best first impression possible, so you should also dress neatly and according to the job. You should have additional copies of your resume with you that are clean and neat. Always be polite and have a professional attitude during the whole interview.
Knowing who you will be speaking with by name beforehand, and addressing them by their name will be a huge plus as well. Keep eye contact and use a firm handshake. Everyone else in the room should be seated before you take your seat, and when you do sit, remain in good posture. Do not use a lot of hand motions and take notes. Do not interrupt the interviewer before they complete their question.
Different types of questions will be presented to you by the interviewer, so it is wise to be prepared. You can practice your answers beforehand, including writing them down and going over them. Behavioral questions will also be one type asked of you to see how you react in specific scenarios. If you are prepared, you will be less likely to be caught off guard and you’ll be able to answer all questions truthfully to the best of your ability. Keep all of your answers professional and make sure that they have a connection to the job that you are applying for.
What Will You Ask?
You will also have the opportunity to ask your own questions. Will you be ready? You should always have some; don’t ever go unprepared without any questions. Asking thought-provoking questions will show your prospective employer the interest you have in the company and industry, plus it can show them skills you might already have.
Questions about anything related to benefits, holidays or money are not advisable at this stage. You can ask these later after a successful interview.
You should be able to determine if the job is a good fit or not for you by the questions that you ask. Questions about why the last person who held the position left, the management style and what your interviewer likes about the company are all good choices. There are two questions that should definitely always be asked, the first being if the interviewer has any concerns about whether or not you are right for the job. This will be an opportunity for you to stress your strengths and cover anything that hasn’t already been talked about.
You should then show that you are excited about the job and ask what the next step in the whole interviewing process is. This can help to move the process forward more and could even convince the interviewer you are the one for the job.
At the end, you always should shake hands again and thank them for their time, indicating you know that they took time out of their busy day just to interview you.
Checking on Your Status
A hand-written note mailed after your interview is a perfect way to show appreciation for your interview and will remind your prospective employer of your interest in the job. You can also then get in contact with the proper person within a week to two weeks after your interview to check on the status of your application. This will reiterate your interest in the job, and can even land you the job just because of your persistence.
Being fully prepared for your interview and being able to thoroughly show your skill set by the answers you give to the interviewer’s questions can help you to stand out amongst other applicants. Along with you being professional and polite at all times, coupled with your follow-up can give you the edge to landing that job.