Career-5-kody-gautier-GLHS-QqqaCk-unsplash.jpg

Tips And Tricks For Acing An Interview

The process of applying for a job can be super daunting. Basically, you’re putting yourself, your life and your skills out there and asking people to pass judgment on them. You’re asking people to tell you whether or not you fit in. That can be pretty scary. On the other side of this coin, it’s easy to feel awkward talking openly and focusing so much on yourself and your accomplishments. Wherever you might find yourself in this process, here are some simple hints to help you conquer this stage and score an awesome gig.

Apply for EVERYTHING

Let’s be honest, when you’re first entering the job market it can be easy to find the exact position you want. You’ve got some awesome dreams, but it might take some time to work up to your dream job. If you’re having a hard time finding openings, try expanding your search a little bit. In the meantime, apply for any position you’re even a little bit interested in and even slightly qualified for. You may wind up with some rejection letters, but you’ll also increase your chances and broaden your horizons. It’s great to give yourself options and you might just find a great job somewhere you didn’t expect.

 Bolster Your Skills

If you’ve faced a lot or rejection, or you’re not sure you’ve got the experience to distinguish your application, earn yourself some street cred. A lot of professions have field specific leadership trainings, classes, and certifications. These will not only help you learn important skills for your industry, but can elevate your resume above the competition. Many of these certifications can be earned with a few classes (or over a weekend. Put in the time to research opportunities in your field and wow the interviewers by proving how willing you are to go the extra mile.

Tailor Your Resume

Every job is different, so why should your resume always be the same? When you look at a job listing, it’s easy to see what kind of candidate the organization is looking for. Often, companies will list the type of skills or qualifications required by the job. Be sure to go over your resume and highlight the special skills that make you a great candidate for the position. Tweak your resume and highlight skills, extracurriculars, and descriptions of past employment to emphasize your relevant experience. You’re pretty awesome; make sure they know that.

Know You’re Worth It

From the resume, to the interview, to your first day on the job, don’t be afraid to showcase how awesome you really are. Be confident in your skills and experience. It might take practicing in front of a mirror, or asking a friend or mentor to help you practice for the interview, but preparation will always add to your confidence. Before an interview, research the company, the position, and, if possible, research your interviewers to find common ground. Build a custom interview playlist to psyche yourself up, and start off the day with your favorite food. Do what it takes to make yourself feel comfortable so you can confidently take on any interview!

Dress for Success

Professional doesn't have to mean boring, in fact, it never should. Confidence is important when you’re interviewing, so make sure to wear an outfit you feel awesome in. It’s important to dress professionally, but make sure to integrate your personal style. Find colors you look really good in; it may sound silly, but first impressions really do matter, and colors are a big part of that. Make sure the clothes you are wearing are comfortable, it’s one less thing to worry about during the interview

Bonus thrifting hint: Are you a poor college student? No problem, try thrift shopping for lightly worn clothing. If you need to hit a thrift shop to score some new duds for your interview, try shopping at thrift stores near more affluent neighborhoods. Often, you’ll find a larger selection of professional attire. You also tend to find more new or only lightly worn clothing.

You’re the Real Interviewer

In an interview, your interviewer is trying to figure out if you’re the right fit for the position and for the organization. You need to figure out whether or not the position and the organization are the right fit for you. Regardless of your level or experience, you’ve got talent, ideas and value that are unique to you and valuable to your field. You’ve got something pretty valuable, and you’ve gotta figure out how you want to spend the next part of your life putting it to use. Do your research, and come up with some questions ahead of time. Be prepared to ask your interviewer questions during the interviewer. Don’t ask about questions that you can easily figure out from the company website or job description; instead, ask challenging questions that will make your interviewers think.

Here are some of my favorite questions that I’ve asked or heard others ask:

In 5 years, where do you hope to see this organization?

What problems have others had fulfilling the role I’m interviewing for? What solutions have been found?

How are you looking to see your employees grow personally and professionally?

Are there any questions you wish I’d asked you?

Know what you’re worth

Let’s be real, a lot of us are pretty desperate for a job. Just because you’re desperate doesn't mean you should take anything. Subjecting yourself to a toxic work environment or letting yourself be taken advantage of is just not worth it. Do some research before the interview process on how much people in your position make on average, and use this to estimate a fair salary. Read some reviews on the organization if you can, and make sure you are treated fairly and respectfully during the process. Remember, as much as you need them, they also need you. You’re a valuable asset. If something doesn't feel right about the interviewer or the organization, trust yourself.

Based on my own experience, try to avoid some of the following red flags:

People who promise you a job, but don’t give you an offer in paper;

People who try to make you work for free during a “trial period”;

People who tell you that you need them to break into your field: you definitely don’t;

People who question your motives;

People who talk down to you;

People who hate their jobs.

It’s OK to Say No

Ultimately, you’ve gotta find a job that works for you. Applying for lots of different jobs is most valuable, because hopefully, you’ll wind up with lots of options. If you’re offered multiple jobs, you may be able to use the offers to score yourself a better deal, or you can pick the environment that fits you better. Sometimes you just don’t find what you want or need. Whatever the case may be, it’s ok to turn down a position. I once turned down a position and my prospective employer told me I wouldn't be able to find another position in my field. I found a better position that paid more a week later; fear isn’t a reason to say yes to a toxic environment. You can apply for something and change your mind or find something better; it won't reflect poorly on you.

Regardless of what stage you’re in, remember you’re awesome. Don’t be afraid to flaunt it!

Photo Credit: Cover1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.