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How to Prep For a Job; Tips Courtesy of my Momma

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Western chapter.

From a very young age my parents taught my brother and I about the importance of being able to speak confidently and hold a conversation, particularly when interacting with adults. We were not the children who hid behind their parents’ legs at the Christmas party, or hid in the basement playing Mario Kart on Thanksgiving. We were the 10 and 13 year olds, respectively, who were smack dab in the middle of the adults: my brother no doubt engaging in some conversation about the latest history biography he read, myself likely asking about someone’s spouse or child who couldn’t attend whatever social gathering we were currently at.

We’re now such good conversationalists I often wonder if my parents regret teaching us how to speak at all considering that it’s a very rare moment in our household if one of us are not speaking.

By the time we got to age 15 or 16 and were interested in getting our first jobs, we both realized how well prepared we actually were compared to others our age, thanks to our parents. My mother in particular has much more interviewing and hiring experience than most and she consistently helps my brother and I prep for interviews to this day, whether that be for volunteer positions, student council positions or jobs. Lucky for you, I’m willing to share what I’ve learned from her over the years.

1. Dress to Impress

You know the saying, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have”? That’s completely true. Your appearance matters, no matter what job you’re applying for. Even if you’re interviewing for a job at the university recreation center, don’t show up to an interview in yoga pants and a t-shirt. Maybe you’ll feel overdressed compared to other applicants or even in comparison to other employees you see, but interviewers will remember who looked presentable. Don’t show up in your first year residence semi-formal gown for an interview at Indigo, but no flip-flops, okay?

2. Be Early

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Leave yourself time to be early. 15 minutes early means you’re on time, and if you’re just on time, you’re late. It’s better to be sitting in an office boardroom twiddling your thumbs than to come rushing in two minutes before your interview because you couldn’t find parking and you took the wrong elevator.

3. Introduce Yourself to Everyone

Make eye contact, shake hands, smile. Introduce yourself to the receptionist and the person that leads you to the interview room, not just to your interviewer. First impressions matter, and you want to make sure you leave a lasting impression. Sure, maybe the interviewer won’t ask the receptionist what they thought of you, but if you’re rude you can bet they’ll speak up and say something.

4. Take Notes and Make Notes

Never show up empty-handed. Take two copies of your resume: one for yourself to reference, and one to offer the interviewer. Prep notes beforehand about experiences you think could apply to the job, about the company that jumped out at you, or about questions you want to ask for clarification. During the interview, write notes down as you go. The chances of you remembering every single thing that was asked or said is very slim, so bring a blank piece of paper and a pen.

5. Come with Questions

Prep a few questions you want to ask during or after the interview. It shows you’ve put thought into the job and that you’re interested in knowing. They don’t have to be complex questions; something as simple as, “what kind of hours could I be expected to be given per week or biweekly?” shows you’re at least thinking about the position. If they answer your question(s) during the interview, tell them they’ve answered your questions already. Basically every interview I’ve been to has ended with, “do you have any questions for us?” Don’t just say, “no I’m all good.” Show you were ready by saying, “I had a question about salary and about hours but you’ve cleared that up, thank you.”

Insider secret: My go-to question that I use in every single interview is, “What do you anticipate to be the most challenging/rewarding part of this job?” It shows you’re interested in the position, and that you’re thinking about how it will affect you. It gets the interviewer thinking for a minute or two, giving you a break from speaking. It also gives you genuine insight you don’t necessarily get from basic interviews. It’s yet to fail me.

6. Always Say Thank You

End the interview with a handshake, a smile and a “thank you for the opportunity.” The next day, send an email saying thank you again. Just a few lines to say you appreciate the chance to interview, and it works as a reminder of who you are after they’ve interviewed 12 applicants in the same day who all have the same qualifications. As much as you are wonderful and unforgettable, it can’t hurt to give them a gentle reminder.

Over the years, Momma T’s tips and tricks have helped me land a few jobs, and hopefully her wisdom can help you land that internship you’re interviewing for after Christmas break!

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Julia is majoring in English at King's at Western. She loves Gilmore Girls, Gossip Girl and many shows in between, and you can most often find her in the Library or the Student Centre drinking coffee and listening to Hamilton or Mumford and Sons.
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