Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How to: Interview Preparation

It has been a long time coming that I share the news of my pending employment with my readers. As some of you may know, the group I work with has been sold to another brand meaning that my last day with my current teammates is December 14th. It has been a rough road for the last six months just waiting to hear about our fates, when we could expect some news and most importantly - when we could move on.

Now is that time my friends. I'm ready to start my search.

While I'm certainly no pro at interviews and my job changes over the last 3 years have been the result of promotions I've formally interviewed 4 times in the last 3.5 years and only one job resulted from it I believe that I know a thing or two about interview preparation. So much more than the scheduled 45-60 minutes itself is the art of how to get yourself feeling confident, relaxed and in the right mindset to make steps forward in your career.

1. Tailor your Resume

We all have resumes and we all have at one point updated it with new work that we've done, new skills gained or new education merits.  Before you apply for a new position, make sure that you tailor the resume to the role you're actually applying for! Most job openings will make it fairly clear what they are looking for in the perfect candidate. It's beyond beneficial for you to edit the language and skills for the position to highlight and embellish experience that you have and they want.

2. Study your Resume

I am very guilty of this - I only update or look at my resume when I am pursuing or eyeing a new job. Because of this I don't always feel that I would be able to succinctly walk someone through my career history in a smooth and non-confusing way. I know it so well, but explaining it to someone in a mini 3 minute movie is a different task. It's important that you are able to fluidly explain role to role what you've done in your career (key accomplishments, companies, leadership experience, transferable skills).

3. Prepare Leave-Behind Materials

Even if you only have a day to prepare like I sometimes have had - always dedicate yourself to compiling a portfolio of past work you've done that is relevant to the role you're interviewing for. It shows your preparation skills, your organization, the time you spent actually thinking about the role and the tangible product of sincere effort towards a new career.

4. Plan your Outfit

This is not just for the ladies. It's important to plan your outfit days before your interview so that you're not only organized leading up to it, you can practice visualization too! If I learned anything from my athletic career as a pitcher, visualization is a key part of success. See yourself being successful (outfit, hair and shoes included in that vision) and it will seem familiar when you're actually in the spotlight.

5. Get a Manicure

Ladies, seriously. Most interviews are in close quarters and I personally am a hands talker when I am storytelling, explaining or even a little nervous. When you plan your outfit ahead of time, you can get a polish that matches and whether they notice or not, you'll have a beautiful manicure to look at when you're texting your friends about how you rocked it!

6. Hydrate

Avoid alcohol the night before and make sure that you're well hydrated with good clean water. There's nothing worse than having a dry mouth and feeling the need to clear your throat before your answer to each of the questions you're asked. It's equally important to bring a water bottle into the room with you so that you have access to water if you do find yourself parched from nerves.

7. Prepare Questions for your Interviewer

Remember that you are not the only one being evaluated here. It's important for you to prepare questions ahead of time that you can ask to make sure that this would be a good fit for you. Always ask questions that are relevant to the role and that are important to you personally. You not only show that you can communicate openly - you show once again that you put some thought into your preparation and you're organized.

8. Don't be Afraid to be You

Just be yourself. Let your personality shine. When you speak, speak professionally - yet with a casual tone. It's the easiest way to show that you're an expert in your field and these are the types of conversation you have every day. Tell them why you're interested in the role and what you can bring to the table.

Good luck to you, good luck to me!

<3 JE

1 comment

Putting My Best Foot Forward | JESSI EVEN said...

[...] Do you guys remember last week when I shared my Interview Prep Tips? [...]