Successful Interviewing Tips to
Find the Job of Your Dreams!
You can call it anything you want… “laid off,” “let go” or “downsized”… at the end, it all means the same. What matters the most is the emotional turmoil that goes through a person’s mind once the news sinks in, from self-esteem to relationships to actually being able to pay the bills, the enormous burden can be felt in every area of life.
I don’t have to tell you about statistics. We are all quite familiar with the common challenges and the problematic times we are facing worldwide. But…. if you have lost your job, I’m going to ask you to read this article as you may find a couple of bits of useful information to use in your next job interview. So, step back for a little bit, and try to see things from a different perspective.
Re-focus your mind even if for a few minutes and allow yourself to see this experience as a blessing in disguise; as a time to re-evaluate your talents and finally have the opportunity to be, do and have whatever you want in your life. The Internet is filled with countless stories of people who thought everything was lost when they got laid off, only to discover that it was the best thing that happened to them a few weeks or months down the road.
In other words, now is the time to get courageous, go out, get a job interview, or step up to start a new and exciting career. Luckily for us these days, becoming an entrepreneur not as difficult as it once was!
You literally have thousands of resources at your fingertips to help you land a job interview for the job of your dreams, and if you are willing (or able) to relocate, your options are multiplied. Besides the common sources such as the local papers (especially weekend editions), your local library and the multiple employment search engines in the Internet, you may want to consider hiring a Head Hunter to help you get job interviews that match your talents, education, and goals. Networking groups, the gym and even your friends are good sources too. Don’t be afraid to reach out in a big way!
Not sure what you want to do or how you can take your experience into a new career or business venture? You may want to consider hiring a Life Coach to help you explore your options. What I want to convey here is that regardless of how terrible the horizon looks at this time, there are always better days ahead. Trust me on this.
I realize how frightening this situation can be (I have been in your shoes myself!), especially if you had been employed at the same place for several years. Hitting the job market again can be intimidating, for sure! So, I’m going to take you through the basic points so soon enough, you can land the job of your dreams.
Once you’ve found a job that you are interested in, it’s time to update and submit your resume with the goal of getting called for a job interview.
This first step may seem like a huge task, especially if you had been employed for a long time before you were let go. Thus, remember that your resume is the first item to represent you and sell you to a potential employer even before you meet face to face. It should reflect who you are in an extremely positive light. It should make you stand out among other applicants and urge the person in charge of hiring to want to call you first!
Also know that a resume should not be a “one-size-fits-all” kind of deal. In other words, you should plan to modify your resume and cover letter (more on this in a bit) according to the specific position you are applying to. There are plenty of sites and services to help you create a winning resume. A comprehensive search and dedicated time will get you writing your resume profesionally and relatively fast. You may also consider hiring a professional resume writer.
Your Cover Letter
In most cases, you will also need a cover letter to accompany your resume. In general, the cover letter should be as concise and to the point as possible. Don’t ramble on and on, let your resume do the talking. The cover letter is just a basic introduction to your resume where you can include your main qualities that make you the perfect candidate for the position you are applying for. Above it all, use very positive language and be concise. Some experts recommend using bullet points. I believe it is a good idea as it draws attention to your main talents first.
If you don’t have a specific person to address the letter to, you should address it to “Ladies and Gentlemen”. DO NOT address it to “To Whom It May Concern”. That is considered unprofessional and very non-businesslike.
Just as with the resume, you should match your cover letter to the specific position you are applying for. Think about your talents and experience and match them to the specifics of the position. Be truthful and always proofread extensively to make sure that there are no typographical errors and that your punctuation and grammar is all correct.
Preparing for the Job Interview
A good, solid resume and cover letter will get you a job interview. At that point, you’ll be given the opportunity to shine and stand out from other applicants. And… how do you do that? Preparation is key in the process. Being prepared for a job interview includes two main points: knowing about the industry and your prospective employer, and knowing yourself. It means paying attention to details like personal appearance, punctuality, and demeanor. And it means feeling confident about your interviewing skills. Do your homework and be prepared!
You may want to prepare by thinking of a couple of instances where you handled difficult situations successfully. They may ask you this. Also, make a list some of your attributes, and have those present in your mind to answer specific questions. Talk to former co-workers with whom you worked closely. Ask them to list some work related traits about you that they most admired. While you are at it, ask them if you can list them as references.
Try to find some faults as well just in case they come up as questions. By studying your faults, you will be able to choose one that is somewhat innocuous and turn it around into a positive. For example, if you are obsessively organized, this could be presented as a fault but most employers look at organizational skills as assets not liabilities. So in an interview, I would tell them “one of my shortcomings was that I wanted to be too organized.”
Practice how you will answer possible questions during your job interview. You want to be perceived somewhat spontaneous, but you also want to appear self-confident and professional. The way to do that is to rehearse, not exactly what you will say, but how you will say it. This will increase your confidence tremendously.
A great method is to rehearse in front of a mirror. Study your posture, the way you make eye contact, the tone of your voice, and your body language. Ask a friend to do pretend interviews with you. The more you repeat a scenario, the more comfortable you will begin to feel with it.
What To Wear
First, you must dress properly. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to wear a suit for a job interview or a classy dress if you are a woman. Go with something simple, in a neutral tone. The more conservative your field, the more conservative your suit should be.
It’s also a good idea to match your interview attire to the prospective job. If you are applying for a job working on a warehouse floor, you will look out of place wearing a formal suit. Keeping that in mind, dress a little better than you would for a day at work and make sure your clothes are neat and clean. A good, classic style and cut for a suit is a good choice since it’s appropriate for many situations. Do not wear jeans unless the job you are applying calls for it.
In all instances, wear closed-toe shoes. Sandals are never appropriate for a job interview. And, of course… sneakers are not appropriate either.
If you are a woman, don’t wear an excessive amount of jewelry or makeup. You want to make a good impression at your job interview without distractions and just with your personality and qualifications. If you have long hair, it’s better to wear it up.
You’ll want to bring an extra copy of your resume along with your reference sheet. Leave the backpack at home. A woman can carry a small to medium sized handbag. A man can carry a briefcase if he wishes. A folder or a portfolio are good options as well.
The Job Interview
Once at the interview, you are going to be asked many questions by your potential employer. They will ask about you, your education and past experience. In particular, they’ll want to know about your strengths and weaknesses, and what you did to problem solve when a difficult situation occurred. If you prepared as suggested above, you’ll do great!
Speak slowly and clearly. Pause before you answer a question. Your answers will seem less rehearsed and it will give you a chance to collect your thoughts. Keep in mind that a very brief pause may seem like an eternity to you but it is not.
Since the interviewer’s job is to make sure that not only your skills, but that your personality is a good match as well, you must establish rapport with the person interviewing you. That begins the instant you walk in the door. Let the interviewer set the tone. For example, if the interviewer is speaking softly, so should you.
It’s alright for you to show your true personality, but be careful not to go over-board. Humor may help relax both, you and the person doing the job interview and may help you communicate much easier; but… use caution with humor and never joke about race, politics, faith or anything of that nature.
As you may know, body language gives more away about us than speech. Eye contact is very important but make sure it looks natural. A smiling, relaxed face is very inviting. Hands resting casually in your lap rather than arms folded across your chest also is more inviting. If you normally move your hands around a lot when you speak, tone it down a bit. You don’t want to look too stiff, but you don’t want to look like you’re a bundle of nervous energy.
After The Interview
After the interview, it is essential to follow up with a “Thank You” note. This serves two purposes. First, it tells the employer that you are grateful for their time and the opportunity to inverview. You want to do the polite thing by sending out a note thanking them for that. Also, a thank you note brings you back to mind which can be good if they are close to making a decision on who to hire.
And then, you are done with your part. It is now waiting time. You may get a call for a second interview or you will get a call to discuss salary and starting day. Congratulations!
If you are not chosen for the job, you may want to make a phone call to the person who interviewed you and ask why you weren’t chosen for the position.
Simply explain to the interviewer that you are looking for ways to improve yourself for your next job interview and would appreciate his/her input.
Above it all, do not despair. You may have to go through several job interviews until you land the job of your dreams. You may also find yourself yearning to turn a beloved hobby into a business. Many people have done this. Like them, you can Become A Successful Entrepreneur and realize great success. Remember… it is YOUR life and YOUR time to decide what to do… feeling fulfilled will allow you to live a happier life. Isn’t this what life is all about?