Over the last few months Dean and I have been actively job hunting. I forgot how painful this process is! I feel like I have a hundred different resumes for various jobs and then I have even more cover letters. My computer is overly packed out with personal information, but of course these are just the beginning. You still have to fill out the individual job applications, maybe go through a background check and then you’re waiting for a call or email to show up. And then after days/weeks/months, you’re lucky to get a few interviews. This job hunt thing is no joke! So when I get a call requesting an interview, you better bet that I’m going to do everything I can to put my best foot forward. Here are my favorite tips…
Last week we talked about how to research and mentally prepare for an interview and I promised a follow up. While being mentally prepared is SUPER important, it’s not enough. It’s kind of sad, isn’t it? You can give amazing answers all day, but if you don’t look the part then you just might lose out on that job. Don’t let this happen to you!
- COME PREPARED– Remember when we were talking about bringing a list of questions for you to ask your potential employer? Well it wouldn’t look right to just waltz in with a folded paper filled with questions in your back pocket. We want to look professional and fully prepared. So this means you’re going to bring a sleek portfolio with you. Inside that portfolio you’re going to have the following:
- multiple copies of resume (on nice paper!)
- copy of references (also on nice paper)
- questions for the end of your interview
- extra paper or a small notebook
There may come an interview where a professional doesn’t have your resume on hand or maybe they ask for a list of references at the end of your meeting. Sure you can follow up with this stuff later, but why wait? Before your interview head out to the store and buy some nice resume paper. Print a few extra copies of both your resume and references to have on you just in case. Then because those follow up questions are so important, you’re going to have your favorite written down for your self with some extra room/paper for you to take notes if needed.
- PUT THOUGHT INTO YOUR OUTFIT– This is one we all have heard before, right? You are what you wear, after all! When it comes to interviews, I think you’re way better off over-dressing compared to under-dressing, but that doesn’t mean that everyone should wear the same suit and call it a day. You want to wear what best fits you and what best fits your industry. You want your interviewer to see you fitting in with their company, and you want to feel great about how you are presenting yourself. It’s just another reminder that this interview business goes both ways! I work in higher ed, so there are definitely times that we have to wear suits. With that in mind, I’ve always worn suits to my interviews. However, Dean works in the fitness field. He’s worn suits to some interviews and slacks and a nice polo to others. Nicole also gave a great example when she showed off what she wore to her recent creative interview. It totally depends on the company you’re interviewing for. However, if you find yourself stuck go for nice slacks, a great blouse, a power blazer, and a sleek bag. (mix and match options below!)
- FOLLOW UP– Before going to my first ever professional interview, I sat down with my college’s career center. Here I got tons of great tips like the ones I’m sharing with you here. One of those tips was to write a follow up letter fitting for the person who interviewed you. Take some time to seriously think about this. It may seem trivial, but following up the right way can really have a big impact. Are you applying for a tech based company? A thank you email is probably just fine. Are you applying for more of a creative type job? Maybe you can create your own thank you card to send! My first boss was very professional, and a bit more on the traditional side. I ended up typing up a more professional letter and printing it out on resume paper. I signed my letter and since I lived nearby, I handed it to the front desk woman the next business day. I got a phone call within the hour that the director had received my letter and wanted to offer me the job.
- Also, remember that extra paper you brought with you? Here’s something very important to write down: the names of your interviewers. I always suggest getting yourself a business card of your interviewers, but sometimes the person won’t have one for you, or maybe you’re doing a phone or skype interview and you can’t get one. It’s a good idea to write these kinds of things down just in case, because you’re going to want to refer to these names when following up. Because you’re going to follow up right? Of course you are!
So I know that’s a lot of information, but being both mentally and physically prepared are super important. Does one of these tips stick out to you? What’s the best interview advice you’ve ever been given?