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It’s Wednesday morning.
Most of your friends are well into their workday, slugging down their fourth ‘get-me-through-another-meeting’ coffee, laughing at the boss’ latest lame attempt at a joke.
But not you. Not today. Today, you’re headed to an interview.
If you are like most people, you’re thinking of 50 ways to shade the interaction to your favor, even as you’re terrified over the 100 ways it could all fade to gray. Doubts begin to rise, and your anxiety level along with them.
Here is a 1-2-3 combination of tried and true know-hows for turning any interview into a job offer and moving forward on the adventure that is your career.
#1: Know How to Amaze Your Audience
Every interview begins before you ever step foot through the door. Research the company, know what they are about and where they are going. Understand what makes them successful. Learn the culture of the work environment–and then imagine where you might fit in. Walking into your meeting understanding the company lets the interviewer know your level of interest.
#1 ½: Prepare for Possibilities
It’s also good to bring a few essentials along for the interview, like: extra copies of your resume and a functional pen or two; a bottle of water; a last minute breath mint; and a bottle of water. Call these your ‘just-in-case’ supplies. You can thank us later.
#2: Know How to Look the Look
Whether you are in an interview for an entry level job or looking to join an executive team at a Fortune 500 company, there is unequivocally a right and a wrong way to dress for the occasion. Dress in professional, comfortable clothing that is modest and neat, yet says something about your personality. Wear a light cologne or perfume (but not so much that they can’t breathe!). Take the time to look your very best, because there is something to be said about first impressions.
#2 ½: Know How to Talk the Talk
There is a time and a place for informality, and an interview is not it. Being friendly and having manners is good, but acting like you are best friends with your interviewer is not. Be sure that you are articulate, direct and honest throughout the meeting; look the person in the eye and shake hands with confidence. Be yourself, on your very best behavior.
#3: Know How to Sell Your Skills
If you’re wondering whether the experience you’ve accumulated has the punch to earn you the position of your dreams, put those doubts aside. Be sure to present the best candidate for the position: you!
When crafting your resume, it’s critical your language reflects confidence in what you’ve already done, thereby saying ‘Look no further.’ Use action verbs that are clear and direct. Don’t forget the less obvious skills–for example, teamwork IS a marketable point, so include accomplishments that illustrate it (and other similar soft skills)! Double check your double check for spelling and grammar mistakes. And then, once in the meeting, keep that confidence going; know your resume inside and out, and let the interviewer know why you will shine brightest on their team.
#3 ½: Know How to Follow Through on the Follow Up
As the interview wraps up, thank the interviewer for their time. Afterward, send an email, or more preferably a handwritten or printed note of thanks. Let them know that you appreciate being considered for the position. Trust us, they remember who follows through and who doesn’t.
The most important point when in an interview is simply this: be yourself and be humbly proud of what you can offer.