- Do your research. Take the time to research the company that you are interviewing with. Take the time to research the companies that you would "like" to interview with and take the time to research the "person" that you are interviewing with. Why? Because it gives you an advantage when interviewing. When researching the company that you have secured an interview with, jot down a list of questions to ask in the interview based upon your research. When researching companies that you are interested in interviewing with check their job boards and see if there is a job open for which you qualify. When researching the "interviewer," wow them in the interview by mentioning some of the things that you may have found that they are interested in. Example: You're being interviewed by David Carter. While researching the company you find that Mr. Carter was recently named employee of the month, or just received a promotion or orchestrated the company's volunteer effort with Habitat for Humanity. Casually mention it in the interview.
- Network, Network, Network! Networking is one of the most important things that you can do to advance your career to the next level. Whether you are an entry level job-seeker, an experienced hire or a seasoned professional, the relationships that you build or have built will be crucial in how your career progresses. In today's job market there are millions of job-seekers. If you have someone that can put your resume in the hand of a hiring manager, CEO, business owner or recruiter, it gives you the leg above the competition who has only "applied on-line."
- Resume Writing. Just because it's free doesn't mean it's good. If your mom, best friend or girlfriend wrote your resume, that doesn't mean it's polished and professional. While you can appreciate their effort to assist you, having an HR professional or Resume Writing company review, critique or reconstruct it, might be a good idea. Resumes are used to weed you in or WEED YOU OUT! Your resume is your first impression. Make sure it's a good impression and accurately represents your skill set.
I would also encourage you to have multiple resumes and that they are specifically targeted to the job and company for which you are applying.
- Interviewing Skills. Role play, role play, role play. I encourage potential candidates to role play their interview with someone. This will help to eliminate some of the nervousness by anticipating some of the questions and being able to better articulate your responses. I also encourage candidates to "prepare a short story." Oftentimes, interviewers will ask "Tell me something about yourself." They are NOT asking you to tell them things that are listed on your resume. They can read that. This is your opportunity to sell your "soft skills."
- Follow-up. The "Thank You" note is NOT out-of-style. Follow up with the interviewer with a short note (via email or handwritten) thanking them for the interview and reiterating your interest in the opportunity.
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