Break out the Pomp and Circumstance, it’s graduation time. Yah! While class of 2013 contemplates what’s next, college and/or work, solid interviewing skills will ease the transition.
Even for those headed to college, pertinent experience, summer or otherwise, is going to be crucial with respect to future employment. Start putting yourself in position now. In other words, if envisioning a career in architecture, for example, it would make sense to find a job in that field as soon as possible. A future employer will most likely pay more attention to that than a job at some burger joint.
1.) Prepare a professional looking resume and research the organizations with which you’ll be interviewing. In addition to what you’ve done, tell them how well you’ve done it. Use attention grabbing words such as “enhanced,” “generated,” and “improved.” Specific numbers and percents are also highly useful (for example: “increased budget 30% from $10,000 to $13,000). Remember also to keep it simple, creative, and verifiable. Doing some advanced research about the business entity will increase your stock in their eyes as well.
2.) Proper attire is critical. No pink leisure suits. Sharp dress is required for interviewing. Also, unless you’ll be interviewing with the Punk Rock Hall of Fame, lose the tongue rings, nose rings, and whatever other colorful accouterments that a real-world organization would find distasteful.
3.) Motivate yourself for a successful meeting. On your way there listen to your favorite music, visualize getting the job. Recall times in your life when you felt unstoppable and get congruent with that feeling. Confidence, not cockiness, will make the difference.
4.) Remember to put forth a positive demeanor: firm handshakes, solid eye contact, smiling, positive words, avoid invectives, gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity, upright posture, and of course no drooling, complaining, or whining.
5.) Be prepared with a list of appropriate written questions based on your curiosity about the job and the organization. Keep in mind that you’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you. Asking questions shows interest and initiative, qualities that most organizations love. In the process, without being too obvious, model the interviewers body language, inflections, and key words (people like people like themselves). Never leave an interview without a decision towards the next step. Say something like, “I’m really excited about this opportunity, is there any reason why I’m not right for this job?” Overcome any objections, if any, and find out what the next step is in the hiring process. Follow through on all commitments.
6.) Follow up. Write a thank you card or email and send it immediately.
I would always advise getting as many written offers as possible. This puts you in position to make the best decision. Have fun, be yourself, and enjoy your senior moments.
Steve Kirshenbaum, M.S. is an Educational Consultant and Founder of SAT Preparation Group, which specializes in in-home tutoring, SAT Preparation with a 200-point increase guarantee, college planning, and success strategies for teens. They can be reached at 877-672-8773 or www.SATPrepGroup.com.
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