Job hunting is a long process. You have to work on the resume, write individual cover letters, fill out long online forms, and you may not even hear back. It can be frustrating, especially when the company does not even bother to send the rejection email. You sit around waiting, wondering if you still have a chance or not. But, when you do finally get an interview for a job that really excites you, it is your one shot to get that job. That is a lot of pressure! Here’s how to not mess it up:

  1. Research the company: This may seem simple, but many people do not do enough research before an interview. You should study the company’s website inside and out. Know their story, know who you are meeting with, and know what is expected of you in the position that you are applying for.
  2. Know your own resume: You will be asked detailed questions about what you have listed on your resume. Make sure you have some interesting points about previous jobs to tell in the interview. Think of ways that your previous experience can help with the job you are interviewing for. Even if you do not have experience in that particular field, get creative in finding ways to twist what you have learned into something useful for the employer.
  3. Create your story: More than just talking about your work and educational history is your own personal story. Employers will want to know why you are interested in working in the field that you are interviewing for. Prepare something unique to say about yourself that will make you stand out from other candidates.
  4. Practice the interview: Whether it is with a friend or in front of the mirror, practicing for the interview is one of the best ways to be prepared. If you are practicing alone, think of questions that you may be asked and answer them accordingly. Remember to smile, be calm, and sound confident.
  5. Prepare questions for the interviewer: This is where you can really show that you have done your research. You should ask questions about the company itself, the person that is interviewing you about their time with the company, logistical questions like benefits, and anything else that shows you are very interested and prepared.
  6. Be positive: There is nothing worse than a candidate bashing old employers! If you are asked why you left a job, instead of saying, “because my boss was a jerk and wouldn’t promote me when I deserved it,” say, “I did not see any advancement opportunities within the company when I was ready to take on more challenges, so I thought it was best to move onto something else that better suited my skills.” Being positive is important. No one wants to hire a negative employee!

The more comfortable you are, the better your interview will be. It is hard to act confident when you are nervous, but just smile, be polite, listen to what the interviewer is asking, and form responses based on your research, experience, and what you think the employer may be looking for in an ideal candidate.

If you follow these six ways to prepare for an interview, you are likely to ace it! Good luck!

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