Let’s be honest. One of the scariest things about finishing school is the prospect of moving on and hunting for a good job in today’s competitive job market. Even if you’re beyond prepared with training for your desired role from Vista College, you’re still going to need to go through a job interview or two before you can land that dream job.
While almost anyone you ask might have a new story about what landed them their job, there are some tried and true strategies that you can use to help you impress your interviewer and nudge your foot further in the door. The days of getting an offer based on a firm handshake and a well starched suit might be behind us, but there might be something to the oversimplified advice our parents give us. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to improve your chances during a job interview:
Dress the Part
First things first. If you’re going to be impressing anyone, you’ll need to look the part. Sure, in a perfect world, everyone would be judged solely on the basis of his or her accomplishments. But because we live in this world, and not the perfect one, you’ll need to put some thought into how you dress when you go in for your interview. As a good rule of thumb, try to find out as much as possible before you go into your interview so you won’t be caught unprepared when the big day rolls around.
While many people will tell you to err on the side of caution and always dress a little bit more formally, this can actually count against you if you’re applying for a position in more casual industries like technology. If you go in for a job looking like you don’t understand their company culture, that’s going to be counted against you, either consciously or subconsciously. Try to get a feel for the company beforehand, and if possible, look to Google with queries for more information. Sure, grandpa’s starched suit might not be the look for the job anymore, but the idea that you need to “dress for success” is still just as valid today as it ever was.
Make Eye Contact
This one is a modern adaptation of the firm handshake. For potential job candidates, employers want to see someone who is able to take care of himself or herself, and that requires a bit of confidence and self-assurance. You can mention that you have those traits in your interview, but the best way to show that to your interview is to demonstrate it with your behavior in person. Making eye contact when you speak is going to make a stronger impression and convey your confidence better than mentioning confidence 50 times over.
Improve Your Posture
Similarly, employers are looking for employees who know how to handle themselves and can look professional and competent. It might just be a relic of evolutionary psychology, but we really do view those with better posture are better equipped to handle their duties competently and effectively. Even if you’re applying for an office role with little to no physical component, the impression still stands.
Tailor Your Resume
While this one should ideally take place a little bit earlier in the job hunt process, there is still some room for improvement right before your interview. When you go in for a job interview, you should always bring a copy of your resume and not presume that your interviewer will have printed a copy for you. When you’re looking over your resume beforehand, make sure that you’ve tailored it to fit with the role you are looking to fulfill.
If you’re applying for a position involving a lot of number crunching for example, make sure that your resume highlights your relevant experience and any qualifications that might show your skills in that area. When your interview looks over your resume, he or she will note these features and you’ll be placed in a better position to get the job.
If you need assistance preparing your resume, you might look to school resources like the Vista College Career Resources Center for guidance on the matter.
Use Active Language
This one applies to speaking and your resume. When you’re discussing your previous experience, you should try to use active language to demonstrate the active role you played in your company’s culture. Candidates that show a “can do” attitude and show that they have taken the initiative in the past to get things done are more attractive to employers for future hires.
Practice Your Talking Points
When you’re preparing for your interview, try jotting down some relevant talking points to help frame your personal narrative as to why you’re the perfect candidate for the job. Interviewers will often ask the question, “Why are you the right person for this role?” or “Why are you interested in working with our company?” As your starting point, you should prepare answers to both questions and practice answering them beforehand.
While you should present yourself in the most flattering light, try to avoid overstating your accomplishments, as interviewers can usually detect if you’re exaggerating your role. If you feel the need to embellish your experience, the job might not be a great fit anyway.
Prepare a few follow up questions to ask after you finish your interview, as these will help demonstrate your interest in the position and in the company, and help to show that you’ve done some research on them. When you wrap up, make sure to thank your interviewer for his or her time to show your appreciation and leave on a positive and pleasant note.
To learn more about Vista College and our options for students, contact an admissions representative today!