By Kevin Donlin
Acing a job interview is like painting a garage. If you skimp on the preparation, your results will be poor ... and obvious. Just as you must first scrape and clean the surface before applying new paint, you must prepare thoroughly before applying for a new job at your next interview.
Here are four tips to help you do just that.
- Create an interview dossier to bring with you. You'll feel more prepared and confident if you have the following:
5-10 copies of your resume, to take to the interview and leave behind
5-10 talking points you've written down to remind yourself of your skills and goals
Letters of reference from employers/professors, with copies to leave behind
Your list of references, with names, titles and contact info for each person
- Visualize the successful interview in your mind's eye. This isn't New Age fluff-visualization works! It's used by the world's most successful athletes and public speakers.
By mentally rehearsing how you want the interview to turn out, right down to the job offer and salary you want, you'll put yourself in the right frame of mind and pave the way for a successful outcome. Try it and see!
- Know where you're going in advance. Drive to the interview location the night before, if convenient, to know the route cold. And leave yourself time for rush hour traffic.
(Please don't feel insulted by this obvious-sounding advice. I wouldn't be sharing it with you if I hadn't been on the receiving end of tardy interviewees myself!)
- Plan your exit strategy. You'll cement the good impression you left with interviewers by following up with thank-you letters. (Referring to our "painting the garage" analogy, think of this as water sealant, on top of the paint!)
For best results, bring blank stationery and write your thank-you letters outside the office. Then drop them in the nearest mailbox. Your handwritten notes will arrive with the next day's mail-talk about an easy way to stand out!
That's it! By putting in the proper amount of preparation, your next job interview can be a paint-by-the-numbers success story.
Best of luck to you!
Kevin Donlin is Managing Editor of 1 Day Resumes. The 1DR writers provide same-day, one-on-one resume writing assistance. He is also author of "Resume and Cover Letter Secrets Revealed," a do-it-yourself manual that will help you find a job in 30 days ... or your money back.