So you’re close to graduating. It’s the middle of October and you’re freaking out because you’re done school in less than two months and you still don’t have a job.
Welcome to my life. Although my predicament is slightly different because I’m looking for a specific job, rather than any job, I’m still freaking out. I’ve got all the tools to get a job – a great résumé, a bachelor’s degree and plenty of experience, but how am I supposed to make someone else realize that I’m going to be the right person to hire when the only professional experience I’ve had are unpaid internships? I’m not going to lie, I’m very confident with my résumé and cover letter writing skills and my ability to network when it counts, but that’s only the first step to getting a job. What about the interview, and the second interview, and sometimes even the third interview? Do I have the skills I need to continually impress my future boss and make them believe I’m the right person for the job?
Thank goodness I have amazing professors and PR pros willing to speak at my PRSSA events, otherwise I might have missed a few of these key tips for going into an interview:
5. Appropriate attire
Always dress one step above the company culture and try to avoid wearing bright or busy colors. So save your favorite bright pink blazer or paisley blouse to wear once you get a job.
4. Always have questions
You know its coming, so there is no excuse to not have a few questions to ask when your interviewer asks “Do you have any questions for me?” Before your interview (and I don’t mean the night before), do some research on the company and come up with at least 3-5 questions to ask. This will show that you’ve done your homework and that you’re genuinely interested in the company.
3. Pause, and take a breath
It’s 100% okay to pause and think before you answer a question in an interview. Don’t feel as though you have to spit out an answer within 2 seconds. Now, don’t sit there thinking for 2 minutes, but 5-10 seconds is completely acceptable.
2. Know your weaknesses
This is another question that you know will come up in EVERY interview you have. And don’t say something like, ” I have poor writing skills.” Always make your weakness something that you can turn around and make a positive, such as “I have a hard time saying no. I get too invested in my work and sometimes end up taking on too many projects.” This makes you seem like you are passionate about your work and is a very easy weakness to fix.
Possibly the most important element to an interview is confidence. Sit up straight, smile and keep eye contact. Confidence will automatically make you feel more comfortable in any situation and give the ability to control the interview.