Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Work It: Interview Tips

With a second interview in the works for a position I applied to last week (Thank God for his favor, I know a full-time job is coming real soon!),  I want to pass along some of the tips I've found that have been helpful to keep in mind for interviewing and the job search in general.

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(So I didn't expect to have so many US News articles.  I only had one originally, but the site just kept suggesting related articles, and I figured it couldn't hurt to share.)

My personal tips:

1. Always apply to the most recent postings first.  Perhaps this is obvious, but it's worth mentioning.  The applicant pool is much smaller at the beginning of anything, so just like school apply early.  You're more likely to hear back from employers faster if you do this.

2. Volunteer work is work.  This time around I did list two significant leadership volunteer experiences (including an unpaid internship).  I've found that hiring managers won't necessarily hold this against you if you've have some really significant volunteer experiences as a program coordinator or some other kind of leadership position with a lot of responsibility.  Just make sure it's significant and relates to the job in question; if it's just something nice you did, but isn't highly relevant to your qualifications for the position I wouldn't bother.  Also, if you do have something to list, make the distinction that it was volunteer work.  I think it can say something about your work ethic and your interest in whatever field when you're willing to temporarily work without compensation.

3. Sometimes position descriptions can seem intimidating.  Applying for jobs this time around I've learned not to limit myself.   If you meet the minimum qualifications, even if you don't have experience with certain aspects or responsibilities, then go for it!  Chances are they will provide you with any training they think you need.   If you're not qualified, you won't hear back from them.  No big deal.  Also, what you actually end up doing may be slightly different then would the description suggests anyway. The job may not be as complicated as it seems (this means you were actually qualified for the position!).

4. Before your interview, review the job description and write out a map; connecting your qualifications, experiences to the description.  Think of it as defending your qualifications on paper.  I did this for my second interview this time around, and it helped relax me for the interview.  Even coming up with answers to hypothetical questions is good preparation, even if you aren't asked the same questions.  It's helpful to look back on all you've done and consider what you've learned, what value/skills/knowledge you can bring to the position, and how different experiences help qualify you for the position.

5. Lastly. the worse anyone can ever say is no, leaving you open for other opportunity, so keep pushing.  Diligence pays off.

Anything else to add? Good luck!

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