Developing Your Resume and Preparing for the Interview: Part 3 of a 4 Part Series

Posted In: First Jobs
Posted On: 5/23/2013

Preparing for the Interview  Interviewing is intimidating, even for the most seasoned professional. But there are several things that you can do to enhance the probability that you will rock! First, make sure you really have your three key messages memorized so well that they’re a natural part of how you tell your story and you have terrific examples to back up these strengths. You want to stay on script and avoid saying more than is necessary. One of the biggest mistakes that people make in interviews is that they start to ramble. This happens when you are nervous and begin to veer off your plan. Second, rehearse answers to the most commonly asked questions (I’ll share a list of them in my next blog post). By anticipating the questions you’ll need to answer, you can decrease your level of nervousness! Third, do your homework on your company. Although most of the interview will be focused on your background, you need to be knowledgeable about this company. Here are a few tips to prepare your background information:

  1. Do a Google search for recent articles about the company.
  2. Check out their Facebook page, like them, and see what people are saying about them.
  3. Browse their website and learn about their product line, mission, recent media releases, etc...
  4. See if you know anyone on LinkedIn who has worked for them. If you do, reach out and ask some questions.

Finally, it is hard to know what to wear to a job interview. Perhaps you know in advance that it’s the company culture to wear jeans every day, but your gut tells you that is too informal. But if you walk in wearing a suit, you might as well have a sign on your back that says, “Kick me. I’m a geek!” Here are a few considerations:

  1. Wear something that makes you feel confident and in control. For example, if you don’t normally wear high heels and a skirt, don’t buy them for this meeting. You will just feel uncomfortable and will be focused on not tripping. We need you thinking about your quality interview answers (that you meticulously prepared in advance), not your wardrobe choices;
  2. It is always better to be slightly overdressed. In this case, if the culture is jeans, a nice pair of slacks and a sporty jacket with a cute shirt will fit the bill. If it is business casual, you might want to wear a suit with a tie, just to be slightly more formal;
  3. Overdressed does not mean dressed for clubbing. You may look drop dead gorgeous in that short, tight dress and four-inch heels, but unless you are interviewing at Vogue, it might be overkill. Besides, we want them to hear what you say, not be distracted by how you look;
  4. Details are important. A couple of examples: manicured nails, combed hair, complementary jewelry, shoes that are not scuffed or muddy. You don’t want the interviewer to be distracted by unimportant details.

So, you’re ready for the interview: you know your story, you’ve rehearsed and are ready to stay on message, you’ve researched the company, and you’ve selected an appropriate outfit that makes you feel confident and looks great. All that’s left is making the most of your opportunity to shine in the actual interview. So, stay tuned. In my next post I’ll share some the most common questions you can expect to answer and a few tactics to make sure your response is the right one.

Read the rest of the series:

  1. Developing Your Resume
  2. Your Three Key Messages and Your Cover Letter
  3. Preparing for the Interview
  4. Interview Questions to Expect