Experience and the quality of your resume matter, but they are usually not enough to land you a great job. Without solid interviews, you will likely be just another good candidate that gets passed over. If you really want that job you’ve been eyeing for years on end, you need to step up your game. Here is some advice on how to stand out during the interview process and get your dream job.
Do your research
Yes, years of experience in a certain field and an impressive resume can land you a lot of interviews. But they typically won’t guarantee you the job. It’s essential that you do your homework when it comes to getting to know the organization/company—as well as the position—you are applying for. This means more than just looking up their mission statement on the website. Talk to employees, owners and whoever else may be connected to the organization, and learn what their goals are and how they do business. Research the industry as a whole and get a feel for the organization’s place among the competition. Then, you can begin to think about how you can be a unique asset on the team. If you are unsure of any details about the role you are applying for, don’t hesitate to ask during the interview. Coming to the interview prepared with knowledge and thoughtful questions about the organization will show that you care about the organization and how you can help it.
You’ve heard it before: First impressions make a difference. In many cases, it’s true—especially when it comes to a job interview. You need to look your best. So, find out how employees dress at the organization and take it up a notch. If you don’t have the necessary clothes (e.g., dress shirt, dress pants, dress shoes, tie, jacket, etc.), either invest in some or borrow a friend’s. Also, grooming and personal hygiene are important, so make sure you have what you need to keep your appearance sharp. This means investing in new hair styling tools (e.g., hot rollers, curling irons, hair clippers), new makeup, or anything else that helps you look your best at your interview.
Show your excellent work
During the interview process, don’t tell the prospective employer about your excellent work and commitment—show them. Start with making sure your cover letter and resume are grammatically correct and free of typos, and if you are asked to submit a portfolio, make sure you are confident about the work you include.
Many organizations hire applicants for a trial period or assign tasks and/or projects before hiring them. This allows them to see how well the potential employee can solve problems and work with the team. If you are given this opportunity, do the job diligently and well. If your situation doesn’t call for such an assignment, it can help to have testimonials and numbers of how you have helped other organizations in the past.
Don’t ask about vacation days
In an interview, asking questions about your role in the organization shows that you care about doing a good job. But there are some questions you just shouldn’t ask, especially if it’s your first interview. For instance, don’t ask how many vacation days come with the position. Doing so can be taken as a sign that you’re not committed or driven enough to help the organization grow. The same goes with asking about salary. Remember that when you are interviewing for any organization, a prospective employer is looking for someone who is motivated and able to help the organization move forward—not someone who is just looking for money and time off.
Standing out in an interview doesn’t have to be difficult. Do your research on the organization and position you are applying for so that you can come to the interview prepared with relevant knowledge and ideas. Be sure to do whatever is necessary to look your best. Show, don’t tell the prospective employer that you are a great and diligent worker. And don’t ask about vacation days or salary until you have received an offer.