Congratulations! You got an interview!
I’m not overreacting. I’m serious. Getting an interview is a big deal. It means that you already beat the other 500 applicants who may be as excellent as you are; your resume stood out in the rigorous screening. It also means you get to practice your interview skills in the real world. So now it all boils down to how you are going to impress your potential future boss on the interview. With the following items, you'll be in a good spot.
First off, no matter what career you are pursuing, showing your work is always a bonus point. A portfolio book can demonstrate your work ability, collect your past work and more importantly, offer a canvas based on which your employer and you can start a meaningful conversation about your career.
During the job seeking process, you should treat yourself like a product, and your only job is to sell it. By all means and with all efforts, you need to get the attention of an employer. Consider the one-sheet flyer a fancy version of your resume. Try your best to design it. Highlight your strengths, bold your name and color print it in good quality paper.
In the digital age, you don’t want to show off your portfolio on paper. Neither will your interviewer want to see them on your phone, no matter how big the screen is. So charge your laptop or your iPad in advance and be prepared to use them when the interviewer asks, “So, what kind of work have you done?”
Unless you have already had over 50 interviews and know exactly what you will say, prepare an opener. Think of how you can briefly summarize your experience and interesting life stories. One or two jokes won’t hurt either. The opener is important because it sets the tone and establishes the first impression of you on your interviewers.
Just in case HR needs it, think of three people who can be your references and bring their contact info with you. They should know you and your work pretty well. Talk to them and get their approval in advance. It will be ideal if any of them can write you a detailed recommendation letter with their signatures. They can be your coworkers, supervisors and/or mentors from an internship or a full-time job.
At the end of the interview, 99 percent of people will be asked, “Do you have any questions about our company?” This is a great opportunity to show your interest towards them, and also your emotional quality. So, be smart. Ask questions about your future work responsibility, projects you will be assigned instead of “How many vacation days can I get?”
Opportunities are for those who are prepared. Never walk into an interview thinking you can just wing it, even if you look like Brad Pitt. The better you are prepared, the higher chance you will get the job. Good luck!
(Photo credit: Creative Commons.)