Top 10 Interview Tips
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By Aimee Hosler | Apr 30, 2012
You have a killer resume highlighting your strong work ethic, and your college transcripts prove you know your stuff. You should be a shoe-in for that job, right? Wrong. When it comes to the career world, employers aren't just looking for brainiacs and overachievers, they want personable employees who can think on their feet. That is precisely what job interviews are all about -- proving that you can stay cool under pressure, not to mention pretty darn likable. For most people, that requires a little thought (and a whole lot of practice). These top 10 interview tips can help.
10 ways to ace your next interview
1. Be there.
The phrase "fashionably late" does not apply to job interviews where running a little behind could cost you a great opportunity. Show up early -- it will give you time to work out your pre-interview jitters while showing your future boss that you have your act together.
2. Be prepared.
When Miguel de Cervantes said that "to be prepared is half the victory," he might as well have been talking about a job interview. Showing up to your interview bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with your resume in-hand will make a great impression right from the get-go.
3. Keep it neat.
Potential bosses appreciate a relaxed interviewee, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't dress to the nines. Don your best business-appropriate attire, a snazzy briefcase and a warm smile.
4. Study your freshly-pressed pants off.
You wouldn't show up to your chemistry final and expect to pass without studying, right? Apply the same mentality to job interviews where employers get to drill you for an hour or two. Research the position and company thoroughly and make flashcards of common interview questions; that way you'll be prepare to tackle anything that comes your way (even if you're nervous).
5. Know thyself.
Employers stage interviews so that they can get to know you, so be prepared to talk about yourself. Sure, you know your education and work experience, but are you ready to discuss your greatest strengths and weaknesses or recall a situation that you found challenging?
6. Keep your chin up.
A big interview may leave you feeling like a basket of nerves, but now is no time to be meek. Instead, appear confident (even when you are feeling anything but). Keep your chin up, make eye contact, and speak clearly and directly.
7. Wear your listening cap.
Everybody appreciates feeling heard, and that includes potential employers. Remain present: Listen to your interviewer carefully and ask thoughtful questions.
8. Be upbeat.
Enthusiasm is infectious, and employers (not to mention most business majors) know how valuable positivity is in the workplace. Try to remain upbeat during your interview and impart a sense of optimism whenever you can.
9. Reel it in.
Employers expect you to be honest, but tactful. Keep your answers within the frame of the question and resist going into tangents about how horrible your former boss was (or how the Niners should have made the Super Bowl).
10. Mind your manners.
It is amazing how far courtesy can carry you in a job interview (and in life). Mind your pleases and thank yous -- they will score you major job points. Also consider sending your interviewers a note afterwards thanking them for their time -- this not only makes a good impression, but keeps you in their thoughts.
Find help when you need it
Sure, college provides you with the smarts you need to excel in your chosen field, but most schools also offer other career services. Most campus-based and online colleges have career counselors and specialists who can help you find, get and keep a solid job. Some even offer resume and interview coaching. Take advantage of these services -- they are invaluable.