Good morning all!!
This has been a great week for me!! I went to bed on Sunday night with a ‘feeling’ that Monday was going to be a good day. Guess what, it really was! I found a bunch of interesting jobs to apply for and I got a call back for an interview (YAY!!!!). This finally felt as if my hard work had paid off. Funny enough this was a job I had applied for back when I was still in school, and of course since that day I have received a few more offers/signs that people may be interested (typical, but having choices is good!).
Anyway, so yesterday was my interview day, in the past I would say that I am not an interview person, I would let my nerves get the best of me, in hind sight I probably wasn’t doing enough research before the interview and that was causing me to not snag the job. So here I have a few of my tips on interviewing.
Tips and Tricks of Interviewing
- Know the employer. The second you get the call for an interview, hop on your computer and do your research. In the events world, websites will often tell you types of events they are involved with and what the values of the companies are. This can often give clues to questions they may ask, but also you can start thinking how you can relate your own experience to possible duties and responsibilities you would do in the new position.
- Always say yes. When you are doing a serious job hunt, you apply to some jobs that may not even be right up your ally, but heck you need a job right!! If this type of employer calls, or if it is a job that you like but maybe it’s not the pay rate you want (etc.) take the interview! I have gone to interviews determined that I would be the perfect fit, then seconds into the interview realizing that this was not a place I wanted to work. I have also gone to interviews that I wasn’t super excited for and was pleasantly surprised with what the job was and the team I would be working with. In any case treat every interview as practice. Even if you don’t want the job, you will be more prepared for the interview for your dream job!
- Know what you are great at. I used to go into interviews pretty much cold turkey, now I like to prepare. One of the steps I take is to write down three skills that I am great at. This sounds simple, but I have previously been asked this question when I was not prepared and I was stumped! I could tell you 15 areas where I felt I had a weaknesses or I could improve, but strengths…my mind was blank! If you are anything like me, gloating about your amazingness (not in a joking way–which I excel at) is tough sometimes. So throw the modesty out the door. Tell them why you are great and why the job is for you!!
- Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Interviews are often done in front what feels like the stuffiest, strictest and more intimating people you have ever met, but really they are just people looking for the same thing you are, a great fit for the job! The question period is always tough and you want to sound super professional, which you should, BUT you also have an amazing personality and that’s what they want for the job! In my past few interviews I have tried to lighten up a bit. I get very nervous, I mean heart pounding, feel sick to my stomach nervous, but while I speak in a professional manner I’m not afraid to answer a question honestly and bring in personal stories that really highlight me in both a personal and professional way!
- Do the little things. These are the things that your mom probably taught you as a kid when being polite to adults. First off shake hands with everyone who is interviewing you and look them in the eyes while you do it. At the start of an interview if they thank you for coming, don’t just say no problem, also thank them for having you and let them know you are excited to be there! Do the same at the end of the interview, let them know it was great to meet them, thank you for having me and I look forward to speaking with you soon! I also bring resumes with me. Depending on when you applied to the job, your resume may have been updated, also I print mine on nice paper, which is always a nice little touch. I have also been attaching my business card to it. If you don’t land that job, chances are they will toss the resume and keep the card, you never know when something more fitting might pop up!
- Bring a portfolio. Now this may or may not apply to everyone. Back in September, I would have said it didn’t apply to me and my career as an Event Coordinator either. Creating a portfolio was actually an assignment done back in the fall for my marketing professor. When she first spoke about it, a blank look came over my face, what the heck can I put in a portfolio?? In my mind portfolios are for architects and artists…not any more! I have created a portfolio with pictures of myself at events, event posters, tickets, any other event materials I have on hand. I also add thank you notes and letters of reference. I have even added in a few school projects and some pictures of my time in Forestry (I like to remind the employer that although my events career is not environmentally focused, that is still a huge part of me and my undergrad is not something to be brushed off!). So if you have a job where a portfolio makes sense create one! For me it has added about 10-15 more minutes in front of the interview panel, and as I go through it with them it is more personal and light-hearted and I really do think this is where they see me as myself and in my pictures they see me in action as both a worker and a volunteer.
- Just breathe. As I mentioned above, I get extremely nervous for interviews. I have no problem chatting with someone at a networking event about myself and my career but there is something about two or three against one, sitting across the table from you that is so horrible!! Although I can’t eat breakfast, my heart is pounding and I feel ill, right before I go into the room I take a big breath and remind myself that its JUST an interview. You are not going to be eaten by lions. You can prepare beforehand, but in the end just be yourself. Have you had a job before? Can you talk to humans and not just your fish? Do you have friends? If you answer yes to all or at least the talking to humans question, then you have a personality that people like. If your friends, family and past co-workers see something in you then chances are employers will see that too!
I hope these few little tips help, they have helped me in recent interviews and we will see about my interview I just had. I am sure I will post a little something something if I snag it. Good luck to everyone and I am sending my ‘good feeling’ vibes to you all so maybe you will also get a call back in the near future!!!
Until next time day dreamers!