We spend hours, days, weeks, even months scouring job boards around the web looking for opportunities. We’re becoming social media gurus, forming connections and building our network in hopes to get a foot in the door with a great company. It all leads up to the interview, a 30-60 minute window in which you’re put on a platform and asked to prove your worth.
It can be a grueling process – and let’s face it, wherever you are on the ‘confidence meter’, no one is a fan of going through the interview ringer. It’s stressful, it’s frustrating, and talking yourself up can be a daunting task. You’re wondering how to cut your resume down to one measly page, what experience to include and what you’ll have to leave out. But rather than not saying enough, you may actually be saying too much.
There’s a common misconception amongst the job seekers of our generation. A potential company doesn’t want to know about you, they want to know what you can do for them. Your resume shouldn’t focus on personal qualities, it should focus on the results you’ve presented to your former employers. How much revenue did your contribution to the team generate? What new systems and practices did you implement? Stop focusing on yourself and start presenting the tangible, measurable and relevant skills that will benefit the company. Below are a few do’s and dont’s when it comes to nailing a job interview, from someone who’s ‘been there’ before and living in it as we speak.
DON’T get caught up in talking about your past, but relate your past experiences with clear benefits to the company you’re interviewing with.
DO limit your resume to one page. More than likely you don’t have an abundance of relevant work experience at this stage in the game, better to leave it off than exaggerate. Your interviewer can and will read between the lines.
DON’T talk down about your previous employment. Be honest yet optimistic. Put a positive spin on everything – if nothing else, every previous experience has taught you something and helped you develop into the person you are today.
DO tailor your resume and marketing perspective to the position you’re applying for. Your resume should continually adapt to highlight the assets you’ll bring to that particular job.
DON’T be afraid to say “I don’t know” – It’s a waste of time to dance around a question you have no answer for. Suck it up and admit that you don’t know, but would like to learn more.
It’s more than OK to be proud of all your accomplishments – but you also have to learn to accept that it’s not all about you. You could be a brilliant creative marketing mind but if you’re applying for an accounting position, they want to know how you can apply your analytical skills to enhancing company productivity (just an example). Do some research before walking into an interview, and tailor your approach based on the companies needs. When you stop talking about yourself and start talking about the value you’ll bring to the company, you’ll outsmart (and outshine) your competition.
There are no better experts than those of us who are out there fighting in the trenches. Share some career-seeking and interview wisdom in the comments below.