Job Hunting and Job Interview Success Tips
Successful job hunting requires using certain techniques to make sure you stand out to potential employers.
Job hunting involves more than searching for open positions and sending your resume to employers. You also need to make sure you’re a good fit for the job, can catch the hiring manager’s attention and are well-prepared to answer interview questions.
- Know your career goals.
- Plan ahead.
- Get resume and cover letter help.
- Use all job search resources.
- Customize your resume.
- Research companies.
- Apply with confidence.
- Schedule informational interviews.
- Succeed in your current job.
- Network regularly.
- Identify examples of your skills.
- Prepare for interviews.
- Follow up.
- Expand your skills.
Succeeding in job interviews takes research, practice, and persistence. The more effort you put into your interview preparation, the more success you’ll see in obtaining job offers — especially if you remember and follow these 10 job interviewing tips. Finally, if you are still searching for even more information, resources, tools, and samples related to interviewing.
1. Know your career goals
You can’t succeed in a job interview if you don’t know what you want to do and how to accomplish your goals. Before you go on an interview, decide what questions the interviewer might ask and prepare responses that showcase your qualifications, experience, and career goals. You’ll also want to know the basic requirements of the job so you can ensure that you are qualified. You’ll show your interviewer that you have done your homework when it comes to learning about the company, its mission and goals, and even who you will be working with. Your potential employer will likely ask how well your personality matches up with coworkers in the position you’re interviewing for. Plus, by knowing your career goals up front, you are better prepared to handle unexpected interview questions.
2. Plan ahead
Before you walk into the interview room, know what stories or experiences you want to share with the hiring manager and why they pertain to the job responsibilities. Think about ways you can meet the needs of the employer and how you can make a positive contribution. Make sure to also identify examples of work experiences that support your story. If you know the types of questions that will be asked, then anticipate your answers and practice using them in mock interviews with friends and family members.
3. Get resume and cover letter help
The first step to getting an interview is submitting a resume or CV that’s on target for the job position. Although these documents are typically short, they should be powerful in their ability to communicate your qualifications and accomplishments. A resume is most effective when it highlights achievements, results, and experiences in detail. It shouldn’t include too many adjectives (i.e., “great,” “good”), since these don’t show the employer anything.
At the same time, be sure your cover letter includes specific examples of how you meet the job requirements and that it emphasizes why you are interested in working for the company. It should also describe your relevant skills and experience as they relate to the job responsibilities. In many cases, a cover letter can be used in place of a resume.
4. Use all job search resources
There are plenty of online tools and services you can use to find employment openings, from industry-specific job boards to reputable company websites where you can search at no cost using their corporate career portals. You should also look into posting your resume on job search sites, such as Monster.com or CareerBuilder.com, which are free to job seekers.
5. Customize your resume
Your resume should be tailored to each application and used only for the position you are applying for. Keep in mind that employers typically spend less than 30 seconds scanning a resume before deciding if it is worth more time or consideration. Thus, you’ll want to make sure your resume clearly highlights the most important information for the position.
6. Do your research
Before an interview, find out everything you can about the company where you’re interviewing and the person who will be interviewing you (including their name). You should know the company’s mission, goals, strategies, and challenges. You should also research the industry as a whole. This knowledge can help you show that you are serious about the job by demonstrating your genuine enthusiasm for the company’s products or services.
7. Be prepared to sell yourself
You’ll need to stand out from other applicants who are also competing for the same position. Think of your interview as a selling opportunity and be ready to convince the interviewer why you are the best candidate for the job. By focusing on what makes you different from other candidates, you can highlight how your talents will benefit the company.
8. Be honest with yourself
It’s important to prepare adequately before an interview, but it’s equally important to be honest about whether you possess the qualifications and skills required for the position. If not, don’t apply or accept a job you know you won’t like or excel at. You’ll only end up frustrated and unhappy in your career, which will hurt both your personal and professional life.
9. Don’t forget to follow up
Getting an interview takes hard work, but you don’t want to stop there. After the interview is over, send a thank-you letter to each interviewer within 24 hours. Keep in mind that your letters should be thoughtful and more personalized than what you may say during the interview itself. Since every interviewer has different strengths and interest, you should highlight what makes you valuable to the company. It’s also important that you mention again why you are interested in working for the organization.
10. Don’t stop applying
Don’t just apply for one job opening-apply for multiple openings within a single company or, if possible, at several companies. Having multiple applications in play shows prospective employers that you’re proactive, which can help give you an edge over other applicants.
There are many ways to find jobs and get hired for one. Networking is a growing trend among job seekers because it creates more and better opportunities and leads to less competition (Boltz, 2010). It involves developing relationships with people who may know of job openings or be able to connect you to someone who knows. Networking is also about making the most of every connection; following up, staying in touch and maintaining contact with your network (Boltz, 2010).
Good fit for positions requiring analytical skills and attention to detail. A self-starter, with the ability to work on multiple projects and meet deadlines. Must be able to handle an extensive workload of varying assignments simultaneously, while demonstrating strong leadership qualities and initiative. Strong interpersonal skills are necessary as well as the ability to motivate others and cultivate productive relationships with internal partners (Boltz, 2010).
A self-starter, with the ability to work on multiple projects and meet deadlines. Must be able to handle an extensive workload of varying assignments simultaneously, while demonstrating strong leadership qualities and initiative (Boltz, 2010).
Strong interpersonal skills are necessary as well as the ability to motivate others and cultivate productive relationships with internal partners (Boltz, 2010).
In some cases where a job has been filled, the hiring manager may go ahead and post another job that is similar or related to the first one just so you will keep your application on file. If the position has not been filled after a certain amount of time, it might be removed from their human resource page (Alcaraz & Bamberger 2008).
Many companies use social media in the recruitment process in order to find potential job candidates. Companies can look for certain keywords in people’s profiles, or may search for people who are already following specific companies (Cheshire, 2014).
While some hiring managers like to go through applications at their own pace, others may post a job that closes after 30 days and then review all the applications that were submitted within that time frame. If a hiring manager has two positions they need to fill right away, they might post one job opening for 30 days and then immediately post another job after those 30 days have passed, so as not to miss out on some of their top applicants (Cheshire, 2014).
Many large companies are fairly consistent with their hiring process, but smaller companies might change their procedures based on the time of year. For example, during the holiday season many retailers begin to hire extra workers due to increased business, which could mean that they will stop taking applications for seasonal positions after November or December (Cheshire 2014).
During the first week of September, many schools begin to hire teachers. If you are interested in teaching positions this is a good time of year to submit applications (Cheshire, 2014).
Many hiring managers feel that it is very important that an applicant can follow directions and provide the information they ask for. Candidates should be sure to highlight any skills or experience they have in the specific field they are applying to (Cheshire, 2014).
Another popular method of hiring is through referrals. This basically means that if you know someone who works at the company, or if someone knows of an open position and believes you would be a good fit, you may be hired before anyone else even applies (Cheshire, 2014).
Many hiring managers are faced with resumes every day, so if you send them anything except for a normal resume they may pass your application up. It is important to use the same layout and format as other resumes in the industry (Cheshire, 2014).
It can be helpful to have someone look over your resume before you send it in. For example, you could ask a professor or a former employer to take a look at it and make sure it is accurate (Cheshire, 2014).
It can be beneficial to talk about any volunteer work you have done or any organizations you may be part of on your resume. Many hiring managers like to see that applicants are involved and passionate about certain things outside of work (Cheshire, 2014).
If you do not have a lot of work experience it can be beneficial to highlight any skills that you have, such as language/computer skills. It can also be helpful to mention anything else about yourself that sets you apart from other applicants (Cheshire, 2014).
The following is a list of tips to follow when applying for jobs:
-Do not forget about the location of the job. Many people will overlook this and send something generic, such as their address and phone number rather than their zip code. This may prevent them from getting more interviews because they are not in an area where openings exist.
-Include a cover letter. Many people forget to include this and send in their resume, but hiring managers will appreciate being able to see how you present yourself through your words as well as your ability to market yourself. Hiring managers often look at the cover letter first because they want to get a general idea of the applicant before going into more detail on the resume.
-Be aware of how many jobs you are applying for at once. If it is more than two, make sure to send each application in a different way or use different resumes so that they do not get confused. Sending them all through email may be best because you will know where everything is, but sending one with a standard resume and the other with a more creative resume may be best.
-Remember that you are not the only person applying for jobs. Many people want to just send their information out through email or submit it online without following directions, but if they do not follow directions this can often mean getting their application thrown away (Cheshire, 2014).
-Be sure to tailor your resume for each job. Make it specific enough that the hiring manager can see how you would fit into their specific school or company (Cheshire, 2014).
-Remember to proofread everything before sending it in. If you make any mistakes on something like this it may make you look unprofessional and if it is the only thing you were able to get their attention with, they may rule you out (Cheshire, 2014).
-Be sure that every part of your application matches up. If your cover letter does not match what is on your resume or all of your experience does not seem like it would fit into one section, hiring managers may be confused and rule you out.
-You should always apply for jobs that are in your field of study, even if they are not what you expected to do after graduation (Cheshire, 2014).
-Finally, look at the job postings carefully before applying. Many people will apply without looking over the posting because they think it is the perfect job and end up not getting it because they do not match what is needed (Cheshire, 2014).
The following is a list of general rules that should be followed:
-If you are unsure about something, or if your application does not seem to be going anywhere, it can be beneficial to call and ask for help. This can be helpful if you are not sure about something or you need help differentiating yourself from other applicants (Cheshire, 2014).
-Be specific in your cover letter and resume with everything that is listed on the job listing. This can be beneficial because it will make you more likely to match up with what they are looking for (Cheshire, 2014).
-Remember that all of your accomplishments can be used on the resume (Cheshire, 2014).
-Always stay positive and maintain a professional demeanor even if you are frustrated. Hiring managers will appreciate this because it shows them how well you will represent their company (Cheshire, 2014).
-Set up interviews at convenient times. Many people will apply for jobs and make sure to get interviews when the hiring manager is not available, but this makes it hard to get interviews (Cheshire, 2014).
-Always send a thank you note after an interview. This will show them that you made some effort and that smoking cannabis was not your only interest in life (Cheshire, 2014).
-Do not get discouraged if you do not get called back. Many people start to get their hopes up when they are constantly seeing new job postings and getting interviews for jobs that were never mentioned before. This can be discouraging because it makes them feel like they are doing something wrong or like they are not good enough (Cheshire, 2014).
-After an interview, be sure to let hiring managers know (if you choose) whether or not you think the job would be a good fit for you. If it is not something that you feel like working at, then do not try to get it; this will make the hiring manager feel like they are wasting their time (Cheshire, 2014).
-Finally, if an interview is not going the way you thought it would, do not freak out or be rude. They are mostly likely just trying to see how well you will work under pressure and stress so they can tell if you are a good fit for them (Cheshire, 2014).
Part of interviewing for any job is wearing the right things and acting the right way. The following tips will help you:
-Be sure to be on time to an interview. If you show up late it may seem like you do not care enough about the position and that you are not a good fit (Cheshire, 2014).
-It is important to be calm and collected during the interview. Do not freak out or let your emotions get in the way. If you act like this they will assume that you are either unprofessional or too young to handle responsibility (Cheshire, 2014).
-When it comes time for an interview, do not let your emotions or your personal life get in the way. Many people, especially those who are young and immature, will try to bring up things that happened during their day as a joke or something similar. This makes it look like you do not take the interview seriously and that you do not treat people with respect (Cheshire, 2014).
-Do not use the phrase, “um”, or any other filler words. This makes it seem like you are unprepared and can also make them think that you lose focus (Cheshire, 2014).
-Be sure to bring extra resumes with you because they may need to keep yours for reference (Cheshire, 2014).
-Finally, after an interview always send a thank you note. This shows them that you made some effort and that smoking cannabis was not your only interest in life (Cheshire, 2014).
Although it may be important to dress up for an interview or for any other job related event, it is also important to maintain professionalism while you are there. It is important to:
-Remember that all of your accomplishments can be used on the resume (Cheshire, 2014).
-Do not get hung up on what happens during an interview. If it does not go as planned or if you were off topic, just keep going and do not let yourself get distracted (Cheshire, 2014).
-Be yourself and be calm. Many people think that they need to act a certain way in order to get the job but this is simply not true. The hiring manager wants to see how well you fit into their company not what you look like (Cheshire, 2014).
-Finally, remember that you are not perfect. Many people go into an interview thinking that they need to be the best but this is simply not true. The hiring manager knows candidates who are way better than you so do not put yourself down or think negatively about yourself (Cheshire, 2014).