For those of you job hunting out there, we all know which part of the process is the most nerve-wracking: the dreaded job interview. Just thinking about it gives the bravest of us anxiety. But the good news is that there are tons of ways to prepare for success. Here are six methods I’ve found to be the most helpful when it comes to gearing up for a job interview:
1. Do some research
You don’t have to know everything under the sun about the company you’re interviewing at, but here are three things you should definitely research before you walk in there:
- The company’s website and blog—Find out what the company does, their main goals, and how your skills fit in with those goals. Does this company support something you’re passionate about? Now is the time to find out because a little enthusiasm in an interview goes a long way.
- The person who’s interviewing you—I admit this can feel a little creepy, but it’s definitely in your best interest to jump on LinkedIn and learn about your interviewer. If you have things in common or their past experience really interests you, it can be a great conversation starter.
- The job description—Hopefully this goes without saying, but know the details of the job you applied for and what you’ll be doing at the company. While we’re on that subject, also take five minutes to glance through your own resume. Anything on there is fair game for your interviewer to ask you.
2. Practice, practice, practice
I know it sounds hokey, but practicing your interview with a friend, a mentor, or even yourself in the mirror will get you ready to present yourself and your experience. There’s also a lot of great resources online to help you think about what your interviewer might ask, like this great article from Forbes on the 50 most popular interview questions.
3. Think about your long-term goals
Where do you see yourself in five or ten years? What’s your ultimate dream job? What are you doing to get there? Articulating these important ideas about yourself will go a long way in any interview and show your interviewer how thoughtful and valuable you really are.
4. Find ways to translate your military experience into civilian terms
If you’re applying for jobs outside the military, you’ll want to present yourself in the best possible light. You’ve gained so many skills in your military career that any employer would want on their team, so now it’s your job to help your interviewer understand all the reasons why your background is great. Here’s an awesome blog post on how to do it.
5. Plan ahead
Figure out the logistics of your interview before the big day arrives. Put together your most professional outfit for the occasion and make sure you know exactly when and where your interview is happening. Also make sure you have the contact information of your interviewer or the recruiter who found you. If you get caught in a huge traffic jam, you’ll want let your interviewer know exactly what’s happening. And yes, this scenario has happened to me.
I know this can be a very tall order. For most us job interviews can be more stressful than public speaking, but whatever you have to do to calm yourself down before you walk into your interview, do it! Be positive, be friendly, and smile because at the end of the day, your interviewer just wants to get to know you.
Looking for even more job hunting advice? Check out this great post about creating a professional LinkedIn profile.