Interviews are uncomfortable, intimidating, and just plain SCARY! If you agree with this statement, keep reading this blog. I have some tips for you.
Many of us wish that we could go through life without ever sitting in front of someone (or group of someones) to “sell” ourselves. Interviewing is so unnatural. We are taught to be more modest than that, aren’t we? Very early in life, we’re told that bragging about what we do well is a turn-off to others. To a degree, this is still true. No one likes a bragger who is always trying to “one up” the next person. Even in an interview, you don’t want to come off as conceited or obnoxious. But you DO want to come across as CONFIDENT.
You need to be:
Confident in your education.
Confident in your experience.
Confident in your skills.
Confident in your ability to get the job done.
Confidence is a very attractive quality in a candidate. Every successful candidate has confidence. The question is: How can you develop confidence? I’m glad you asked! Here are some tips that I have used with clients over the years to boost perception. (I think my years as a cheerleader helped me out here!)
- Review your resume! A large number of job seekers have written or at least contributed to a resume. However, not many actually review it. Review it with a career coach, significant other, or friend--or with one of the Career Services specialists at Edits Made Easy! Talk about the various experiences you have had and what you were able to get out of each experience. Remind yourself of why that information was worth including in your resume in the first place. If you determine that is isn’t worth the ink on the page—take it off! But if it is worth having there, be able to explain WHY.
- Make a list. What are your skills? (HINT: If you’re having a hard time coming up with a list, go back to my first suggestion in an earlier blog post on transferrable skills. Your resume may need some help if it doesn’t mention skills—they are much more important to the job-seeking enterprise than the titles you’ve had, positions you’ve held, and jobs you’ve done.) After you’ve made a list of your skills, make another list of the skills that you know will be required or valuable in the position for which you’re interviewing. If you’re not sure about this, review the job posting, go to the company website, talk to colleagues who have compatible experience, or look up that occupation on an occupational website. (I suggest the O*NET online— http://online.onetcenter.org ) Once you have these two lists, cross-reference them. How many skills match? Are there any skills missing from your list that you can acquire? If so, you’ve got the answer to the age-old question, “What are your weaknesses?” You can say, “While this isn’t necessarily a weakness, something I’m currently working to improve is _________.” No one likes to have weaknesses. Think of a weakness as a challenge or opportunity for growth.
- Practice. It may not be true that practice makes perfect, but practice does make you more confident. Consider some interview coaching, or at least some role-playing with a colleague, a friend, or a Career Services professional. You will have an edge if you have heard interview questions before that will give you the chance to think about your answer well in advance. You won’t have to deal with that silence that fills a room while you’re flipping through possible answers in your head. Another bonus to this is that you’re less likely to pepper your responses with “umm” or “like.”
The trick to developing confidence is reminding yourself of how great you really are. You’ll be surprised at how much you know and what you’re capable of when you take the time to remember your experiences and how they relate to your career path. That surprise will turn into confidence that you can get the job done and should be the successful candidate.
Watch out INTERVIEWERS—here we come!
This article is archived from the original Edits Made Easy website and is re-posted here to our new blog under a new date.