Searching for a job can be overwhelming, and it is often hard to know where to start. There are many things you need to do to create a resume and search for a job, but you can break down the process into manageable steps.
Our “Steps of a Job Search” series highlights these steps. As we go through, follow along with Patricia and Nate (our fictitious examples) to see how it works.
Job Search Phases
There are two important phases for getting a job:
Phase 1 is developing strong written materials (your resume and cover letter), so you can make it through the initial screening process. These were covered in Parts 1 through 6 of the Steps of a Job Search series.
Phase 2 is sharing your experience, enthusiasm, and people-skills during a job interview. Interviews are an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of the position while highlighting why you are the best candidate for the job. Spending time preparing for an interview can help you feel less anxious, and feeling more comfortable will improve your chance of performing well.
Job interview prep suggestions:
- Review the job posting. What does the potential employer want in an employee? How does your job history and experience address what the employer is looking for? Think of examples to share that demonstrate your qualifications.
- Research the employer. Google them and look at their social media accounts. Make note of things to mention during the interview that show you took time to learn about the company.
- If you know people who work for the company you are interviewing with, reach out to them. Ask them about the company culture and traits or skills you could emphasize during the interview. Ask if you can mention them in the interview, to help establish a connection with the employer.
- Check out the Telecom Toolbox blog post Questions You May Be asked During an Interview and practice answering standard interview questions.
- Think about general traits an employer is looking for, such as confidence and professionalism. Read the Telecom Toolbox blog post 5 Personality Traits to Demonstrate during an Interview and think about how you will show these traits in your interview.
- Think about the Questions to Ask a Potential Employer and come up with at least three questions to ask at the end of your interview.
- Prepare for the interview day.
- Print your list of references, and depending on the job you might want to have some physical examples of your work, or notes about some of your qualifications (such as examples of your writing, graphics you’ve made, or more details about some of your previous jobs, like positive customer feedback or compliments from your supervisor).
- Make sure you know how to get to the place where the interview will take place, including driving/travel directions and how to get to the room, if that has been shared.
- If you need any accommodations, make sure you have communicated those to the person who scheduled your interview.
- Think about your personal appearance. By arriving at your interview in a nice outfit and well-groomed (brushed hair, having bathed, wearing deodorant, etc.), you’re showing that you take the interview seriously and are professional.
- The day of the interview, try to be well-rested, and allow for plenty of time to get to your interview and find parking.
- Either before or during the interview, learn the names of the people who are interviewing you. Take notes during the interview, if you need to. Use their names during the interview, when appropriate, and after the interview send a personalized thank you note (see Step #9: Post-Interview Follow-Up for more about this).
Patricia got an interview for the bakery job. To prepare, she started by reviewing the job post and her notes. She remembers they were explicit about having to work early morning hours so she makes a note to mention her experience with early morning shifts. She also remembers the bakery needs help with their social media accounts. She does not know who maintains the bakery’s Facebook page and does not want to offend anyone by talking about how much work the account needs. Instead, she decides to say she is comfortable maintaining and developing social media during her interview, and will describe her experience doing so.
Since Patricia is interviewing in a bakery, she reviews her favorite recipes so she can share one if asked. She also spends some time thinking of examples that demonstrate her skills with customer service, fast-paced work environments, and time management. The day before the interview, she prints out her references, and drives by the bakery to make sure she schedules enough time to get there and find a parking space the following day.
Nate receives a call to schedule an interview for a job at the convention center. The scheduler tells him they are interviewing many people because they have a lot of positions to fill. Each candidate will get 15 minutes with a three–person panel who will ask each candidate the same questions. Nate knows his time is limited and he wants to be prepared to keep up with the fast pace.
Nate reviews the blog post Questions You May Be asked During an Interview and practices his answers to the questions. He also reviews the post Questions to Ask a Potential Employer and decides to ask them about the different positions and skills they are looking for. He wants a chance to address how he is a good fit for a job and share that he is energetic and motivated, something the ad mentioned specifically. He reviews the ad and the job service information and reminds himself of the keywords they used in their ads: energetic, responsible, organized and focused. He decides to use those words to describe his work style. The short interview format will offer him a chance to demonstrate those characteristics as well.
Interviews can be stressful, but being prepared makes all the difference. The suggestions mentioned in this blog post can help you prepare for an interview and improve your chances of a job offer. There is one more thing to do after interviewing to maximize your chances of a job offer: follow-up with the employer. See the next blog post for more information on that step.
All pictures from Healthy Community Living (www.HealthyCommunityLiving.org).