Preparing for the Interview
Your Two-Minute Summary: A Key to a Successful Interview
The job does not always go to the best candidate - it often goes to the person who is best prepared for the interview. One way to sell yourself in an interview is to develop a two-minute summary of your background and qualifications. You are not likely to use it in two uninterrupted minutes, but you should use segments as you respond to questions or volunteer information.
Prepare a Summary of Your Qualifications
Work up a two-minute statement on your education, training, and work experience related to the job for which you are applying. If you can't tie yourself into the job for which you are applying, why should the employer hire you?
Stress Achievements Which Are Unique
The employer likely knows where you went to school, what jobs you have held, etc. You need to add information on your accomplishments during those experiences. Did you campus group have great success because of something you did? What did you do in a past job which was of particular merit?
Slant Your Presentation to the Job in Question
Depending upon the job involved, vary the contents of your two-minute summary. Emphasize items which may be of particular relevance to the position for which you are interviewing. For one job, you may want to show how well you marketed past activities. For another, you may wish to demonstrate unique computer skills.
You Are Interesting, So Show It
Try to include one or two things which reflect your special interests - to humanize your application. Were you a competitive swimmer in high school? Did you volunteer on a political campaign? Has your family done anything which is particularly interesting?
Tell What You Can Do Well
By emphasizing your strong points which are closely related to the job in question, you will help link yourself to the position and subtly persuade the employer to hire you.
Combine All Your Qualifications for the Job
Be sure to dip into all your background to cite courses, summer activities, volunteer and community projects, past employment, etc., to pick from each experiences which help prepare you for the job.
Show Your Knowledge of the Employer
As you present your qualifications, you should relate your attributes to the needs of the employer and thus demonstrate your special knowledge of the particular organization.
- Use a firm handshake, exercise good eye contact, smile.
- As you approach the interview table, respect other peoples' privacy as they complete their interviews.
- Address the representative as Mr., Ms., or Dr. (check name tag); introduce yourself by name, major, graduation date and begin your commercial.
- Establish, eye contact, present a firm handshake, introduce yourself and explain why you have chosen this company/school.
- Present your resume and indicate to the recruiter your purpose for attending the career fair.
- Demonstrate your knowledge of the field/organization.
- Relate your skills, interests and experiences to specific needs of the employer.
- Highlight your previous or current work experiences that show your ability to perform related tasks and indicate your potential to acquire skills.
- Refer to leadership roles or volunteer experiences, coordinating committee activities, etc.
- Be responsive to questions posed by company representatives.
- Listen carefully, your conversation may yield vital information or leads that might affect the interview or lead to potential employment opportunities.
- Keep your hands free to take notes and shake hands.
- Ask for a business card and company information.
- Conduct yourself professionally at all times, remembering that you are on stage even as you stand in line or move about the interview area.