At Platinum Resumes, our clients come to us from all walks of life, approaching the job search game from a variety of different angles. We see a little bit of everything along the spectrum of life, working with individuals who just graduated from college and with men and women who just recently became grandparents. There are those who have spent the better part of their career in high level executive roles, as well as those who have barely gotten their feet wet in a career.
If you are fresh out of school, then you might be feeling inexperienced yet well prepared for your first big interview. Although you don’t have many interviews under your belt, your recent education has provided you with the basic how-to’s of going about it all, and you feel like you are at a comfortable starting point. However, a professional reality check would remind you that you need practice to advance our game and sharpen your interview etiquette. Book knowledge doesn’t really compare to personal experience.
For those who are switching jobs after a very long tenure, you may find yourself frozen in the face of a key interview. Although you feel good about your resume and the aptitude and potential that it reveals, your ability to discuss your career highlights in front of a hiring manager or corporate team sounds terrifying. It has been a long time since you have had to dress and speak the part for an important interview, and you could use a little assistance in preparing for the big day.
Regardless of what interview skills you do or do not bring to the table, there are a few major elements that you must keep in mind.
- Professionally Authentic… You need to be authentic and honest in your approach but represent the most professional version of yourself. This company is not looking for a cookie cutter version of the guy in the next cubicle over. They want someone who is comfortable in their own skin yet not so comfortable that they cannot respect and adhere to company policies and procedures. Stay within the guidelines but don’t feel pressured to do and say things just like the next guy.
- Dressed to Impress… Although this seems obvious to anyone approaching an interview, it never hurts to be reminded just how much appearances count for in these brief moments you have to make an impression. This might require reaching to the very back of your closet, reaching into the closet of a friend or reaching for your wallet to purchase something new. Regardless of the atmosphere and dress code that this particular company believes in, you should always take it a step further and present the most polished version of what you have to offer. If jeans are appropriate, then wear your best pair. If a suit is expected, then don’t second guess the decision to run it by the dry cleaner’s first. A neat and orderly job candidate whets the appetite and curiosity of the hiring manager.
- Confident Humility… No one likes a show-off. It’s the lesson we learned as kids and connect with even more as adults. However, in professional situations such as job interviews, how can you plead your case and toot your own horn in a necessary way without appearing over the top? This is an area where practicing for your interview is very helpful. You must learn how to answer questions and describe your strengths and weakness with humble confidence. You might have the knack for managing a building full of employees while securing a million dollar profit, but you must exhibit your talent with a level head. Make sure the interviewer knows what you’re capable of getting done, but, also, make sure they know that you are going to get it done as a team player.