You’ve been coasting along at your “meh” job for ages. You’ve been contemplating a job jump, but now it’s summer and it’s been too hot to even think about making a change. Besides, there have been barbeques, baseball games, and days at the beach to occupy your job-hunting brain. But the end of summer is within throwing distance (at least here in the northern hemisphere); kids are already grumbling about returning to school; and your decorating junkie of a spouse is already salivating about pumpkin-scented candles. Real life is rousing itself from its three-month slumber. It’s time to move on from the “meh.”
But making that leap to a more productive work life takes…more work! You need a great resume and a fantastic cover letter. But after you’ve snagged an interview with your dream company, now you have to hit the ball out of the park during the interview! If you don’t get the job, someone else will land your dream job. We can’t have that, can we?
Never fear, I’ve collected some top-notch advice about slam dunking your interview in this month’s “The Help Files.” Go get ‘em, Tiger! And pick up some pumpkin candles on your way home while you’re at it.
Suppose you’re interviewing at a startup where everyone wears shorts and T-shirts. They tell you it is a casual atmosphere. So, how do you dress? Do you go native and dress similarly, or do you put on your Sunday best? Neither. Sandra Long of Secrets of the Job Hunt fills you in on the particulars.
You have applied for your dream job. Everything looks like a match. You researched the company on the web and you’re an excellent fit. You uploaded a great resume and an excellent cover letter. You even found out the hiring manager’s name and sent your credentials to a real human. And…nothing happens. The silence is deafening. You thought for sure they’d would fall over their own feet in a hurry to call you for an interview. One reason could be that you didn’t follow up, and someone else did. Careerealism’s Heather Huhman gives you another six reasons that you might not have thought about.
What do you do when the job you’re after is just a few rungs above your current qualifications? You could shrug your shoulders, give up, and “settle” for your current job. After all, you’re glad to just have a job, right? Or, you could decide try for it, and reach for the brass ring. You might just surprise yourself. Payscale’s Leah Arnold-Smeets has a few tips to help you overcome any possible inadequacies you might present and get that job.
You have landed the interview for your dream job. That’s great! Now what? How do you impress the interviewer enough so that the decision to hire you is a “slam-dunk.” Know what the interviewer wants before you arrive. That means doing your homework. Never fear,
Programmers I used to know would joke wistfully about working for Google. That was their dream employer. If you, too, think that working for Google would be great, you’re in luck. The guy in charge of hiring for Google shares his thoughts on how to ace an interview with Google. Jillian D’Onfro of Business Insider has the details.
Now that you have an interview scheduled, you need to find your dress shoes. Yes, the ones you wear to church. Those shoes. And you need your dress suit. Remember the one you wore to Great Aunt Maude’s funeral? That suit. Along with your Sunday best, you also need a ton of other things. For instance, you need to research the company. Hannah Morgan is here to help with the rest of the items, because “preparing for an interview is a job itself.”
You’re counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until your scheduled time. You’re jumpy because of that pot of coffee you swilled down an hour ago. Remember to dress like a grownup and act like one. If you don’t understand a question, don’t fumble around, ask the interviewer to rephrase the question. Jenny Treanor of the Brazen Careerist has more tips for you.
Back in my twenties, whenever I interviewed for a job, I always got the dreaded “Tell me a little about yourself” question. Fortunately, I can’t remember the pathetic answers I used to give. And that’s the key here. Don’t be pathetic. Instead, be memorable. Okay, so how do you give a memorable answer? Do what Ketaki Desai did. She tells you what she did, along with the why and how. Follow in her footsteps and you’ll have this question nailed.
At a certain point in every interview, the person across the table finishes grilling you, leans back in her chair, gives you a level stare, and says, “So, do you have any questions for me?” It was at this point in every interview many years ago where I was so frazzled and exhausted that I never had anything to ask. But you can do better now than I did then. Sit up straight in your chair, lean forward, clasp your hands in front of you, and fire off, “Why *wouldn’t* I want to work here?” This question should make your interviewer realize now, if she hadn’t yet, that you’re the candidate she needs to take seriously. The Young Entrepreneur Council has a pile of additional questions for you to ask right here at the Brazen Careerist.
You got landed the interview, you prepared, you dressed up, you polished your shoes, you showed up early, you nailed all the questions hurled at you, and then you hurled a few back. You thought you aced it, but no one has called you back. No job offer. Not even an offer for a second interview. Gulp! Maybe you messed up. Maybe you flubbed it somewhere. Maybe…. Before your mind starts racing too fast and your paranoia kicks into high gear, remember that employers and candidates operate on very different timelines. Your priorities are not the employer’s. For instance, something came up and got in the way. It happens. Alison Green of AOL Jobs lists simple, common-sense reasons why your dream employer has not called you back. Hang in there.
Have some tips or tools to share with your fellow technical communicators, information developers, and content developers? Drop me a note: HelpFiles@TechWhirl.com. Send me a Tweet: @craigcardimon.