12 Things Every College Student Needs to Do Before a Job Interview
It’s about that time again, students. It’s time to find a job and get our butts into gear. No, this doesn’t sound fun or glamorous. But there comes a time where we need to set childish things aside and embrace the reality of adulthood.
Some of us, of course, won’t be ready. We will want to hold onto whatever we have left of the sweet, innocent (or not-so-innocent) fun of college. I’m sure this is making you very nervous reading this. You are probably thinking, “Oh no. Is it really that bad?” But don’t worry – with a little preparation, you’ll be fine. Here are 12 things to remember before you go in to your next interview.
1. Prepare your resume.
Most people hate this part. Others think that it’s just a waste of time. But in reality, it’s one of the things that will be the most helpful in moving forward in your career. Make sure you take your time to get everything down: all your achievements and activities; all your awards; everything relevant that you have done and experienced up until that point. It is important to show your future employer what you are made of and what you are capable of.
2. Do some background research about your potential employer.
This part is extremely important as well. You want to be sure you know what you are getting yourself into and who you are going to be working for (fingers crossed!). Doing a bit (or a lot) of research on the company you’re interviewing with will help you know your employer a little bit better and not go into the interview blind.
3. Get ready for any questions they might ask.
The worst thing you can do is answer a question from a potential employer by saying, “I don’t know.” What does that show? That you can’t think on your feet and are unprepared. Have a friend or family member prepare some common interview questions with you, and talk them out together. Get to know the field, and come prepared when a question is brought up that you didn’t think of. That way, “I don’t know,” isn’t the answer you have to give.
4. Prepare yourself to be graceful under pressure.
What’s more embarrassing than sweating uncontrollably and shaking in front of someone you want to work for? How about stuttering and knocking things over? Majorly embarrassing. Why not help yourself get over all that? You can be graceful in any situation with enough practice. Make an appointment for a mock interview with your campus’ career center, or have someone film a mock interview so you can see how you appear. Just give yourself the time to calm down and prepare for the interview. Don’t be nervous. Just remember, these are normal people too.
5. Stay calm.
This goes hand in hand with number 4.. There’s nothing worse than losing your cool during an interview. Your palms get all sweaty and your knees start to shake. Then all kinds of things start to run through your mind. What will this person think of you? What happens if you don’t get the job? What are you going to do if you don’t get it?
Let all those thoughts leave your mind. Try not to let them enter, either. Take a deep breath. Think of something that makes you happy. Be yourself.
6. Make sure you arrive to the interview early.
There are so many things you can do wrong when it comes to a job interview. We’ve looked at a few things, but the worst is showing up to the interview incredibly late. Even five minutes looks bad on you! If you can’t be early for an interview, how can they count on you to be on time for work?
7. Be friendly.
You don’t want to rub them the wrong way. If you are unkind and hostile, they will pick up on that. It’s an immediate turn-off. No one wants to work with a person who shows a terrible attitude. And no one wants to go work for a company that has rude and unfriendly staff. Would you?
8. Decide what kind of impression you want to make on these people.
The first impression is usually the impression that lasts in a person’s mind the longest. You believe that this is how the person is and always will be. So what kind of person do you want your potential future employer to think you are?
9. Don’t rehearse too much.
I know this might seem a little bizarre. We’ve grown up being told to rehearse over and over again when it comes to tests or plays. But that doesn’t always work for an interview. Most people think that performing in front of a big audience is the most terrifying thing ever. But ever notice how scared you might get when it’s someone who is in charge, and just you? And the added pressure that this may be the person you will be working with adds onto the terrifying factor. It’s important to do your research and be prepared, but being yourself and acting natural will win them over rather than a rehearsed, robot speech.
10. Don’t forget to breathe.
And breathe normally. Most people don’t notice that, in the moment, they forget to breathe. So then a few minutes into the interview, they are busy gasping for air, and look a bit like a lunatic. Or they will be taking short breaths that make them sound like they ran a hundred miles. Breathe normally. It’s okay.
11. Think happy thoughts.
You can be your own worst enemy. Everyone knows this. You psyche yourself out in anything you can potentially be good at. You second guess yourself when you think a decision is good, and no doubt you will do the same when it comes to the interview. Just think of things you know you are good at, and claim that happiness as your own. Use it to fuel your actions, and don’t be afraid to be the person you truly are. Positive thoughts go a long way.
12. Make sure your posture is good.
I know we are all used to being lazy and slouching over. It’s normal. We’ve all been doing it since we were in grade school. But that doesn’t always look good. Imagine watching a young person slouched over, or leaning backwards on a chair. Would you think they had the ability to be professional and work hard? Probably not. All you would see is someone who thinks they are so laid back and cool that they don’t have to lift a finger. Or someone who is so tired and lazy that they don’t even have the energy to raise their body fully upright. Image is everything.
Related: How to Get a Job with No Experience