Last week I was offered my first job.
I don’t mean my first EVER job, just the first one in journalism.
I would love to say to you it was easy and I filled out one application, had one interview and was offered the job, but no.
Like most people I had to fill out dozens of applications (55 to be exact) before I finally landed myself with this job.
I’ve had around seven interviews in the last two weeks, which has sent me all round the country and with each interview I have learnt so much about the dos and don’ts for job interviews.
So here are some tips.
It sounds obvious and it’s what anyone will tell you but it’s vital that you do your research.
Far too often I have applied for jobs and forgotten what the job description said when it came to an interview.
It’s so important to keep a copy of your application and the company’s job description. If you get an interview you can easily pull these out and it makes the whole process a lot easier.
I’ve gone to an interview before where they’ve asked me which role I’d prefer to do and I had no idea there was more than one role.
Needless to say I didn’t get the job.
Make sure you know what the company are looking for and that you’re able to demonstrate that you possess those skills.
More than anything, to stand out, do extensive research on the company. Find out who is interviewing you and learn about them and what they do.
What are the company’s aims? How do you fit in with them?
This will not only show that you are prepared but that you want the job and will work hard for it.
2. BE YOURSELF
I remember back to my first interview after my MA and oh dear it was appalling.
I was a nervous wreck. I may have appeared professional but I was robotic.
It’s so important to go in there and be yourself, be relaxed.
After all, you may have all the skills for the job but if they can’t see you fitting in with the team then you don’t stand a chance.
It may take a few attempts before you feel comfortable being yourself in interviews, that certainly was the case with me, but it’s worth it.
For someone like me who has anxiety this was the toughest thing to do, but once I cracked it I realised how much better it is.
3. KNOW YOURSELF
Again, it sounds obvious but it’s something that many people forget.
You need to know your CV off by heart. In interviews people often get nervous and that can sometimes result in forgetting vital information.
Make sure that you know what you were doing at each stage in life and why that is relevant to the job you are applying for.
It will help you relax and will give you more confidence going into interviews and you’re less likely to forget things.
4. ASK QUESTIONS
Sometimes the questions you ask in interviews can determine the outcome.
This is a chance for you to show the knowledge you have gained from your research. Is there something you want to know more about?
Not asking a question can make you appear unprepared and disinterested.
The one question I always make sure I ask is what the employer is looking for in a candidate. It gets them thinking and if the interview doesn’t go my way I know what to work on.
But do not be afraid to ask questions but make sure you ask the right ones.
It is fine to ask what the salary will be, but follow it up with other questions like what direction is the firm going in?
Remember, there are no stupid questions. If you need to clarify something then use that time to do so.
5. DRESS SMARTLY
An interview is about how composed you can be when it comes to selling yourself and it turns out not many people are.
Making a good first impression can save your skin if the interview itself doesn’t quite go your way.
A smart dress code is almost always advised unless told otherwise, which for girls can be hard to gauge at times.
Smart doesn’t always mean a suit. I have attended every interview with a blue shirt, beige trousers, smart shoes and a suit jacket.
It’s not the traditional black suit, but it’s smart enough and most importantly it’s what I feel most comfortable in.
It’s important to go to an interview feeling relaxed and comfortable. That includes wearing appropriate clothing.
I am not really a fan of dresses and skirts so I opt for trousers. The fewer distractions the better.