Get the Job You Deserve: 10 Tips for Ensuring a Productive Interview

Everything you write and say is a direct reflection of your image. Therefore, you want to project confidence and professionalism. Every time you interview, consider it a professional presentation; this includes your resume and cover letter. Your “job” is to sell the best product you have, which is yourself.

1. Clearly state your professional objective in your resume; don’t be vague.

2. Write your resume so that it is accomplishment-oriented and reflects what you did for your former employer; show how you made a difference.

3. Write your cover letter in an attention-getting manner that tells the reader something new or goes beyond your resume.

4. Ask yourself: “Why do I want to work for this company?” Knowing this prior to the interview helps define if this job is right for you. If you are uncertain about this answer, you may be interviewing for the wrong reasons.

5. Prepare for the interview by doing your homework and researching the employer. Use any resources you can, such as current business or trade journals, the Internet, or the business community at large. Jot down 3-5 key points on an index card to help you retain this information (or to use as a reference). The more you know about a prospective employer when you interview, the better off you are.

6. Treat your prospective employer like a customer during the interview. When responding to questions, frame your answer in terms of benefits to the company. Tell them “what’s in it for them.” A great way to do this is to picture yourself working at this particular company. Visualize yourself in the job you want and speak as though you are already doing the job. This infuses more passion in your answer.

7. An interview is more than having the right answers to the questions. It also involves thinking about what questions you want to ask, to probe and learn more about the employer. The more you get them to say, the greater your chances will be to add something meaningful and have a more lively discussion.

8. Sound confident when you speak about an accomplishment or skill you can offer the employer. Your mission is to “sell” you and your skills. If you can give specific examples or an anecdote, that’s always a plus.

9. Take notes to remember key points. You may want to follow-up on these during or after the interview. This will ensure you don’t overlook anything.

10. What you do after the interview is the last part of the process and is equally as important. A thank you letter or card is a very desirable touch and should be sent within 24 hours. Follow-up with a phone call to check the status of the job, once you know what the timeframe is for the next step, which you can learn during the interview.

By Dale Klein, M.A., Corporate Communication & Speech Specialist, © 2008, Profitable Speech, LLC A Sound Investment®. All rights reserved.