Getting prepared for that job interview

With your degree in your pocket – or very soon to be – you are probably looking forward to starting work. There is at least one major hurdle in your way, however, and that is the job interview that will be conducted, whatever the nature of employment you are looking for.

So much is likely to hang on the interview – and it is most unlikely to be the only time you face it – so a degree of nervousness and apprehension is more than understandable.

As with many of life’s major events, however, preparation is everything – and may even calm some of those overwhelming nerves:

Your CV

  • whether you wrote it entirely off your own bat, or had the help of a professional service such as 10minuteswith.com (which we recommend checking out – it’s free to join ) it’s important that you know the contents of your CV (your curriculum vitae) inside out;
  • a CV is yours and is unique to you – if you do not know what it is all about and the way it is designed to cast you in the best possible light, there is little chance of it impressing a potential employer;

Your (prospective) employer

  • as well as a thorough familiarity with the contents of your CV, try also to discover all that you can about the employer about to interview you and the job you are hoping he or she will ask you to do;
  • if you are applying to a large corporation, the website is clearly an important port of call to learn about the organisation as a whole, but also about the department or section in which you are hoping to work;
  • even smaller companies have websites these days and a familiarity with the overall culture of the enterprise may be picked up here – and simply by asking around friends, contacts, former and existing employees about their experiences;

Before the big day

  • anxiety is almost certain to be mounting before the big day itself;
  • try to keep calm and carry on, as they say;
  • different people have different methods, of course, so it is very much a question of whatever works best for you;
  • you might find it helpful to give yourself just a little distance from the research you have been doing about the company and the job and instead find ways to relax – preferably out in the open air;
  • remember that the time for celebrating is once the job is safely in your pocket – a night out on the town simply to celebrate having been called for an interview is unlikely to leave you looking your sharpest and brightest the following morning;

Come the day

  • there is no turning back now – it is time to take the bull by the horns;
  • doing this successfully is likely to call on your reserves of confidence and determination, whilst at the same time appearing outwardly calm;
  • a lot may depend on the detail – creating a good first impression may rely not just on your confident bearing and assured tone of voice, but also in the way you have chosen to dress;
  • as interview questions are fired at you, try to answer confidently but without rushing into saying the first thing to enter your head – a considered reply may leave a perfectly acceptable pause between question and answer;
  • further tips and advice on handling the stresses and strains of the interview are given on the official website of the National Careers Service.

Of course, any job interview is likely to instil a degree of nerves and tension – you might not be approaching it the right frame of mind if it does not. But a calm, confident manner, supported by the suggested steps in preparation may help you through the ordeal.

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