If you have bothered writing a resume and cover letter, then preparing for and going through a interview, you might think it’s pretty obvious you want the job. Even so, many hiring managers actually want to hear you say it. Here are a few tips on how to go about doing that.
After all your hard work perfecting your resume and writing an on the mark cover letter the last thing you want to do is bungle the interview. Here are ten common interview pitfalls. Be aware of them and you won’t fall in!
Not Dressing the part
Remember you are making a strong impression on your interviewer before a single word comes out of your mouth. Even if the job or workplace is on the casual side that doesn’t mean you come into the interview wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. Come in looking like a professional. Whether the interview is formal or casual, here are a few tips from the balance careers
Plan your route the day before your interview and check expected traffic conditions the morning of so you can plan to arrive fifteen minutes early. That way if there are any unforeseen problems you’ve given yourself some buffer time. If something does come up that makes it impossible for you to arrive on time get in touch with someone at the location and let them know.
Forgetting your phone is the enemy
As soon as you arrive at the interview turn your phone off. If it rings, if you play with it, if you are distracted by it, you are letting the interviewer know exactly where your priorities lie.
Ignoring your homework
Prior to the interview you should have researched the company in detail, read their website, perused all their social media sites. Have a fact or statistic about the company in your pocket to bring out when the opportunity arises.
Ignore the impulse to embellish your skills and experiences. First off, honesty is always the best policy. Second if you are not caught in the lie during the interview (a few probing questions is all it will take) it will come back to haunt you should you get the job.
Failing to listen
No matter how nervous or distracted you may feel, it imperative you give the interviewer your full attention. You do not want them to have to repeat what they’re saying.
There is a time to talk about benefits and salary, but that is not at the beginning or middle of the interview
Not tooting your own horn
You don’t want to sound overly confident in an interview (or appear overly nervous) but you do want to convey your strong attributes. Be able to explain how your experiences and strengths will benefit the company. Make sure they understand you believe yourself the best person for this job and why before you leave the interview.
An inability to answer standard interview questions
Tell me about yourself. Where do you see yourself in five years? What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses? There are standard questions you will hear at every interview. Be prepared to answer them. Here’s a list of the 27 most common interview questions and answers from Inc.
Not asking for the job
Of course you want the job, you came to the interview dressed for success and prepared with all the right answers but the last thing you need to do is ask for it. That doesn’t mean ending with, Will you please give me this job? Rather summarize your discussion, ask if there’s anything else they need, and express your interest in the position again. Here are ten examples from US News
Whether you’re in charge of people or not, leadership is an essential characteristic for anyone looking to succeed in their work. No matter the industry or position, managers and bosses are always looking for people who have that special quality that allows them to lead. Your leaders are looking for great leaders to follow them.
But if you’re in an entry-level position, or there’s no one working under you, how can you become a leader? How can you demonstrate leadership to your manager or supervisor?
Leadership doesn’t begin with your followers. It begins with you. Frank Sonnenberg says, “People want to make a difference, they want to do work that matters, and they want to work for people who they admire, and who inspire them and get them excited about their work.”
Can you inspire your co-workers? Can you be someone your co-workers admire? It can start as simply as being positive and encouraging to your fellow employees. It can grow to a place where your co-workers are asking you for help because they know you’ll assist them without judgment. To become a great leader, you have to be someone people want to follow.
While some of your coworkers count down the clock until it strikes five, your commitment to your work keeps you focused on getting the task done. While some people take an extra smoke break, you’re diligently crossing Ts and dotting Is. A great leader is someone who stays until the job is done.
As an employee, receiving constructive criticism can put you on the defensive. A great leader however, takes criticism not as an attack, but an opportunity to learn.
Becoming a Great Leader
You don’t have to have a team to be a leader. In fact, you should start honing your leadership skills as soon as possible. Becoming a great leader has more to do with who you are, rather than how you treat others once you’re in a position of authority.
Every Monday we share the experiences of inspiring people or find inspiring quotes to bring motivation to the beginning of the week. Eventually our favorite quote was bound to come up. We’re happy to say this is that week.
Edge of the light
This short quote is actually the encapsulation of a very long story. The story of a person who has been toiling away at something for a very long time without success. Now they have reached the point where they feel like they’ve done all they can do. They’re at the top of their personal mountain. Looking off the edge they face a decision. Turn around and go back down the mountain in defeat. Or step off into the unknown and trust something will come of it. (They will learn something that will help them go on. They will meet someone who will help them. Circumstances from all their previous work will coalesce into the outcome they were working toward. An unknown something will happen.)
Or maybe it is the story of someone who has a desire to try a new thing, but they have absolutely no idea regarding how to start. They too are at the top of the mountain of their desire, faced with the same decision. Forget the whole thing, turn around and go back the way they came without giving it a shot. Or step off the cliff and trust there will be something solid to stand on, or they will be taught to fly.
Hard work, persistence, belief
When a person works hard at something with persistence and a strong belief in what they are doing, life has a way of reflecting that effort back in the form of achievement. Eventually. Your timetable and the timetable of your life may not have the same timelines. Often they don’t. However, if you keep going, even if you aren’t sure where your efforts are going to take you, you will get where you need to be. Step off the mountain. Trust your life.
We all have great days and difficult days. Some people celebrate the great days with sheer and absolute enthusiasm, while others stay more subdued. Then there are the hard days. Some people come through the hard ones with their attitude intact, ready to move on to the next thing while others spend an inordinate amount of time trying to re-center. Some of that is a consequence of natural disposition, but a lot of it is a matter of mental strength.
In the article The Best Brain Possible by Debbie Hampton, they say, “To be mentally strong is to become aware of your thoughts and emotions and work with them to consciously choose your actions, which is what mindfulness is all about. It’s about responding rather than reacting. It’s not about saying, ‘I can’t help the way I feel’ or ‘This is just the way I am.’”
Create new mental habits
While some people may be born more mentally resilient than others, mental strength, like any other strength can be built on and expanded. By consistently choosing to bounce back and not dwell on the negatives you can create new mental habits. That doesn’t mean every once in a while, it means paying attention to every thought that runs through your head. Then deciding whether or not it is a thought or reaction you would consciously choose if your intention was to be a more centered, in charge type person.
Here are ten things you can do to build mental strength:
Reflect on your progress
People who are mentally weak, dwell on the negatives and don’t give themselves credit for what they’ve already accomplished. Mentally strong people do the opposite. They keep the positives front and center and choose to consider the negatives as learning experiences.
Instead of thinking about all the reasons why something isn’t working or you are not getting ahead as fast as you might want to, think about concrete things you can do on a regular basis to keep things moving forward.
Pay attention to the underlying thoughts
As we said earlier, everyone has a baseline of satisfaction where they naturally land. However just because you are not generally an overly optimistic person by nature that doesn’t mean you have to be satisfied with being dissatisfied. Watch your emotions, notice when you are leaning toward pessimism and make a conscious decision to see and acknowledge the positives in your situation.
Learn to enjoy quiet time
Many people will do anything they can to avoid being alone and quiet. In order to become mentally strong, you need to learn to make friends with yourself in quiet times. It is during those times that you can really reflect on what brings you peace and joy.
Getting your first job is an important career milestone. Sure, you have probably worked internships and part-time jobs before, but nothing will prepare you for your first real job.
Because working part-time or doing an internship is one thing, having a certain position is completely different. In most companies, interns and part-time workers simply don’t have the same amount of responsibilities as full time employees. From office politics to how to compose an email, everything you’ve previously known will be challenged.
1) Adjustment Period
The adjustment period is the time that passes between your first day at work and the moment when you feel that you have mastered your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. The adjustment period can take a week, a month, or several months, depending on your responsibilities. A common mistake during this period is to believe that college taught you everything you need to know. College simply gave you the basics, so you will need to learn on the job. It’s important to be open to learning during this period, ask as many questions as you need to – but make sure to really learn and not ask the same questions over and over again.
2) Office Politics
Do not expect to walk in the door on your first day and meet your next best friend. When you get a job, chances are there will not be any other new people at the office ready to bond with you. In addition, getting too close to some coworkers might get you pulled into office politics, gossip that can have terrible consequences that might get you fired. So, keep to yourself and take your time to get to know everyone, and keep the gossip to yourself. Pay attention to your coworkers. Watch their manner of conduit among themselves and with their superiors It will teach you how to behave in the office and how to dress.
3) Freedom and independence
Your first real job will come with a lot of responsibilities and tasks – and a lot of trust from your employer to do those tasks correctly. You might be monitored during the training period – if you have one – but chances are, you will be left on your own. There will be no professors to tell you that you’re doing something wrong. You can wing it and pretend you know everything and make catastrophic mistakes with this type of freedom. You may abuse your time in the office and not complete your tasks, or you might be terrified that everything you do is wrong. However, keep in mind that you can always learn and avoid mistakes by knowing where to seek the help you need.
4) Finding a balance
Many people think that it’s necessary to overachieve on your first job. You might work at a small company where everyone’s progress is completely visible. If you’re an overachiever, you may face some consequences. Your boss might begin to abuse your enthusiasm to pile your desk with more tasks, your coworkers might act cold towards you because you’re making them seem slow, or you might burn yourself out until you cannot face going to work another day.
It’s important to find a balance – don’t be slow, but do not overdo it either. Build up your career with patience, and master your skills by improving them daily. Burning yourself out will not be good for you, because once you slack, your employer will notice, which might lead to getting fired.
5) Moving on
Your first job doesn’t mean you need to keep working throughout your professional career. Remove the stars from your eyes and look critically at your workplace. Are the conditions good? Do you get good benefits? Will this position enable you to move forward in your career, or is it a dead end?
Just because you’ve finally landed your first job, it doesn’t mean that you cannot move on to bigger and better things if the chance arises. So, keep your eyes peeled for opportunities, just in case, and in the meantime, remember that nothing is permanent, not even your first job.
Article provided by Wonderlic Test Prep.
There are times when you find yourself in a pretty good situation. You’re in a job you don’t hate. The pay is good. The hours are good. You really have nothing to complain about. You have benefits, adequate vacation time.
The problem is, you know you’re capable of more. You always expected a more from yourself. For some people it’s a no brainer. Comfort and predictability win. The deal is done. However if you’re no longer comfortable being comfortable then it’s time to get moving.
Complacency is the enemy of greatness
Fear is often sited as the reason people don’t pursue their dreams and fear is definitely part of it. It’s easy to identify fear. What if I don’t succeed? What if I’m not good enough? Valid questions.
Complacency is a little harder to get our heads around. I’m pretty comfortable right now. I’ll just put off my ambitions till tomorrow. They’re not going anywhere. If you have ambitions comfort and complacency are as much your enemies as fear. They will encourage you to stay where you are for just a little longer.
When a little longer turns into forever
The thing is, left unchecked a little longer will get longer and longer and will often stretch into forever. The longer you put off change, the harder it gets to make. If you want to make a change the time to start is today. Not tomorrow or next week.
Identify one concrete thing you can do today to get the ball rolling and do it. Tomorrow do another thing. With daily effort change will build its own momentum. Do that thing even if you are worried about failure because even if you don’t succeed at least you tried. You don’t want to come to the end of your life wondering – what if? Do you best today and when tomorrow comes you will know your life was as good as it could be. By that standard it was great.
It can be demoralizing to work job after job you don’t like, especially, when you’re not even sure what it is you do like. How do you figure out what you’d like to do? How do you determine what you’d be good at?
Would you describe yourself as shy? Does that make you a little worried about doing well in your new job? Fear not, shy friend, we’ve got some tips to help you navigate your new situation with much more ease.
Stop worrying about being shy. The shyness is less of a problem than worrying about it.
Quiet is who you are, that’s perfectly okay! Accept your inner quite and don’t think you have to be like your louder co-workers.
Do what you do best
Even if you are a little shy around groups of people, there’s a good chance you’re really good at one-on-one interactions. And the good news is, most interactions are going to boil down to one-on-one interactions.
Unless you’re a university professor or a professional speaker, it’s all one-on-one stuff.
So just concentrate on each person as an individual. Even if you have to talk to a hundred people every day, chances are you’re mostly doing it one at a time. Concentrate on that.
Write thank you notes
Many people who feel socially awkward have trouble speaking out loud, but are amazing written communicators. So after interviews, or helpful interactions, get into the habit of writing nice thank you notes
Thank you notes can brighten up the day of the recipient, and can also convey how much you appreciate the recipient’s time, even if you can’t quite express it verbally in the moment.
As a shy person it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the action surrounding you. Meditation is a wonderful way to clear away some of that stress and relax. You don’t need to make a big deal about it. Just find a few minutes to sit at your desk quietly and breath in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Networking can be particularly difficult if you’re shy, so that’s why it’s something you can practice doing to alleviate the fear. Even if you feel totally ridiculous, stand in front of the mirror and practice using professional lingo and confidently handing out your business card. That way when a beneficial networking opportunity presents itself, you’ll have the confidence to extend your hand and say hello.
If you want to be satisfied with your salary, you need to be satisfied when you start the job, not with what you see as potential down the road. A lousy salary isn’t suddenly going to come up to your expectations once your employer gets a load of your spectacular, shining personality. If you want or expect a certain salary, it’s best to have that in place your first day on the job. You can certainly move up from a starting salary, but you should not be working up TO the starting salary you were hoping for.
What is the job worth?
To start with you have to know what the job is worth. If the going rate for the position is $40K then no one is going to offer you $60K no matter how exceptional you are.
Your first job is to figure out what that job is worth. If you know people in the industry ask them. Best not to say, “Hey Jan, so how much do you make in that job of yours?” Better to try, “Jan, can you tell me about current market trends for a person in your position?” Use the Internet to research salaries in the industry – sometimes the Internet needs a break from showcasing cute cat pictures. As well as online salary calculators you can check out websites and directories of professional associations.
What are your expectations?
You are going to be giving a huge chunk of your time and commitment to this job. What is that worth to you? If that number isn’t in the same vicinity as the amount people are earning for the job you’re applying for then either the job or your expectations are going to have to re-locate.
If you were buying a house you’d have a top number you couldn’t go beyond, a bottom most happy number and a number in the middle. For salary expectations it’s like buying a house, but the numbers are upside down. The lowest, bottom number is the one you could get by on, the top number the one where you would dance all the way to work everyday and a middle Goldilocks number.
By having clear expectations going into the interview, when the time comes to start negotiations you’ve got a number to start with.