Preparing for Your First Job Interview

Preparing for Your First Job Interview - The Job Window

If you’re about to head into your first interview, it can be pretty daunting. Preparing for an interview can be difficult, especially for beginners. Today we’ve got a heads up on what you can expect from a job interview, and some helpful ideas on the best way to prepare for it.

 

What to Expect

Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way. You’re most likely going to be meeting with one person, at their place of work to talk about getting a job. It’ll probably be you and the employer sitting down across from one another at their desk, or at a boardroom table.

On to the less obvious stuff. Your interviewer may ask to see your resume. Depending on how they do their hiring process, it’s never a guarantee they’ve seen it before. So always bring a copy of your resume with you. This is something beginners often forget. Bring your resume in something that prevents it from getting bent as well. If your interviewer asks to see your resume and you pull out a crumpled piece of paper, that’s all they’ll need to know about how much you want this position.

 

What Questions to Expect

Every interviewer is different and every interview will vary as far as the questions go, but when you’re preparing for an interview there are a few common ones you can expect. Your interviewer will probably ask you to tell them a little bit about yourself. This is so they can get a sense of who you are. Give a brief description of where you went to high school and college, talk about your interests and how they led you to this position.

You’ll also be asked about a specific time in your past where you demonstrated a key ability. Most often, the ability they will ask about comes right from the job posting. Make sure to think of specific examples from work or school where you overcame an obstacle, had to deal with a difficult team member or found success. They more you can relate these to the job your interviewing for, the better.

 

Another very common question that gets asked in interviews is where you see yourself in five years, or what your goals for the job are. Being ready with an answer to this question shows that you’ve thought about your future with the company.

 

How to Prepare for the Interview

Now that you know what to expect and what questions you might get, what else can you do to make sure you’re ready? Undergrad Success points out the number one thing you can do is learn about the company!

 

Demonstrating knowledge about the company shows you’re interested in not just the job, but this specific company as well. It can be as easy as checking out their website and following them on Facebook and Twitter.

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Thought About Finding a Mentor?

Thought About Finding a Mentor?

 

Unless you’re trying to do something no one else on the planet has ever accomplished or even conceived of, then you are not the first. No one is you so they won’t have done exactly what you’re going to do from your perspective or with your intentions, but if you want to become a manager or president of the company for instance, and you know others have become managers before you, then they have experiences you don’t.

 

Avoid pitfalls and fast track your way through mazes

They have knowledge of some of the pitfalls awaiting you and short cuts to get you to your destination faster. They gained experience along the way and have connections with people who have helped them. So if you want to stubbornly do every single thing for yourself, make all your own mistakes, take longer to achieve your goals than necessary, waste time and expense pursuing avenues that aren’t going to be of any help, then by all means work away diligently by yourself. However if you want to speed things along, avoid potholes, fast track your way through inevitable mazes, then find yourself a mentor.

 

You can have more than one mentor

Don’t just find yourself a mentor, find several. Sticking with the manager example, you won’t only have to become good at one thing, you’ll have to become strong at a host of things. Relationship building, finances, time management, etc. etc. etc.

 

If your network is extensive enough, why not find people who are strong at different things and get them to mentor you on those things. For example if you know someone who is especially great with people, take that person out for lunch or dinner and learn what they know. Visit them in a their professional environment. See them in action, talk to the people they work with. Get a perspective from the other side.

 

Instead of clearing a path through that jungle follow the path they’ve carved. Then follow another path already cleared by someone who’s spent tons of time becoming an expert on the shipping side of the business.

 

Pay it forward

The wheel only needed to be invented once. By taking advantage of mentors, people who can teach you and help you and inspire you, you’re fast tracking yourself to the time when you’ll be ready to forge your own path. The path someone else will follow when the time comes for them to start laying the groundwork for the manager they want to become.

30 Days To Consistency

 

Everybody knows the key to accomplishing anything is consistency. It’s easy to talk about goals and it’s just as easy to set them. The real work comes along when you decide to follow through.

 

Everyone starts with the greatest of intentions and many get off to a great start but then the enthusiasm wanes. “I’m not inspired today,” they tell themselves. “I’ll wait until tomorrow when I’m inspired again.” What people don’t realize is that every day they don’t get back to work makes getting back to work harder and harder.

 

Consistent effort creates inspiration. It creates enthusiasm.

 

Inspired consistency

To help people create consistency in their efforts, writer and artist Austin Kleon has created a 30-day challenge, “an easy, low-fi way to keep track of your progress.”

 

Decide on your goal. Promise to work on it in some capacity every day, create a reward to inspire you to keep going, then print this 30-day challenge calendar. Austin Kleon’s 30-Day Challenge PDF

 

Every day that you follow through on your commitment you get to put a big X in the box. By the end of 30 days you’ll have tangible verifiable evidence of your efforts. You’ll be in the consistent groove and a personally chosen reward.

 

I’m going to choose singing lessons, so I can sing about my success!

 

 

Three Easy Steps To Increased Productivity

Three Easy Steps To Increased Productivity

 

Sometimes in the middle of trying to do all the things you need to attend to, it feels like all you’re doing is treading water while the to-do list floats all around you. We’ve got three small tips to help you get more daily tasks to shore.

 

Take control of your emails

Emails are like tiny time suckers. If you take the time to respond to every single one that floats into your inbox the second it floats in, you lose focus on what you’re doing, and then you have to take the time to yourself back into the swim of it things and the day gets away from you in small beeping chunks.

 

If you decide to respond later and then forget about the waiting emails, then that becomes a problem too.

 

The best thing to do is take control of the emails. Don’t stop what you’re doing every time one comes through, but do respond to them – at a time convenient to you.

 

Unless an email is absolutely urgent, deal with them in bunches at allotted times. That way instead of breaking your concentration every ten minutes, you’re dedicating 15 minutes chunks to emails throughout the day, and dedicating longer uninterrupted chunks to everything else.

 

Make the most of your commute

If you’re someone who has a long train or bus commute to work, that’s a great time to get through small chunks of work. Your commute is a great time to tackle a few emails. You answer them there and then  and save yourself all that time later.

 

No matter what task you tackle on the train, it will be a more productive hour than mindlessly trolling Facebook.

 

Determine your most productive hours

Different people are at their peak efficiency at different times of the day. Some are most productive after lunch when they’re full and happy. Others are most focused first thing in the morning. While others hit their peak efficiency after they’ve settled in and have been at work for an hour or two.

 

Figure out your optimum work time, and set yourself goals of doing larger or more demanding projects at that specific time.

 

Working according to your body’s natural rhythms is useful for getting things finished. Give yourself small easy tasks when you know your brain is on autopilot, and save the more complex things for when you’re at your mental best.

 

Not Sure What To Do With Your Liberal Arts Degree?

Not Sure What To Do With Your Liberal Arts Degree?

 

So you got a degree in something you are deeply interested in like the humanities or French literature. As much as it  you intellectually and emotionally, it seems that in terms of helping you find a job, it was kind of a waste of time. Well we’re here to tell you that is not true.

 

Emma Williams who went from a degree in Scandinavian mythology to general manager of Bing Studios at Microsoft explains the connection between humanities degrees and jobs in tech (or other fields). “You become very skilled in new subject areas and understanding them deeply….You have a broader understanding (of different subjects) and a better set of capabilities than just having a computer science degree.”

 

Check out these three career inspiring stories from Fast Company

Stop Looking For A Job and Get One

Stop Looking For A Job and Get One

 

Been on the job search for a while? Having trouble transitioning from the searching end of a job quest to the receiving end of an offer? Here are a few tips that will help get you to that offer quicker.

 

Don’t box yourself into small boxes

Some people look at the long list of requirements for job openings and only apply where they have experience in everything.

 

There are plenty of instances where people who don’t have all the qualifications listed are the ones chosen by the hiring manager. Sometimes it comes down to other related experiences, or aptitude in certain areas, or personality type, or potential.

 

If you have the majority of the qualifications they’re looking for go ahead and apply. Wow them with all the reasons they should give you an interview in the cover letter and see what happens. Like Wayne Gretzky says, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

 

Learn to boast

You might not feel comfortable tooting your own horn, but you can be pretty sure the person who steps into that interview after you, or the one who was sitting in your seat before you got there made a point of letting the interviewer know exactly how wonderful they were.

 

Sitting there bragging about what a wonderful human being you are will turn people off, but if you talk about they way you worked so wonderfully with others to achieve great results, it paints the picture of a wonderful human being.

 

Relax and be friendly

Yes you are in a job interview, yes it’s nerve wracking, but in the end you are one person talking to another person. Do your homework. Prepare as well as you can, then relax. Go in there with a big smile, and let that wonderful person you’re going to refer to later in the interview shine through.