This post has been a long time coming, but I wanted to release it mid-semester, since it can apply to job seekers as well. As I know many college seniors are readying themselves for graduation, I thought this would be a great post for everyone to read, no matter where they are in their career path.
You’ve sent in your resume and cover letter, and after waiting anxiously for what seemed like weeks, the hiring manager for the position you applied to has contacted you, asking to schedule an interview. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your interview and that will allow you to leave the meeting feeling confident that you aced it:
Research the position.
Go back to the position description that you read when you applied for the internship. Jot down all the responsibilities required from the position as well as the required skills. Highlight the responsibilities that you are familiar with and have had success with– these points will help you convey to the hiring manager what you have to bring to the table. With the ones that are not highlighted, think of the characteristics that you possess that are relevant to those responsibilities. That way, when the question, “Are you familiar with _____?” comes up, you can respond confidently with, “I haven’t had much experience with _____, but I have strong _____ skills that I feel will allow me to successfully accomplish this responsibility.” As you did with the list of responsibilities, highlight the skills that you possess. The ones that are not highlighted will allow you to convey what you wish to learn from the internship, for example: “I would love to learn more about event coordination and improve my research skills when it comes to finding vendors for the event.”
Know the company.
Do your research on the company that you’re applying to work at. What awards has it won? Who are its clients? What kind of work environment does it appear to have? Knowing these details will allow you to not only familiarize yourself with the company, but also feel comfortable when you step foot into the door, because you have an idea of what to expect and also how to dress for the interview.
Assemble a folder.
Ready a folder that contains a print copy of your current resume and cover letter for the hiring manager to reference back to. Include portfolio items such as writing samples, graphic design work, social media content calendars, etc.– include items that relate to the position you’re applying for and its corresponding responsibilities. Will you be interviewing with a group of people? Bring duplicates of the folder so that each person can have his/her own copy.
Create a folder for yourself as well. This will be helpful if someone asks, “It says here on your resume that you created content for social media. Can you elaborate?” Easy. Pull out the content calendar you placed into your folder and respond, “Absolutely. In your folder you’ll find this mock content calendar that I created for a social media course. I kept the posts limited to 15-20 per month and drafted copy that would encourage engagement from the client’s audience.” Be sure to keep copies of references on you, don’t include them in the folders. Only provide a list of references when it’s requested.
Prepare a couple of questions.
Asking questions of your own during an interview shows your desire to obtain the position and also your drive to excel in it. Questions such as, “How do you define success in this position?” or “What do you enjoy most about the company culture?” will allow your interviewer to realize that you really want to do a good job as an intern. Not only that, but it will help you become an awesome intern and grow your skill set, ultimately widening and benefiting your career path.
I hope these tips prove useful to you during your interview preparation. Don’t be nervous– you’ve done your research. Just go in with a sense of confidence and knock his/her/their socks off. Good luck!
Have any additional pieces of advice to add? Leave me a comment, or start a conversation with me on Twitter at @thisjenngirl!