Getting an interview feels like a victory, doesn’t it? It means you’re one step closer to that job, and makes a black-and-white online job posting seem like more of a reality. After you do your happy I-got-the-interview dance, it’s time to start thinking ahead for the interview itself.
Here are six things you can do ahead of time to set yourself up right for the big day.
1. Plan your outfit.
This doesn’t just apply to fashionistas. Figuring out ahead of time what you’ll be wearing can take one major thing off your mind the day of the interview. It also lets you plan ahead for small (but crucial) touches like making sure your clothes are cleaned and pressed on time or that your lucky interview shoes are shined up and ready to walk into the room like a boss.
2. Get your talking points in order.
Review the job listing, and remind yourself how your skills and experience dovetail with what the company’s seeking in this role. Then, be sure to practice working those into a conversation. Naturally. No one wants to be hit with a barrage of canned-sounding bullet points… especially if you were asked to name a few of your strengths, and you respond with a memorized monologue about your achievements from your last job.
3. Take another pass at your resume.
You should have reviewed your resume before you applied for the job (please tell me you did!), but even so, take a fresh look at it. Is there anything you can tighten up before you walk into the interview as an ambassador for yourself and your work achievements? Once you feel good about the content and of your resume and have caught every typo, make sure to print copies (on high-quality paper, whenever possible) to take with you on interview day.
4. Put on your researcher hat.
Learn as much as you possibly can about the company before you go in. Can you tell anything about their corporate culture from their social media accounts? Have they been in the news for anything lately? If there’s been a scandal, obviously don’t eagerly bring it up in the interview. But if the company has been involved in something cool or newsworthy, it’s good to have that info stored and ready to go.
5. Practice your smile.
Spend a few moments rehearsing your interview smile in the mirror each night before you go to bed. Work on your most confident, pleasant smile, and be ready to break it out for every person you meet during the interview (receptionists, assistants, interviewers). You can also practice with loved ones, or take some selfies to review and find the best “hire me” grin.
6. Have your thank-you letters ready to go.
The night before your interview, type up a template for your thank-you notes to your interviewers. That way, after you walk out of the interview you just have to enter a few crucial details (the person’s name, email address, and ideally a specific reference or two to the conversation you had), then hit send. Easy peasy.
A little extra care and planning as you get ready for the interview can be the edge you need to get you to that next step: the job offer. After all, the interview is the only thing keeping you from an even better happy dance: the I-got-the-job one.
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