Top Five Steps for a Successful Job Interview.

As a candidate for hire, you are now in the advertising and public relations field.  You must create a personal brand identity that targets your audience (the interviewer), the job posting and your research will provide you with the strategy for a winning campaign.  Here are five tips (and there are many more!), that will begin the road to achieving success in your job search.  So get ready to sell your most valuable product…YOU!

1.  Be prepared.  Research the company before the interview.  Investigate recent press releases, financial status and quarterly reports, new products or services, names of key people in the organization, and have a working knowledge of the organization.

2.  Take Notes.  Note taking allows you to be aware and to formulate questions as the interview progresses.  It is difficult to remember every conversation for every interview and this allows you to keep a paper trail of all meetings and correspondence.  Speak to their listening!  In other words, paraphrase and repeat back key details using some of the interviewer’s own words.

3.  Be specific.  Formulate a specific response to all questions.  Avoid vague generalizations, and provide examples of exact situations, challenges, and tasks, as well as the action that you have taken and the result.  Do not get caught off guard because you failed to practice.

4.  Dress Appropriately.  Although the corporate culture may be casual, it is still important to dress professionally.  Remember, the interviewer can be casual (they have a job), you have to make a first impression and it is easy for the interviewer to dress you down, but more difficult to imagine if they can dress you up.  Power Business (full pant/skirt suit (navy, black, charcoal), dress shirt/blouse,  tie (men), shined shoes, good grooming (hair, nails, etc.)), or Business (Dress pant/skirt, dress shirt/blouse, blazer, and a tie (men).

5.  Know Yourself.  If you are asked to talk about yourself and your background, have a plan.  Most people talk themselves out of a job.  Avoid too much storytelling, make connections for the interviewer, how does your past experience “fit” with their requirements and qualifications.

It is not up to interviewer to do the work for you.  Bring a copy of the posting/ad, to the interview as a “cheat sheet” to keep you on track.  Bring additional copies of your resume, references, and a portfolio of past accomplishments/certifications/or awards.  Create business cards at sites like; MOO, it’s a small investment to create an image that you are detail-oriented and polished (also more presentable when networking versus scribbling contact information using scrap pieces of paper or a crumpled cocktail napkin); the card should have basic contact information such as name, email, and phone, city and state (for safety purposes, address is not mandatory). Good luck!

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