I spent the last month applying for jobs and finally landed an interview this week, which went really well. Even though I have only experienced two job interviews in my lifetime, I want to share advice from my experiences in hopes that it will be beneficial to you. Please keep in mind that these tips worked for me, but you have to decide what will work for you.
1. Apply apply apply!!! I started out slow, but my mom encouraged me to keep applying because not all jobs will contact you if you aren’t chosen. You could be waiting forever!! My strategy was filling out two or three applications, waiting one week for an answer, and repeating the process.
2. Carefully consider your skill set and comfort level. Apply for jobs only if you feel confident in your ability to meet the requirements. I would also recommend applying for jobs that make you feel comfortable. For example my focus was retail, and I applied at stores I shop at; I trust their policies and merchandise therefore I can work without hindrance.
3. This is advice my mom gave to me: Everyone has to start at the bottom before they can reach the top. You may not like where you start, but don’t let that discourage you.
4. Some people prefer applying online, and others prefer applying in person. I have only applied online, and it worked for me. There is a possibility that it won’t work so I would suggest that, after a month or longer of zero response, you start applying in person.
5. If you are unsure whether or not a website is legitimate, use ScamAdviser.com. I applied for jobs using Indeed.com and SnagAJob.com and did not have problems with either.
6. Have your resume put together and ready before applying. Sometimes you upload a resume, and other times you fill out the information. Either way, if your resume is already completed, the information is in one place and ready to be uploaded or copied and pasted.
7. Not all applications require a cover letter but have one prepared just in case. This cover letter is a great example: http://kohlsitup.weebly.com/cover-letters.html
8. If a business does not contact you within one week, don’t give up yet. The first job I applied for in October did not contact me after one week so I assumed I did’t get the job. I received a call two weeks later and was interviewed four days after that.
9. Don’t get discouraged by rejection because it happens to everybody. If you don’t get the job, it wasn’t the right fit. Get back out there and continue to look for the job meant for you.
10. When you get a call to set up an interview, don’t jump the gun and tell the world you got a job. You are building expectations in your head that will make potential rejection harder to handle.
11. Use a “Cheat Sheet.” I used this method in school for exams, and it was 100% effective. First, write out information about the business you are applying for: the name, when and where it was founded, the number of locations, what company it is owned by, and the names of other stores owned by the same company. Second, visit websites such as GlassDoor.com and write down questions previously given to interviewees by your potential employer. Next to each question, write your answer; use keywords instead of full sentences to make the answers easier to study and remember. Third, study the “Cheat Sheet” forward and backward; read it quietly, read it out loud, and recite it from memory. You should never go into an interview unprepared for the questions. Consider that the interviewer has work to do; you don’t want to take up too much time with a lengthy thought process. Also, preparedness is a good skill to showcase.
12. Going along with #11, it is good to be prepared, but keep in mind that your answers should sound natural and not rehearsed. Avoid a rapid speaking pace and throw in some short pauses. ;)
13. You don’t have to look like a supermodel, but your appearance should be pleasant to look at and put-together from head to toe. If you don’t put in effort getting ready, will you put in effort working? The outside should reflect the inside.
14. Sometimes you have to fill out another application at the interview. Make sure you have previous job experience (Company, Supervisor, Address, Email, Phone Number, List of Duties, Dates of Employment) and professional reference (Name, Title, Email, Phone Number) information with you.
15. Bring at least 2 copies of your cover letter and resume. The information is good to have, and the interviewer might ask you for a copy of one or both. Why two copies of each? Always have a backup plan for the unexpected!
16. Bring a pen and notebook in case you need to take notes. You could use your phone, but a notebook doesn’t have any distractions on it. :)
17. Job interviews are nerve-wracking, but don’t let those nerves get the best of you. Have confidence! If you don’t believe you can do the job, why should the company hire you?
18. Going along with #17, sit up straight, look the interviewer in the eye, and enunciate your words. Make the interview worth the interviewer’s time by being professional and showing respect. Basically, have good manners.
(Image Source: http://tripeaksconsulting.com/20-best-andy-wooten-quotes/)
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– Lauren Michele <3
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