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How to Prepare Your Curriculum Vitae Back to Career Advisory

A day or two before an interview you should take the time to really think about how you want the interview to go, what impression you want to leave on the employer and what unique pitch you will use to stand out from other applicants. Equally important, think about what items on your resume you do not want to spend a lot of time on and come up with ways to transition from that particular experience to others that you would like to highlight more.

Next, thoroughly research the employer, and when possible, the position. Be sure to ask for at least a title, if not a detailed description of exactly what position they are interviewing you for. Then list the 3 or 4 strong qualifications that you bring to the table. This way, you know going in what they are looking for and why you are a good fit.

There is a time and a place for name dropping, and interviewing is one of them. Review any names or details that could be helpful to reference during your discussion. If you are the networking type, go back through your PDA and find the exact date of the dinner party where you met the person who passed along your resume. If you used a job search engine, recall what day you first saw the advertisement and perhaps the detail that helped the posting stand out. If the organization reached out to you, recall the Human Resources contact who first gave you the call or e-mail. It never hurts to compliment their friendly conduct, and helps create a positive, thoughtful persona.

From here the old adage rings true: “Practice makes perfect.” Make a list of questions that you think the employer might ask. Think through how you would want to answer them. Your goal is to leave the ideal impression, highlighting your best selling points and avoiding weaker aspects of your experience. Typing this out (and saving it) can help you not just prepare for this interview, but all future interviews as well (including your year end review!)

Once you have come up with some sample questions, ask a trusted friend to help you role play through a few of them randomly. The employer ultimately controls the flow of an interview and role playing can help prepare you to bounce between subjects and think quickly. Your friend may also be able to point out any nervous quirks you might have or important details that you are leaving out.

The night before the interview, after you have crafted your pitch and researched the employer, make sure to print out directions to the office. Pick out your clothes relax with a book and get to bed early. In the morning, eat a non-offensive breakfast to hold you over and make sure to drink your coffee.

 

Quotes

“Determination gives you the resolve to keep going in spite of the roadblocks that lay before you.” Denis Waitley

“Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” William Jennings Bryan

“Confidence is the result of hours and days and weeks and years of constant work and dedication.” Roger Staubach

“Do whatever it takes, whenever it needs to be done, regardless of whether you feel like doing it or not.” Greg Hickman

 

Phone Interview Preparation and Tips

Preparation

There are two main types of phone interviews - expected and unexpected. In order to be prepared for the unexpected phone call, make sure you have access to proper materials near your phone or desk. Keep a file of “employer research” near by along with a fresh copy of your resume. (Wouldn’t it be great if you could just open up your resume as a web page?) Your resume will allow you to easily answer questions about your past experiences. Company research can help you quickly come up with a few questions for your interviewer. Having access to a notepad and a pen is probably a good bet as well.

For expected interviews, make sure you have a space set aside that is free of distractions. Keep a glass of water nearby in case you need to clear your throat, and of course, make sure to use the restroom before the call. Have a copy of your resume and any research you have done on the employer. Keep a pen and paper on hand.

Remember, phone interviews are just as much of an interview as a traditional meeting.

Tips

Know your comfort zone. Some people perform best in a quiet room, while others prefer to pace around. If sitting still is your style, a room free of distractions is best. If you are the type of person that likes to walk-and-talk, consider determining a predefined route. This will help ensure that there are no outside noises or unexpected distractions like sirens. Make sure it is a leisurely walk so you can maintain calm breathing patterns.

Smile. Negativity or an uneasy attitude can easily show itself over a phone call. Make sure you are in a good mood. Disable call waiting. If for some reason you are not able to disable call waiting, absolutely ignore it if someone calls.


Enforce a dress code. Believe it or not, properly dressing in at least business casual attire will make a big difference in your ability to focus on the interview. Wearing the right clothes and taking a serious approach to the call will help you maintain a professional attitude regardless of your surroundings.

If you are taking the call on a cell phone, make sure there is no wind in your vicinity. Wind noise will prevent you from hearing the questions and make it harder for them to hear your answers.

No chewing gum, cigarettes, food or other things that may interfere with your vocal chords during the interview.

Listen. Without the visual communication of an in-person interview, it can be tough to know when to stop talking. If your nerves are high and your blood is flowing, you can easily make the mistake of saying too much. Make sure to speak slowly and articulately. When you have answered the question, allow for that possibly uncomfortable moment of silence. This will let the interviewer know that you are through, and then they will proceed. Listen and wait for them to finish with their next question, and then proceed. Consider taking notes on the key aspects of each question.

Stand up. Stretching out your torso will allow you to have the full strength of your lungs. You will be able to speak more clearly and powerfully.

Practice makes perfect. As with all interviews, practicing before hand helps you prepare for common interview questions. Remember to “play in practice as you will in the game.” It will make a huge difference.

If you wear earrings, remove them before the call. Many people tend to adjust the phone’s headset during a call. Chances are that the earrings will rub up against the mic creating an awkward, distracting noise for everyone on the call.

No speaker phone.

Make sure to ask for your interviewer’s name. Follow up with a thank you note.

 

How to Prepare for a Behavioral Interview

Increasingly, employers are giving job candidates behavioral interviews. Behavioral interviewing is an interviewing strategy that considers the candidates' past performance the best indicator of future performance. If you're in the market for a new job, it's probably wise to prepare for behavioral interviews. Some 30 percent of organizations, including many of America's biggest corporations, now use behavioral interviewing -- and the number is growing.

 

Steps
  1. Study the job description for the position for which you're interviewing.
  2. Visit the organizations website to gain an understanding of what type of candidate the organization is hiring.
  3. List the personal and professional attributes of the ideal candidate for the job.
  4. Think about which of your experiences can be used to illustrate you have these personal and professional attributes.
  5. Make up questions that demonstrate you have each of these attributes. Behavioral questions usually start with phrases like "Describe a time" and "Tell me about a situation" which force the interviewee to talk about specific experiences.
  6. Develop two or three stories for each personal or professional attribute, using experiences from your past to show you have each attribute.
  7. Try to use the SAR technique to tell these stories. Describe the Situation you were in or problem you were facing at the start of the story. Describe the Action you took or took part in as a result. Then describe the Result of your actions. Spend less time on the Situation and more time on Action and Results. This is what the interviewer cares about.
  8. Practice answering the behavioral interview questions you invented, using the stories you created, so your stories become second nature.
Tips
  • Use your resume/CV to help evaluate how your experiences can be used to illustrate you're the ideal candidate for the job.
  • Don't limit yourself to the experiences on your CV, if there's some other story that best shows how you'd be a great a fit with the job.
  • Do a Web search for "behavioral interview questions" to find sites with sample questions you might face in a behavioral interview. Good places to look are business school websites. You may often find the marketing club or finance club mini-sites, where the students share behavioral interviews.
How to Prepare for the Job Interview

 

What if someone has a better credential than yours? Nothing compares when one is prepared. Preparing for the dreadful job interview will give you the confidence that every prospective employer sees during that first impression.

 

Steps
  1.  Research about the company's profile and background. Arm yourself with the knowledge about the industry to impress your employer.
  2. Set your mind to why you can be the best candidate for the job, and explain what you can do.
  3. Prepare your questions too. Participating actively during the interview gives a good impression of interest on the job.
  4. Learn to listen when needed.
  5. Know your resume especially your weaknesses. Prepare to defend them.
  6. Be aware of your posture - to stand straight without slouching.
  7. Mentally prepare for the interview taking deep breaths. Focus on a positive result which will work better for you.
  8. Don't munch on junk food while waiting for the interview. You wouldn't want to shake hands with crumbs with the employer.
  9. Don't play with your chair while awaiting being called.
  10. Secure your clip-on tie so it won't fall off during the interview.
  11. No lunch bag please.
  12. Dress smart and professional. A must.
  13. Practice, practice, practice your script to boost self confidence. You will shine. It will show.
  14. Go to bed early the day (or the days) before the interview. Showing up at the company looking fit instead of sleepy leaves a much better impression.
Tips
  • Preparing for the job interview should be taken seriously. The competition against another candidate with a better qualification is fierce. Preparation helps you keep what's in your mind, and not slip it when you're in a most uncomfortable position. An interview is the key before a company hires you, so you better discover how to sell yourself before meeting with the prospective employer.



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