With the end of summer approaching and a new academic year about to begin it’s time to get those working caps on, and for lots of people it’s time to start thinking about the future. Whether you’re doing your A Levels and thinking about what course you want to study at university (or if you even want to go!), in your third year of uni and hoping to find a job or graduate scheme position afterwards, or if, like me, you are just about to start a Masters and are hoping to secure yourself some internships and/or jobs in the near future, then an interview is a likely step that you will have to overcome to get to somewhere you want to be in a few months time.
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I’ve had several interviews in my time, mainly for retail positions whilst studying at school and university and my masters interview, so when City Calling asked if I would like to collaborate on a post about acing your interview I couldn’t say no. Let’s just say that I’m no expert, and I haven’t really gone into the wide, crazy world of career-wise interviews just yet, but these are some tips I have for making sure you go in prepared and ready to take on the world!
1. Do your research.
The most important part of preparation for an interview is to know what you’re applying for and why, so researching the role/position/course you’re applying for is key. Read about what the job role/course entails, what you will be required to do in order to get that job/a place on the course and what you will be doing should you be successful in obtaining that position; research the company/university and what their core brand values/objectives are; and if possible, talk to previous or current employees/students to get a little insider knowledge on the role. This shows that you’re really passionate about what you’re applying for and know exactly what the company is asking of you.
Also prepare for the interview itself by knowing exactly what you will be asked to do on the interview day. Some interviews may involve tests or presentations that you will need to prepare for, while others will ask you to do group exercises or to work in teams; just ensure that you have an idea of things that will be taking place on the interview day, so you don’t turn up unprepared and have something thrown on you which will cause you to panic!
If there is an aspect of the role/course which you want to know about but can’t find any information on it, then don’t worry. Prepare a list of questions you would like to ask the interviewer as you will most probably have the opportunity to do so at some point during your interview. This is again shows your passionate and truly interested in what you’re applying for.
2. Know your CV/application.
While it’s important to know all about the company, you need to know all about you too! Have a read over your CV or your application letter/submission, pick up information you will most likely be asked about and list some things you can say in order to show how this information about yourself will be an asset to the company/course.
For example, when applying for my Masters in Magazine Journalism I wrote about my fashion and beauty blog and the way that this would help me on the course because it had developed my writing, editorial and photography skills. I was asked about this in my interview (and even had to show it to the interviewer on an iPad) and she asked several questions about what I blogged about and how I grew my readership. Luckily I had already thought through some potential questions about my blog beforehand, so I knew exactly what to say when I was put on the spot. I also wrote about my journalistic work experience and took in a portfolio to show the work I had done, which went down really well too.
3. Why do you want the job/to be accepted onto a particular course?
This is a question you will most likely be asked – why? You know all about the course, you know about your application and the things you’ve done in order to be a good applicant, but now you need to bring these two together and say why you want to do it.
Is it because you have been fascinated about a particular career field ever since you started school? Have you always dreamed about securing a place at this particular university? Or is it simply because you believe you can make a difference? Whatever it is, make sure you have a good, solid answer.
4. Dress to impress.
Last, but certainly not least, make sure you look your best and are dressed for the role you’re applying for. If you’re applying for a LPC in a law firm then a trouser suit or smart dress is a must; if you’re looking to get an internship in the fashion industry then something a little quirkier would be cool; if you want to work in the creative or design sector, then add a little flair to your look with a nice scarf or quirky rings. The most important thing is that you’re comfortable and feel good in what you’re wearing. I wouldn’t say that trying out a new hairstyle or makeup look, or even a pair of insanely uncomfortable heels, would be the best option for an interview day, keep it simple and smart and you’re good to go.
5. Don’t worry!
I’m being a bit of a hypocrite here considering I worry so much about things like this that I can’t sleep for nights beforehand and dream about not getting accepted or something terrible happening in the interview, but stressing out is not going to help whatsoever. Try your best to keep calm and get a good night’s sleep beforehand. Have a hot shower or bath, do some meditation, or listen to relaxing music – whatever is going to help you relax. You’ve done your research and you’re all ready to go. You’ve got this!
These are just a few steps I will be taking into consideration when preparing for interviews that I will (hopefully) have coming up in the next year when I look to make it in the big wide world of careers! If you’re looking for a job or want a complete change in your career path check out the job vacancies with City Calling to get you on the right track.
What are your top interview tips?
Lots of love,
*This post was sponsored by City Calling,
although the content was created and published by myself.