5 Helpful Tips For Your Job Interview

So you’ve sent out a ton of resumes and applied for more jobs that you can count.  If you’re lucky enough to land an interview, you want to be prepared for it.  Here are some helpful tips to remember for your interview.

Dressing for the Interview

No matter what the attire is for the job you’re applying for, dressing professionally and conservatively for the interview is the safest way to go.

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For Men

  • Two-piece dark colored suit
    • Appropriate colors: black, blue, gray
    • Solid or very light conservative stripes
    • Suit jackets are offered in single- or double-breasted
  • Crisp white or blue tailored shirt
  • Conservative tie that reaches mid belt
  • Dark blue, black, gray or brown socks
    • Match your suit – never wear white socks
    • Polished shoes that match the color of your belt

For Women

  • Two-piece dark colored pants or knee-length skirt suit
    • Wear neutral colored panty hose or dark tights if wearing a skirt
  • Crisp white or blue blouse, tailored shirt, or shell with conservative neckline
  • Polished closed-toe shoes with a low to moderate heel
    • Try to avoid shoes with very high heels

Research

Make sure you’ve reviewed the job description along with researching the organization, product lines, and competitors.  Review the company website, LinkedIn, and industry publications.  Keep up to date with new products or services as well as current events and news on the company’s blog.  For example, HubSpot’s blog provides marketing information that many of their customers would find valuable and utilize within their industry.

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Practice

Practice with your friends, using common interview questions..  Think of examples and scenarios from previous jobs or internships that can illustrate your experience, skills, and strengths to the person interviewing you.

Ask Questions

You will be asked a lot of questions about your resume, experience, and goals during the interview.  You will also have the opportunity to ask questions.

The interview is an opportunity for you and the employer to find out more about each other, and if this will be a good fit.  Here are some examples of questions you should ask and some you should not ask:

Ask

  • Can you describe an average workday here?
  • What kind of opportunities do you have for growth?
  • What are the most important characteristics or qualities that you are looking for in the person who fills this position?
  • How would you describe the company culture?

Don’t Ask

  • What’s the salary for this position?
  • What does your company do?
  • How quickly can I be promoted?
  • Who did you vote for?

Follow Up

Always, always, always follow up on the interview and send a thank you note.  This is one of the most crucial elements to an interview and sometimes the most forgotten.  Hiring managers interview many applicants and you want to thank them for their time and the opportunity to interview.

The best way to send a thank you note is via email and within 24 hours of the interview while you’re still fresh in the interviewer’s mind.  Something brief that thanks them for their time, recapping a particular subject or topic during the interview, and reconfirming next steps or the interview timeline if it was discussed.

 

Questions?  Comments?  Do you have any tips for job interviews?

 

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Gaining Job Experience Without a Job

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One common question that we get when meeting with students is, “How am I supposed to get a job without experience, when every company requires that I have experience in my field?”  It’s a frustrating dilemma that can discourage people from finding that perfect job.

The job search process can be intimidating, but finding the right job without experience is not impossible.  Here are a few tips to gaining job experience before you land a job.

Internships

Internships are a great way to get your foot in the door with any company.  50% of NYIT interns are offered full-time positions upon graduation.  Whether the internship is paid or unpaid, interns have the opportunity to show their skills and establish a foundation for their career.

For companies, offering internships is a great way to evaluate potential employees at little (or no) cost.  It allows them to familiarize young talent with their business, services, and organization while determining if they want to offer them full-time positions.

The Vault is a notable resource for finding some of the best internships out there.  They surveyed current and former interns about their internship experience and were able to produce the Vault’s 50 Best Internships for 2017 report last year.

Volunteering

As a volunteer, you would be working without being paid and…wait, so what’s the difference between an intern and a volunteer?

An internship can be something you choose to do to develop the skills and experience in a specific profession.  As a volunteer, you can also do that, but it’s more about contributing to a cause.  For example, you may volunteer your skills as a graphic designer with a non-profit organization but may also be asked to help with  an event or with conducting outreach.  Volunteers typically help out wherever they are needed even if it is outside of their specified role.

Volunteering is still valuable and relevant experience that can provide you with great networking opportunities, even if the organization is not directly related to your industry.   Idealist is a great resource for searching nonprofit and volunteering opportunities.

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Networking

Networking is one of the most important skills in finding career opportunities.  In 2016, Lou Adler, CEO of a consulting and training firm specializing in hiring, conducted a survey that revealed 85% of all jobs are filled via networking.

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That figure is significant and emphasizes how critical effective networking can be, especially when you consider how much time is spent on searching for jobs, applying, and interviewing.

Students often ask, “Where and how can I improve my network?”  Networking goes beyond asking for someone’s business card.  It’s about making connections and building relationships.

You can build your network by:

  • Participating in conferences and speaking with industry experts
  • Attending special events and industry functions
  • Joining professional organizations via LinkedIn
  • Sharing ideas with friends and peers

Networking is free, takes hard work and communication, and enables you to build a community that can lead to future opportunities.

Freelancing

Consider giving yourself experience by working on your own. Freelancing is great for a variety of reasons.  It allows you to earn money while you seek full-time employment, and you can always continue freelancing for extra money once you find full-time employment.

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So where do you start?

First, decide on what viable skills you have, whether it’s in your field of study or a talent outside of your major area of focus.

Second, compile a portfolio or basic website to market your skills.

Third, start looking for clients.

But isn’t that the same as finding an internship or volunteer work?

The answer is yes and no.  You may have to work for little or no money in order to gain this experience and build your client base.  But remember, experience is the most important thing. As your portfolio expands, you’ll be able to pitch your freelance services at your desired rate based on experience and client testimonials.