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Resume & Job

  1. Resume Tips
  2. Resume Format
  3. Cover Letter Model
  4. Job-hunting Strategies
  5. Preparing for the Interview
  6. Dressing for Success


The job interview is structured to allow the greatest exchange of information in the least amount of time. The key to a successful interview is to communicate effectively.

The interview usually consists of three parts: the introduction, the body, and the close.

The introduction is the greeting and ice-breaking portion of the interview. The interviewer sets the tone to establish a positive atmosphere that puts you at ease. First impressions are influenced by your appearance and manner. Remem­ber that the overall evaluation of you as a candidate begins the very moment the interviewer greets you in the reception area.

The body of the interview clarifies your ability to do the job through your re­sponses in the interview, either directly through your answers to specific ques­tions or indirectly through your poise, your self-confidence and maturity, your ability to relate to others, your motivation, and other factors for which there is no single right answer. Once again, check the list of most asked interview questions and prepare yourself by researching the company, your job title, and the industry beforehand.

During this part of the interview, you must be prepared to ask intelligent questions that show you have done some research on the employer and that you have an interest in this opportunity. One recruiter has said that he can tell more about an applicant by the questions the applicant asks than the answers he gives!

The close is the last part of the interview and is similar to the final pitch of a sales presentation. You summarize your qualifications for the job and project enthusiasm for the position. Exit from the interview as soon as courtesy allows you to do so, but only after expressing a sincere interest in the job. The interviewer does not know of your interest unless you make it very clear to him. Before leaving the interview, be certain you understand what the next step is; will the interviewer contact you and when, or will you make the next contact?

After the interview, sit down and record your observations. This assists you in developing other questions about the company and helps you to compare companies and the offers you may receive.

It is also a good strategic idea as well as professional courtesy to write a thank you note to the interviewer. This is your change to highlight your strengths, to remind them of your interest in the position, and to refer to issues that may have arisen during the interview.

Prepare for the Interview

Much of the stage fright that precedes a job interview derives from misconcep­tions about the process as well as from feelings of inadequacy. You can over-come these feelings by getting an idea about what the interview entails and how to prepare effectively for it. After defusing some of these anxieties—by working with them constructively—you can relax, project your qualifications and personality more clearly, and have a better interview.

There is the natural tendency in the job interview, particularly in unseasoned interviewees, to feel that the process is one sided, that you are going to be scrutinized with a magnifying glass and judged. While you will be evaluated by the interviewer regarding the potential fit between you and the company and with the job you will be doing, the interview is also an important opportunity for you to evaluate the job and the employer. Therefore, try to think of the interview as a reciprocal exchange. 

Preparation makes you feel more confident about the interview process. Someone with a mathematical world view once summarized this fact in the following equation:

Success = Preparation  x  Practice

The more you know about yourself, the more you know about the job and organization, and the more you practice for the interview, either by adlibbing your answers to possible questions or by actually practicing with a trusted and candid friend, the better you perform in the interview and the more objective you are in evaluating the position for yourself. Energy is diverted away from your worries about how well you are doing and directed toward providing good answers to interview questions and toward obtaining the information you want from the employer


What homework do you need to do to present yourself as informed and competent?

With a specific job title in mind, research the following:

The organization. Talk to people who work there, scan company literature in the Career Library or that you have requested directly from the company, and look for articles in newspapers, magazines, and on television. You want to ascertain the company’s general financial profile. (look for more specific information if you will be employed in the managerial or financial functions of the company); the organization’s sources of funds (government contracts, stocks, sales of a product, donations); its relative position within the industry; its strengths as an organization; the projects the company is engaged in; and where the organization intends to go in that particul­ar industry. Also read between the lines to get a glimpse of the company’s “corporate culture.” Develop questions about these aspects and other concerns that occur to you as you read about the company.

The job you will be doing. In addition to the job description inherent in the job title, you should find out what is unique to the position. Walk yourself through what you believe is a typical day on the job and be aware of points that call for clarification. Elements you may want to consider are your supervisor, performance evaluations, rewards as well as the work environment, all factors that affect job performance.

You on the job. Using the insights gained through self-assessment and your knowledge of this job for this organization in this industry, try to imagine how you will fit into the position. The points at which you think there is the best match (you’re a diligent, creative employee and the organization rewards hard workers who develop original ideas) are ones you want to emphasize in the interview. The points about which you are less sure are questions that you may want to ask.


In the practice phase, prepare in writing (or in your head if you are well organized or experienced) answers to some questions that interviewers will most likely ask you. After you have outlined your answers, ask a friend or career counselor to help you in a mock interview by asking the questions that you have prepared. 

 You should prepare about 30 questions, such as:

 Tell me about yourself.

 Do you consider yourself to be a leader or a follower? why?

 What are your short-term goals? Long-range? 

 Why should we hire you?

These mock interviews help to calm the pre-interview jitters, and you should receive helpful feedback on the quality of your answer and any distracting mannerisms of which you may not be aware.

Consider the following points when you assess your performance after the mock interview:

  • Did you answer the question directly or did you ramble?
  • Did you give examples to substanti­ate claims you made?
  • Did you ask for clarification of a question you weren’t sure of, or did you barge right in, not knowing where the answer would lead?
  • How were your eye contact, hand movements, nervous habits, diction, and enunciation?
  • Did you sound natural or stilted?


As you leave for your interview, check the following to make sure you are prepared:

You have an extra copy of your résumé, a list of references in case they are requested, and a sample of your work, if you need it. You’ll also want to bring a pen and paper to make notes immedi­ately after the interview.

You have prepared answers to probable questions and have prepared questions to ask in your turn.

You have allowed plenty of time to get to the interview with time to spare. Allow for such contingencies as late buses, traffic jams, losing your way, or returning home for something you have forgotten. Try to get to the interview location fifteen minutes early to freshen up and compose yourself for the interview.

You look the way you want to look for the interview (see: Dressing for Success).





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