How to Sell Yourself in a Job Interview

Whether you’re still in school or you are just finishing college, finding a job may be pretty high on your list of things to do. There’s a lot of work involved in finding a job, whether it’s a full-time career or a short-term job for the summer, but the feeling of getting the job can make it all worthwhile.

Before you get the job, you’ve got to nail the interview. In fact, the interview may be the most important part of the job application process. A good job interview takes research and preparation. This means learning as much as you can about the company and position you’re applying for and practicing for the interview itself.

Here are some great interview tips to keep in mind, whether you’re trying to get a part-time position for the summer months or whether you are looking for a full-time career.

Practice Interview and Conversation Skills

If you want a successful interview and the chance to impress a future employer, you must learn and practice some interview skills. These skills include:

  • Being professional while being yourself

  • Being attentive while not oversharing or speaking too much

  • Asking professional, relevant questions

  • Using appropriate ‘professional’ language (i.e. no slang)

  • Practicing good non-verbal communication during the interview (i.e. not fidgeting, making eye contact, and maintaining proper posture)

Obviously, your conversations skills also matter during an interview. Be concise and sincere about your skills and interests while actively engaging with the interviewer. Additionally, stay relevant and on topic, steer clear of rambling and needless jargon, and avoid hot-button issues like politics and religion. Remember to also speak clearly and at an appropriate volume while maintaining eye contact.

Do Some Research Before the Interview

Doing research is actually the first step in the interview process. Before the interview, research the specifics of the position you’re applying for, as well as the company you will be working with. First, check out their social media profiles and their website. Then, search for press releases and any news articles that feature them. Some employers may ask specific questions about your position and their organization to test if you’ve done your homework.

Knowledge about the company or certain subjects could impress a potential employer. However, don’t go overboard with the information that you present and wait for the interviewer to ask you questions. If you’re attending a job fair, research the participating organizations. This information can be vital to your success, give you a leg up on the competition, and streamline the application process by helping you narrow down your options. Plus, employers often conduct on-the-spot interviews at these types of events.

Dress the Part

It’s well known that you should dress appropriately for an interview. Ideally, you should wear ‘smart’ casual clothing. This is clothing that’s not too dressy or too casual. You don’t need to wear a formal suit or dress, but it’s wholly inappropriate to wear sweats or a casual t-shirt and jeans. That said, the appropriate style of dress could also depend on the type of position you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying for a position in construction, your employer would probably be impressed by cargo pants and work boots.

Create an Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is basically a brief sales pitch designed to ‘sell’ you to your potential employer. Begin every interview with this type of pitch but keep it short and succinct. In a brief statement (approximately 30 seconds) tell the interviewer who you are and what you have to offer their organization. Be passionate, professional, and sincere. This little speech serves as your first impression and could set the tone of your interview. Just don’t forget to express how you fit in with the company while standing out as an employee. Practice your pitch with family, friends, or even a professor or two before the interview. Help from others could provide you with some valuable feedback and help you create the most compelling pitch possible.

Follow Up with the Employer

Most people believe it’s the potential employer’s job to make the first move after an interview, but this isn’t entirely true. In fact, asking how and when to follow up is a great way to show an employer how serious you are about getting the job.

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