5 Tips for Your First Job Interview

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Don’t feel bad if you’re applying for a lot of jobs and not getting the callbacks. It doesn’t mean that you’re unqualified or that your resume needs work. It means that you’re one of the multitudes of resumes that companies receive when the amount of jobs is low and unemployment is at 9% and underemployment being 14%. It’s probably not your fault.

If you have received some initial calls or e-mails, and they haven’t gone the way you were hoping, looking at what you did or didn’t do in those first steps may say a lot about why you were passed over after the initial call. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind for your next call.

Keep it Relevant

Everything you say or write should directly relate to the company. Rambling on about a big project you headed up with a big company isn’t going to impress a small business looking for the person who can wear a variety of different hats. Make sure you go overboard with the amount of research you do on that company before the call. An in depth knowledge of the company and the industry they operate in is a great conversation starter.

Have a Value Proposition

It’s nice to hear that you’re a hard worker but who isn’t going to say that? Every question you answer should have a direct and indirect answer for the underlying question: How will your presence on the company’s payroll translate in to revenue for them? What do you have that others don’t? If you answer the questions the way everybody else would, you aren’t going to get the second interview.

Don’t Send the Generic Thank You

Taking time to get your name fresh in their mind by sending the thank you note isn’t a bad idea but making it a form letter will probably assure that you’re not going to get the second interview. Make it personal; mention something that came up during small talk but still keep it professional.

Take the Interview

Even if it sounds like it may not be the right job for you, take the interview. You may find that it’s a better fit than what you originally thought and if they really like you, they’ll most likely be willing to work with you on salary requirements. If nothing else, you gained some more interviewing experience.

Don’t Give Them Everything They Want

If you’re interviewing for an editing job and they want you to give them a writing sample, make it more of a tease rather than giving them a full publisher ready piece. If you’re interviewing for a marketing job, don’t give them a full marketing plan just because they ask for it. Give them enough to want more from you.

The job market is tough and using your time wisely is the key to landing your next position. You final tip is to not spend large amounts of time on the job boards. Use relationships and your professional network. That’s where you’re going to find the jobs that you have a chance of getting.

{ 4 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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4 Responses to “5 Tips for Your First Job Interview”

  1. echidnina says:

    Thanks for this; I’ll be keeping it in mind and also passing it on to my partner who has been unemployed for a few months now. Of course one of the big challenges is even getting the interview in the first place, the job market is so tough these days.

  2. echidnina says:

    Thanks for this article, I’ll be keeping it in mind and also passing it on to my partner who has been unemployed for some months now. Of course, the tough bit is even getting the interview in the first place. The job market is really tough these days.

  3. Tabby says:

    I usually make sure to tailor my resume for a job interview. I have a lot of different skills, but realize not all of these are pertinent to a particular employer. I decided it would be better to just high light the things they wanted. Though be far handing out resumes has been far less successful than networking. Knowing somebody that works at the company already can enter an instant interview for you sometimes. As opposed to just being a piece of paper on the interviewer’s desk.

  4. Good one Tim. Also, keeping your resume short and updated is very important. I have seen many people come up for interview drives with old resume which is not updated with latest stats.

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