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5 Tips for Your First Job Interview

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.