Whether you’re in the business world, marketing or any other career field, it’s always a good idea to be on the lookout for the next big opportunity at the next big company. And knowing how to sell yourself in a job interview is a sure-fire way to make sure you land the perfect career of your dreams.
Lots of people can breeze through an application, write a cover letter and even limp along in a phone call, but few know how to nail the elusive in-person interview. Fortunately, there are some global insights that work well for everyone and every job. Here are six sure-fire tips for how to sell yourself in your next interview.
1. Research the company.
Before you even step foot in the room, it’s important to know what you’re walking into. That means digging deep and researching the company and industry beforehand. Not only does this prep you for the interview, but it also shows the interviewer that you care about the business and position. Some employers might out-right ask you: “What do you know about us?” If not, try to work in bits and pieces about your company knowledge throughout the conversation.
2. Practice the questions.
While every interview is unique, there are some general questions most will ask. You can’t prepare an answer for every question, but you can have anticipated answers in mind. Research common interview questions and consider your answers beforehand. If necessary, write your answers down (although, don’t read them off a sheet of paper during the interview). Commit them to memory, but allow for fluidity during the interview.
3. Connect with the interviewer.
A key component to selling yourself is establishing a connection with the interviewer. Chances are, the business will interview quite a few people for the position, so you need to stand out from the crowd. For instance, know the interviewer’s name and use it throughout the interview. During the conversation, consider focal points that you can connect on. Smile, engage and build rapport wherever you can, to show you can fit into the company.
4. Prepare beforehand.
Don’t wait until the last minute to prep for the interview. Instead, be sure to have everything you need ready to go well in advance. This means picking out your outfit the night before, printing extra copies of your resume, packing a notepad and pen...the whole shabang. Making sure all of the little details are ready the day before will help you stay calm and relaxed on the actual day of the interview, so you can focus on more important things.
5. Write your own questions.
In most interviews, the employer will ask if you have any questions for them. While some people can think of questions on the spot, it’s probably best (and will look more professional) if you come prepared with your own questions already written out. Consider genuine questions you have about the company and the position that you can ask. Or, as the conversation flourishes, jot down other questions that come up to circle back to later.
6. Be on time (a.k.a. early)!
You know the old saying: If you’re on time, you’re late, and if you’re late, don’t bother showing up. This could not be more true for interviews. In fact, on time actually means five to ten minutes early. Plan your routine and route accordingly, so you can get to the interview location well-enough in advance. Getting there early also gives you time to catch your breath, relax and mentally prepare, rather than rushing in, looking flustered and unprofessional.
Whether you’re on the hunt for a new job or simply keeping your options open, it’s always important to know how to sell yourself. Keep these tips in mind for your next interview, so you can land your dream job and grow your professional career.