Practice makes perfect
Interviewing doesn’t come easy to everyone or even to most people. It is a skill that is developed through time, practice, and focus. One way to get practice is to start by asking someone who you’re comfortable with for a development conversation. Ask that they focus on your body language, eye contact, voice tones, and answers you provide. This will help identify the things that you might not notice and help guide where you want to develop to improve your interviews. Once you are comfortable with feedback received, you can start to practice with others you may not know as well, such as a teacher, counselor, or even your current manager if working. They will likely provide some different perspectives on the things you can improve.
Similar with learning about the company, you should prepare for the types of questions you may be asked for the position. There won’t likely be a guide or a sample of what is coming, but you can get an idea by looking at the job responsibilities. Each industry is different with the types and format of questions they may ask. It may be asking about experience, how to react, or a demonstration/description of how to solve a specific problem. Review the responsibilities and your experiences and think about the things you’ve done in the past, and how they relate to what you want to do in the future.
Develop your network
When preparing to interview for a position you may speak with a lot of people working for the company or holding a similar position. This is a great time to build your network of professional contacts for this position or others you may apply for! A professional network are people you meet that can help be an sponsor, advocate, or even mentor to help with your career journey. Below are some high level descriptions of what they do and where these contacts can be found:
Speaks positively about you and helps promote you though their contacts. These contacts can be someone you have worked with or is familiar with you professionally, such as a teacher, manager, or co worker.
Helps support your career through providing influence or support to help you in your career journey. This is someone who will help you to further business or professional goals that are mutually beneficial. This is typically someone in a position of leadership in the company or industry that you are part of or support.
Provides guidance and one on one professional and/or personal development. This can be someone who is or was involved in your professional career, academic career, in a position of leadership from one or both, or someone you personally connected with.
A few places where you can build your network is at a career fair, the Alumni network for your school/college, or through your work. Another great option is using LinkedIn since you can search for professional from your high school/college and is a great platform to stay in touch. If using LinkedIn, don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a reply. Social media isn’t used by everyone and some have a profile they don’t check often. These contacts can help describe what their journey was and help support you in your journey. Not everyone will fit neatly in each of these areas and oftentimes you may find people fall in one or more categories.