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Key Ways To Prepare for a Job Interview

Yes, we're in a recession.  I'm sure that isn't the first time you've heard that one before!  You would have to be hiding under a rock to escape the buzz of negative conversation when it comes to discussing the job market.  Though it is crucial to acknowledge the reality of our economic and employment situation during your job search, it is also important to focus on positive, solution-oriented ways to beat the recession.  In this article, we will point out a few things you can personally do to prepare for that next big job interview and ace it--and none of them involve panicking!

Prepare for a Job Interview by Doing Your Research

Most likely one of the first places you will go to learn about a position, reviewing the "company website" is an absolute given.  You should know it inside and out--which means, don't look at it for the first time the night before the interview! As tempting as it may seem to "cram" for an interview, you really should begin looking at a company's website as soon as you have an interview scheduled.  Or, if you don't have one scheduled yet, study the company's website in depth to see how you can think outside the box to GET an interview.  For example, if you are looking to get a job in Technology & IT with XYZ company, log on to their website.  Go through each section and really dive deeply into learning about their business model.  If you can't glean much from the website, as companies differ in how much information they like to make public, conduct extensive research on the industry itself.  Go to blogs, forums and websites that actually discuss current themes in Technology & IT.  Being prepared beyond visiting the actual company's website will give you insight into the industry that other interview candidates may not have.

Be Proactive: Bring Something Unique to Your Interview

So you're ready to go. You have your resume, your reference letters, and your brand new shiny shoes.  You've studied the company website, researched the broader industry and its latest happenings and you have your bus route clearly mapped out to be 15 minutes early.  How about taking your interview preparation one step further?  Is there anything you can bring to the interview that they didn't ask you to bring?  For example, when I worked as a Freelance Writer and Marketing Consultant, I was constantly thinking of ways to stand out when I met with a potential client.  Instead of simply bringing my resume with a handshake and a smile, I thought to myself, "What can I do to make them remember me?"  I decided to invest in a few thick binders that would serve as my portfolio of work.  I made a table of contents, spent a few extra dollars on the color printer, and began printing and binding all of my best work that I produced throughout my career.  I included press releases, website print outs, project management sheets that I used to track my progress, positive emails I had received from co-workers; if it added to my brand, I printed it and put it in the appropriate section of my custom-made portfolio.  Upon being asked for my resume as I walked into each interview, I simply pulled out my bound notebook and began showcasing my body of work.  Anyone can do this; all it takes is a few extra hours that another candidate for the job may not be willing to spend.

Be genuine--be who you are at all times

Studying up on the company, talking to friends in the industry, doing Internet research, getting a good night's sleep, mapping your route to the office and making sure to eat a good breakfast can all prepare you to knock the proverbial interview ball out of the park.  But one of the most important things to remember is that you want to present YOU.  It doesn't take a Psychology degree to determine whether you are being genuine about who you are both personally and professionally; many people who will be interviewing you, especially if they are a part of senior management, will be able to tell if you are tooting your own horn a little too loud.  Bottom line, if you haven't done something in your career, don't say you have. Sure, you can talk about how you would like to work hard to achieve certain goals, but don't think that putting a few extra phony accomplishments on your resume is going to get you in the door.  If you get the job and have over-promised on your skill set during an interview, be prepared for some awkward conversations with your boss!  Be proud of what you have accomplished and express your desire to learn new skills.  Be genuine--quality companies will appreciate your honesty.

So step up to the plate.  Shake your interviewer's hand, look them in the eye....and DARE to be yourself!