Crush your job interview

Whether you’re looking for a part-time job while enrolled in school or seeking full-time employment after graduation, the interview can be intimidating.

There are tons of resources online to guide you through interview etiquette, wardrobe choices, and wage negotiations. But it can be tough to know where to start! Luckily, we’ve compiled some of the most important strategies so that you can get a jumpstart.

Practice makes perfect
You may feel silly asking your BFF or brother to conduct a mock interview, but this is truly the secret to success. You will be less nervous and more confident if you’ve been through it before — even if it was in front of your mirror. Practice making eye contact, holding your hands steady, smiling, and answering questions about yourself.

Fly solo
It might surprise you to know how many young interviewees show up with their mom or girlfriend in tow. Do not be that person. On a related note, triple-check that your phone is on silent before you go in, and resist the temptation to check it while you’re waiting. The stereotype is that teenagers are on their phones all day long — don’t give them reason to think it’s true.

Keep it positive
Hiring managers don’t have time to get to know the “real you.” Make sure that they see you as a positive, friendly person. Avoid speaking ill of your school, previous jobs, or anything else. Make pleasant small talk, spin bad experiences into good ones, and SMILE.

Turn the tables
In many cases, you’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you. Ask what a typical shift is like. Ask what they personally enjoy about working there; see if the values of the company align with your own. You may feel less nervous if you remember that you actually hold the cards here — they need you, or they wouldn’t be hiring.

Feel yourself
Chances are, you’re applying for an entry-level gig, so it’s expected that you have no experience with that specific job. However, you absolutely need to think in advance of transferable skills that you’ve learned in life and in school. Prepare specific examples to prove it. Do you take care of your younger siblings? You’re responsible and a good listener! Have you completed a service project? You’re self-motivated and compassionate. Everything that you have done has real value, and you need to go into the interview with that in mind.

With some preparation and practice, you’ll be able to meet every hiring manager with a confident, informed smile … and walk out of there with a job.

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