If you’re prepping for a college interview, you want to distinguish yourself from the thousand of other applicants.
When the interview is for a job, you want to show that you are The One they have been waiting for.
Here are a few tips on making yourself memorable.
You don’t have to be the most qualified: Its better to be the most prepared. Research the college, google the admissions rep you’ll be talking to, make a list of a few things about yourself you want to bring up (especially details not on your college application), have questions ready.
Job hunters’ talking points will be different from college applicants, but it is the same procedure.
Make the interview a conversation, not an interrogation. You’ve created a list of questions, yes? Insert them into your answer like this. “Over the last 2 years I’ve lead my team to become the group with the quickest turn around due to good communications and mutual support. How are teams in this company formed?” College questions could sound this way: ” I love playing soccer although I’m not the star of the varsity squad. I’d like to learn to play lacrosse; how can I do that at XYZ University?”
Many career coaches recommend finding something to “brand” yourself. Women, wear a distinctive piece of jewelry; guys, wear a distinctive tie; carry a nice briefcase or portfolio, handbag or other accessory. Perhaps you have a favorite color, say turquoise. Choose an understated accessory in that color and wear it proudly. Wear your Mickey Mouse watch or other piece that has a story attached to get the conversation rolling.
All interviewees need to dress appropriately. No skin tight or very short skirts. Ladies, please wear 2-3 inch heels, no higher: you won’t make a good impression falling on your face on the uneven floor boards in old buildings. Guys, wear a sport jacket and collared shirt or shirt and tie.
Put together a statement highlighting the ways you meet or exceed the requirements of the role. It will be an elevator pitch for this role at this company, not the more generalized one you use when introducing yourself to others. You can include it in the resume (perhaps revised resume) that you hand carry to the job interview, email it before or during a phone interview, or include it in your thank you note.
College bound students should summarize their connections to this college with the number of times visited, ways in which they “follow” the college or additional connections. Then include specific examples of what makes the college special to them. Show your fit with the college through how much you know about it. Including this statement in your thank you note is a good way to illustrate your commitment.
Last, and perhaps most important, is the hand written thank you note. Delivery by snail mail, your note will be a reminder a few days after the interview of who you are. Mentioning your fit with college or company brings to mind your stand out qualities.
Its not too early to practice interview skills when applying to college and its not too late to prepare for your job or internship interviews if you are beyond college applications. The time is always just right if you’re ready to begin.
I’m happy to help you practice for interviews. Thorough preparation adds to your confidence and assurance translates into competence. firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-212-6679