Professional sound bites
Developing an impressive profile will also help
you to develop some of your job search sound
bites. These are your prepared and practiced
responses to common interviewing questions
such as, “Why should I hire you?” and “What are
two or three accomplishments that have given
you the most satisfaction — and why?”
Allocate extra time for this step. You’ll need
to refine and rehearse as much as you can. Just
like your profile, refine your sound bites so that
they’re clear, concise, and compelling. Practice
them several times a day in short bursts, so that
when you deliver them, they sound spontaneous and not rehearsed.
onsider creating and sending a professional FAQs. This is a document that
asks and answers the commonly asked interview questions in the form of
For example, you might choose and respond to the following 10 questions:
How would you describe yourself?
What do you see yourself doing in five years?
Why did you choose this career?
What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
How do you define success?
What was your favorite class, and why?
What was your least favorite class, and why?
Describe your favorite professor or favorite supervisor.
How would you describe your leadership skills?
Do you think college changed you as a person? If so, how?
A well-crafted list of professional FAQs can create a great impression and help
you stand out by anticipating what your interviewer wants to know.
Practice, practice, practice
Most interviews start with, “Tell me about
yourself.” Your goal is to share your most relevant experiences and character traits in an
organized, efficient (2– 3 minutes), and compelling
Start with three character traits that are a good
match for the position. Then tell a very quick story
that is an
want to highlight
the responsibilities of the
position(s), your goals, and
the results you achieved. Finally, describe your college experience
— again, sharing your goals and your results at a high level.
In addition, you might hear questions like: “Give me a specific
example of a time you dealt with team conflict.” The premise
behind behavioral questions like this is that past performance is
the best predictor of future performance.
Review the job description for desired characteristics. Also,
think about characteristics that would be desirable for that organization or for that position in general. Then, from your experience,
prepare and practice example stories that could be adapted to
convey several different characteristics. Finally, practice telling your
stories concisely. That’s where many people go wrong.
The response to this type of question requires you to describe
three things: a specific situation, the actions you took, and the
outcome. The more detailed, specific, and honest you are, the
more successful you’ll be.
Most interviews start with, “Tell me about yourself.”
To convey confidence
and professionalism, your
handshake needs to be
firm (but not crushing) and
At the interview, wear
professional attire. It’s a
safe bet to wear something
somewhat dressier than
what the employees wear
to work. Be sure you have
excellent posture and your
smile is genuine. Wait a moment and
let the interviewer initiate the shake.
Pay close attention to his or her
name. Finally, your first words should be respectful and thankful.
Something like, “Maria, thanks for scheduling this interview.”
Your body language impacts how others perceive you. When
you walk down the hallway, keep your shoulders back, your
chest out, and your stomach in. Oh, and walk a little faster.
Good posture and slightly faster walking communicate self-confidence. Once you sit down, don’t forget the advice from
your grandmother when she told you to sit up straight … this
communicates confidence too!
Remember the five P’s when it comes to interviewing for your
first job – proper preparation prevents poor performance. Follow
these five tips and come to the interview prepared. You’ll be
sure to ace your interview. iC
Let’s face it, we quickly judge other people by outward
appearances. Before your interview, have a trusted colleague
give you honest feedback on your handshake. If you’ve never
been trained, there’s a pretty good chance you’re doing it wrong.
lisa B. marshall ( www.lisabmarshall.com) is a
communication expert, host of “The Public Speaker,”
and the author of Crush the Competition: Today’s
Tips and Tricks to Turn Your Interview into a Job.