Sitting in a job interview can be a nerve-wracking experience for any potential candidate. You want to say the right things, present yourself well and make sure that the position is the right fit. Whether you’re a young person looking for your first position or a seasoned safety professional seeking to take that next step, here are five tips to keep in mind when preparing for an interview.
1. Polish your resume.
Whether you are just out of college and looking for your first job or a seasoned professional wanting to take the next step, your resume is a potential employer’s first impression of you. As such, make sure that the skills and experience required for a particular position are included in your resume.
“If you’re going for an engineering position, for example, let employers know that you have the proper education and certifications, so that the employer understands that you have undergone the training or have the experience to assume a position or become the engineer that you are trying to be,” says Cleo Palacios, lead recruiter, industrial, at Brookwoods Group.
2. Do your research.
Before applying or interviewing for any position, it’s important to learn as much as you can about the job and the company. While your resume is an employer’s first impression of you, this research will give you an initial impression of them. From looking at a company’s website, to reading reviews, to speaking with employees, there are numerous ways for candidates to learn about a potential employer.
“Job seekers should research the companies that they think they’d like to work (for), read reviews and talk to individuals who work at those companies if they can,” says David Drake, business development manager at Brookwoods Group. “Employees and former employees will give honest feedback on working conditions and the like.”
3. Highlight your accomplishments.
A pitfall that candidates at times fall in to is filling their resumes with skills and responsibilities instead of accomplishments. It’s important to let a potential employer know what you have achieved and the impact those achievements have had on the business.
“Talk about what you’re capable of, what you’ve really done and what you can do,” says Drake. “Be able to communicate to a potential employer the type of opportunity you’re looking for and what you will bring to their organization.”
4. Help employers remember you.
After the interview, it’s always helpful for the employer to have a reason to remember you. If they want to ask any follow-up questions or schedule a second interview, having your contact information can help speed that process along.
“It’s good to have a business card, on which you can list your occupation as safety professional, and if you’re in an interview or feel that someone would be a good contact, give them a business card as a way to remember you,” says Drake.
5. Find the right fit.
Accepting a position is a major decision. Along with pre-interview research, use the interview to learn as much as you can about the potential employer, what your role would be and how it fits into the organization. The interview process provides insights into the organizational culture and how you, as a safety professional, fit into that.
“It’s important for young professionals in particular to broaden their outlook and keep their options open,” says Drake. “Don’t put yourself in a corner and be seen as only fitting in one particular position, when you’ve received the training and education to become something better,” adds Palacios.