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Do –

  • an inventory of what you have to offer. This includes the skills that are not “knowledge based.” Often the skills you have which are consider “softer skills” can make the difference between your skill set and the next person who is equally qualified as far as the job responsibilities. An example would be, “able to keep a cool head in stressful situations.”
  • consider that your job right now is to get a job. Set a specific amount of hours aside each day to prepare, research, network and practice. In this economy it will make a difference when you go up against the competition. It will also make you feel more prepared and in control and will result in added self-confidence.
  • listen to what is being asked and said. One of the mistakes most candidates make is that they forget to listen because they are focusing on their answers. Your interviewer is giving you clues in the questions asked and the responses to your answers. Listening will assist you in your understanding the work situation and problems.
  • remember that you are here to check them out as much as they are checking you out. Even in a tight economy you do not want to get yourself into a situation that will hurt you in the long run. Check out the environment and people. Is this a place you want to spend a large portion of your time in?
  • ask questions. There is usually a point in the interview when the interviewer will ask if you have any questions. The most common answer to this question is usually, “No.” Wrong answer. Because you have been listening, you can ask about the issues that have been mentioned during the questioning.

Don’t –

  • generalize your answers. Be specific, particularly if asked questions requiring an example. If you are relating an example of your past experiences be sure that there are details that focus on the skills you used in the story.
  • use the pronoun “we” without explaining who “we” is. It is confusing to the interviewer who is interested in “your” role when you are using the pronoun “we” to demonstrate your skills.
  • say anything on your resume or in your examples that you cannot back with an example or a story. Anybody can write anything good on a resume but the proof will come when you can give a specific example of a time when you did what you claimed you could do and the skills you used to accomplish the task.
  • Don’t say anything negative about yourself or others. Be aware of using words such as “pretty good,” or “I think I can.” Use words that demonstrate that you believe in yourself. If you say that you can do something with conviction your interviewer will be more likely to believe that you can do it. “I am good at…,” and “I have the ability to….”
  • don’t be afraid to “brag” about yourself. It really isn’t bragging when you are selling yourself. The product you are selling is “you” and you had better believe that you are the best product around or no one will believe you.