How to Ace Your Next Job Interview

Getting a job in today’s market is tough. The United States unemployment rate is around 5.5 percent — so, on average, one in 20 of your friends is going to have a hard time finding work — and that doesn’t even mean the job they’re trying for will be a good one. It could be in a completely different field than they hoped, making as little as minimum wage.

If you are going to get the job you want, you need the right education, some type of experience (volunteer or paid), and impressive interview skills. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be sure to ace your next job interview:

Know What to Expect

Always remember that job interviews are not about showing that you are qualified for the job. Your dream employer has your resume and knows your experience. Instead, job interviews help potential employers determine whether you would be a good fit for the company, including both its goals and its culture.

Be Punctual

Showing up late is disrespectful to your would-be employer as well as other interviewees. Just don’t do it. Plan ahead and arrive early. If you are worried about finding adequate parking or public transportation, give yourself enough time to arrive early and relax with a coffee before your interview — just do not be late. Remember: in appointment time, early is on time, on time is late.

Look Your Best

If you are going to ace your interview, you have to look your best. Wearing casual or revealing clothing is never a good idea, but a suit may not be the appropriate either. Instead, choose an interview outfit that looks like you, expresses as much creativity as the position requires, and demonstrates that you tried to look nice. Polish your shoes, iron your shirt, and look like you came to work. When in doubt, dress up, not down.

How to Prepare

Never walk into an interview without being prepared. Research the company. Check the website, read up on the industry, the company’s competitors, and the buzz on social media. If possible, talk with people who work for the company and ask questions about the culture and challenges they are facing. Finally, prepare questions to ask in the interview that are specific to the company and position.

Plan Ahead

The key to acing your job interview is planning ahead. Bring extra copies of your resume as well as pen and paper for taking notes. Bring business cards if you have them, as well as a digital copy of your resume and portfolio that you can leave with the person who interviewed you. Be sure to also plan ahead for what happens after the interview. Make sure you have contact information for the person or people who interviewed you, as well as the correct spelling of their names, their positions, and the best way to reach them, so you can send a follow-up. And always thank them for their time in meeting you.

Bottom Line

The best way to ace your next job interview is through careful preparation, a personal touch, and lots of respect. Even if you’re not the right fit for the first position you interview for, if you make a good impression with the company, they may keep you in mind until they find the perfect job for you.

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