How To Get More Interview Practice

The interview can be most difficult and nerve-wracking step of the job hunt process. Some of us have only had a few interviews which have all resulted in job offers, while some of us have left interviews feeling like failures. This may seem like a no-brainer but the key to interviewing is practice, practice, and MORE practice! Even if you think you’re naturally amazing at interviews, it won’t hurt to practice anyway! Here are some ways you can get more interview practice outside of the ACTUAL interviews you want to nail for that dream job.

  1. Apply for jobs you don’t want.

It sounds crazy I know, but this is an easy way to get a few practice interviews under your belt. Note, this only works if you THINK of them as practice! Apply anywhere, it doesn’t matter where. Wait for them to call you for the phone screen and practice away! If they want to interview you in person, that’s even better. There is no loss here for you since you’ll get the practice you need.

  1. Partner up with family and friends.

Set up a weekly a mock interview with your parents, siblings or even your best bud. Keeping this scheduled with a partner will also help hold you accountable to weekly practice. It is best if they choose the questions, you want this to feel like a real interview, and in a real interview you won’t know what the interviewer is going to ask!

  1. Look for official mock interview resources.

This can be an online platform or maybe the local community college that has resources set up with professional mock interviewers. Take full advantage and use as many resources as you need to practice as much as you can. Also, make sure you are practicing all KINDS of interviews, such as: the phone screen, phone interview, video/Skype interview, and the in-person interview.

After all this practice, there is no doubt interviews will become a piece of cake. Have you ever practiced interviewing? If so, how did it go? If not, do you plan to now?

Boost Your Confidence – Job Seeker Style

We all hear about how important confidence is, it applies to everything in your life! Confidence in who you are, what you can do and what you believe in is what grounds you as an individual. It sets you apart from everyone else. If you’re job hunting, confidence is something you will absolutely have to master. Why? Because confidence is the key to successful careers. It’s that simple. Nobody gets where they want to be by doubting themselves! So, here’s what you can do to get some pep in your step and wear that confidence like a brand-new outfit.  

  1. Focus on your Talents.

You’re never going to feel confident selling yourself in that interview if you’re always worried about what you think you can’t do. Never automatically assume you’re unqualified for a job because you have weaknesses. Focus on what you are good at and hone those skills. Getting better at the skills you are weak in will take time but everyone possesses a talent that makes them special. Use that to your advantage!

2. Have physical proof of your accomplishments.

This can be old projects you’ve worked on, new projects you’re working on, awards, certificates, a report card from 3rdgrade… anything! Compile these items in a special way. On our Twitter, @AstyraCorp, we linked to a cool article explaining how to make a “Brag Book”. This is a portfolio composed of all of your professional accomplishments. It’s something you can look at as much as you want to and remind yourself that you’re awesome. Plus, you can bring it to an interview and really WOW that recruiter.

  1. Reframe your thoughts.
    This is the ULTIMATE Life-Hack. A million negative thoughts can pop into our minds in a single day. So practice this:if you find yourself thinking a negative thought, cancel it and think about something positive instead. Instead of thinking “That company will never hire me”… cancel it with “ Why wouldn’t that company want to hire me?! I am so smart!”. The more positive thoughts we force ourselves to have, the better and more confident we feel. All of the worry and self-doubt can be * POW! *  knocked out and cancelled, just like that. Training your brain towards positive thinking can even be a new hobby! What a win!

What will you do to really take your confidence to the next level?

Resume Writing Tips

Plenty of people struggle with taking their first steps into job seeking and often wonder where to start. In my opinion, making sure that your résumé is a well-crafted and finely tuned job-hunting machine is your first priority. To that end, I’m here to share some tips that’ll get you on your feet in no time. I’ll focus on three things that I believe can make or break a résumé: style, uniformity, and content.

1.) Style –

Every living thing has a skeleton (well, most, but let’s pretend that a résumé is one of them). Here it means a base, i.e., an outline or a template. Different employers may have different wants and needs with regard to how a candidate displays their experience, but the safest bet will usually be to pick something sleek and simple. If you’re not applying for a job that’s requesting visual design experience, it’s best to avoid any theme or templates that take focus away from the information itself. Feel free to play around with different preset themes if you’d like but be mindful of your audience and prepare multiple copies to best suit them.

2.) Uniformity –

In addition to this, making sure that there is consistency in the way the résumé is laid out will help you immensely. If you choose to have a header on your résumé or for each section of your résumé (for example, “Professional Experience,” or “Education” as section headers) make sure they’re all the same typeface and font size! Some might recommend using Times New Roman in 12pt font but 10-11pt font in Arial is much more commonplace these days. If you commit yourself to making specific things the same size within your resume, no matter where they appear, you’ll notice that it will add cohesiveness and make your résumé feel a lot more concise.

3.) Content –

Sure, it’s very nice to have your résumé be aesthetically pleasing but it won’t mean much if the positions that you list don’t really explain what you’ve done. No matter what roles you’ve held, there’s always a way to effectively communicate your responsibilities. Sometimes, a little nuance goes a long way. Instead of saying “Took notes in meetings,” you could try, “Listened attentively during meetings and transcribed accurate notes for future reference.” – it’s all about how you spin it. That said, BE TRUTHFUL! If any part of your role involves hard metric or statistics, don’t inflate anything with numbers that you can’t explain or back up. No matter how you slice it, this is by far the most important of the three things I’ve listed, but you’ll need ALL THREE to get your résumé where you’d like it.

These tips are just the…tip…of the iceberg! The sky’s the limit, so long as your fundamentals are solid.