As a university student or a recent grad, you’ve worked hard to get internships and part-time jobs that will expand your skill set (and help pay for your tuition!). Still, no matter how much you take on, you’re young to the workforce and don’t have a lot of experience up your sleeve. We know: It’s hard out here for a hustler.
There are a few things you can do to keep yourself from sounding more inexperienced than you really are. Check out our list of things to avoid in interviews – we promise that if you keep these 3 things in mind, you’ll be perceived as far more professional.
Don’t admit to being nervous.
While it’s normal to be nervous in an interview–especially during your first one!–most employers will expect you to be calm under pressure. There are going to be a lot of high-stress situations at work – late nights, intense projects with demanding deadlines and meetings with high-profile clients. Saying, “I’m sorry, I’m really nervous.” isn’t the best way to convince your interviewer that you’ve got it all under control.
The first step is to be confident in yourself! You got the interview, which means that you already have what it takes to impress your interviewer. The second step is to practice – that means preparing for your interview and going on many, many more interviews. It’s the best way to get comfortable with the process.
“What’s your role again?”
Don’t get us wrong: Asking your interviewer questions is great. Asking questions you should already know the answer to, however…well, that’s not the best way to showcase your due-diligence or your interest in the company. You should always, always research the company and your interviewer before stepping foot in the office. We can’t stress this enough! It will especially impress your interviewer if you show that you’ve researched before you ask your question; for example, you can say something like, “I noticed that the company is planning on targeting younger audiences – how is progress with that going so far?” Take a look on Google News and the company’s website a day or two before your interview – trust us, your interview will go a lot more smoothly because of it!
“Yes, I worked as a Campus Rep last summer.” (Silence.)
An interview is a conversation, and you can’t expect your interviewer to connect the dots for you. For each question that you answer, you have to tell a story about why your past work experience makes you qualified for the job. For example, you can say something like, “I worked as a Campus Rep last summer which taught me to tailor marketing strategies to specific demographics. As a result, I was able to increase monthly user acquisition by 15%, which is why I’m confident I would excel in this role.” That type of answer shows that you’ve taken the time to think about how your skills make you a good fit for the role – and it’s a great way to practice selling yourself in interviews.
Now, instead of exposing the skills you lack, you can show your interviewer what you’re really made of!