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4 Tips to Nail Your next Job Interview before You Even Enter the Room

4 Tips to Nail Your next Job Interview before You Even Enter the Room

Would you like to be able to walk into an interview calmly and confidently?  What If I told you that through practice you can be the type of employee that exudes reliability and impresses all employers?

Having a successful job interview can be a life changing event. To achieve this you need to be properly prepared.

There are plenty of things to keep in mind during an interview. This article will focus on 4 tips for you to execute beforehand in order to make things easier on you. Keep in mind that in order to be successful at anything preparation, practice and hard work are your way to go.

1. Go into the job interview armed with 3 situation specific stories

An interview is actually a platform that gives you a chance to sell yourself to potential employers. If you’re not prepared with your best stats, accolades and stories off hand you’re going to have trouble making a lasting impression.

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It is almost a guaranteed fact that you will get asked the typical “what is your greatest strength and weakness?” question.  Even if you are not asked this question directly there will be an opportunity to go over what you’re good at and what you could improve on.

Greatest Strength

Your story about your greatest strength will deal with a positive attribute of yours. You will show how this attribute relates positivity to the position you’re interviewing for and show how it is only one of many reasons that you’re a valued employee.  Be sure to craft a story that shows off your experiences and wisdom and don’t be afraid to include volunteer work experiences here.

Greatest Weakness

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The second story will be about a weakness of yours or something that you could do better. Whatever weakness you go with make sure you sit down and take time to craft a story that shows how this weakness is actually a strength in disguise. Show how your weakness helps you in other areas of your work, talk about what you are doing to improve it and always end the story with something positive about you.

The Closer

The third story you need to be armed with is the most important: the closer. You’ll lay this one on the interviewer at the end of the interview to make sure that they remember you. This story should summarize the most impressive of your skills and attributes (the ones most relative to the position you’re applying for) and you should touch on what the company will be missing out on if they don’t hire you. Be as compelling and charming as you can at this point.

It is important that you take time to sit down and craft these stories as meticulously as possible. You are the person that knows your skills the best. Study yourself and your experiences so that you know what you have to offer and build a story on it. When you know exactly what you bring to the table you can establish leverage in the job interview or realize when you should take a step back.

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2. Do a trial transportation run the night before

In whatever way you are planning to get to the interview take a test run the night before. Time how long it takes you to get there and always add 10-15 minutes for traffic or unexpected delays. The night before is when you should be looking for potential shortcuts. Take time and look for possible alternate routes if there is a traffic hold up or something during the morning.

3. Research the company’s preferences

Do everything you can to get the scoop on potential employers before heading to an interview. The internet is a powerful source of information that can make your interview go a lot better with proper research. You want to look for things that you can do to make yourself more endearing to potential employers.

When looking up a company always be certain of what it is they do, what they sell and what they stand for. If you can align your skills with these 3 things potential employers will look at you in a better light.

Look up employee reviews to know what to expect going in, try and fish out what will impress the people in charge and the type of things they are looking for in an employee

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Some things to look up are:

  • The company mission statement
  • The dress code
  • The type of awards they give employees

Take the information gathered from the company’s preferences and the position you are applying for and use them to estimate the type of people they want

4. Lay your clothes out the night before

Save yourself trouble and pick out what you are wearing well in advance. Make sure all your clothes are properly ironed and that you don’t have any lint hanging around your clothes. When you wake up in the morning you’ll have one less thing to worry about and you’ll be able to get ready more effectively.

Don’t put your clothes on until you are ready to leave. Eat breakfast, gather your stuff and brush your teeth all before getting dressed – all it takes is one toothpaste stain to throw off your plans. Once you get dressed stay away from all liquids and foods and get a move on.

Job interviews can and will be stressful if you are not properly prepared. Keep these tips in mind and always remember to leave yourself with enough time to get to the interview early. Being early doesn’t only mean getting there ahead of time. You will also need to take all the time you have before an interview to prepare in order to ensure your success. Follow these preparation tips beforehand so that you can enter interviews feeling calm, confident and excited for the opportunity that lays in front of you!

Featured photo credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor%E2%80%93patient_relationship via en.wikipedia.org

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

Taking your work to the next level means setting and keeping career goals. A career goal is a targeted objective that explains what you want your ultimate profession to be.

Defining career goals is a critical step to achieving success. You need to know where you’re going in order to get there. Knowing what your career goals are isn’t just important for you–it’s important for potential employers too. The relationship between an employer and an employee works best when your goals for the future and their goals align. Saying, “Oh, I don’t know. I’ll do anything,” makes you seem indecisive, and opens you up to taking on ill-fitting tasks that won’t lead you to your dream life.

Career goal templates’ one-size-fits-all approach won’t consider your unique goals and experiences. They won’t help you stand out, and they may not reflect your full potential.

In this article, I’ll help you to define your career goals with SMART goal framework, and will provide you with a list of examples goals for work and career.

How to Define Your Career Goal with SMART

Instead of relying on a generalized framework to explain your vision, use a tried-and-true goal-setting model. SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic with Timelines.”[1] The SMART framework demystifies goals by breaking them into smaller steps.

Helpful hints when setting SMART career goals:

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  • Start with short-term goals first. Work on your short-term goals, and then progress the long-term interests.[2] Short-term goals are those things which take 1-3 years to complete. Long-term goals take 3-5 years to do. As you succeed in your short-term goals, that success should feed into accomplishing your long-term goals.
  • Be specific, but don’t overdo it. You need to define your career goals, but if you make them too specific, then they become unattainable. Instead of saying, “I want to be the next CEO of Apple, where I’ll create a billion-dollar product,” try something like, “My goal is to be the CEO of a successful company.”
  • Get clear on how you’re going to reach your goals. You should be able to explain the actions you’ll take to advance your career. If you can’t explain the steps, then you need to break your goal down into more manageable chunks.
  • Don’t be self-centered. Your work should not only help you advance, but it should also support the goals of your employer. If your goals differ too much, then it might be a sign that the job you’ve taken isn’t a good fit.

If you want to learn more about setting SMART Goals, watch the video below to learn how you can set SMART career goals.

After you’re clear on how to set SMART goals, you can use this framework to tackle other aspects of your work. For instance, you might set SMART goals to improve your performance review, look for a new job, or shift your focus to a different career.

We’ll cover examples of ways to use SMART goals to meet short-term career goals in the next section.

Why You Need an Individual Development Plan

Setting goals is one part of the larger formula for success. You may know what you want to do, but you also have to figure out what skills you have, what you lack, and where your greatest strengths and weaknesses are.

One of the best ways to understand your capabilities is by using the Science Careers Individual Development Plan skills assessment. It’s free, and all you need to do is register an account and take a few assessments.

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These assessments will help you determine if your career goals are realistic. You’ll come away with a better understanding of your unique talents and skill-sets. You may decide to change some of your career goals or alter your timeline based on what you learn.

40 Examples of Goals for Work & Career

All this talk of goal-setting and self-assessment may sound great in theory, but perhaps you need some inspiration to figure out what your goals should be.

For Changing a Job

  1. Attend more networking events and make new contacts.
  2. Achieve a promotion to __________ position.
  3. Get a raise.
  4. Plan and take a vacation this year.
  5. Agree to take on new responsibilities.
  6. Develop meaningful relationships with your coworkers and clients.
  7. Ask for feedback on a regular basis.
  8. Learn how to say, “No,” when you are asked to take on too much.
  9. Delegate tasks that you no longer need to be responsible for.
  10. Strive to be in a leadership role in __ number of years.

For Switching Career Path

  1. Pick up and learn a new skill.
  2. Find a mentor.
  3. Become a volunteer in the field that interests you.
  4. Commit to getting training or going back to school.
  5. Read the most recent books related to your field.
  6. Decide whether you are happy with your work-life balance and make changes if necessary. [3]
  7. Plan what steps you need to take to change careers.[4]
  8. Compile a list of people who could be character references or submit recommendations.
  9. Commit to making __ number of new contacts in the field this year.
  10. Create a financial plan.

For Getting a Promotion

  1. Reduce business expenses by a certain percentage.
  2. Stop micromanaging your team members.
  3. Become a mentor.
  4. Brainstorm ways that you could improve your productivity and efficiency at work
  5. Seek a new training opportunity to address a weakness.[5]
  6. Find a way to organize your work space.[6]
  7. Seek feedback from a boss or trusted coworker every week/ month/ quarter.
  8. Become a better communicator.
  9. Find new ways to be a team player.
  10. Learn how to reduce work hours without compromising productivity.

For Acing a Job Interview

  1. Identify personal boundaries at work and know what you should do to make your day more productive and manageable.
  2. Identify steps to create a professional image for yourself.
  3. Go after the career of your dreams to find work that does not feel like a job.
  4. Look for a place to pursue your interest and apply your knowledge and skills.
  5. Find a new way to collaborate with experts in your field.
  6. Identify opportunities to observe others working in the career you want.
  7. Become more creative and break out of your comfort zone.
  8. Ask to be trained more relevant skills for your work.
  9. Ask for opportunities to explore the field and widen your horizon
  10. Set your eye on a specific award at work and go for it.

Career Goal Setting FAQs

I’m sure you still have some questions about setting your own career goals, so here I’m listing out the most commonly asked questions about career goals.

1. What if I’m not sure what I want my career to be?

If you’re uncertain, be honest about it. Let the employer know as much as you know about what you want to do. Express your willingness to use your strengths to contribute to the company. When you take this approach, back up your claim with some examples.

If you’re not even sure where to begin with your career, check out this guide:

How to Find Your Ideal Career Path Without Wasting Time on Jobs Not Suitable for You

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2. Is it okay to lie about my career goals?

Lying to potential employers is bound to end in disaster. In the interview, a lie can make you look foolish because you won’t know how to answer follow up questions.

Even if you think your career goal may not precisely align with the employer’s expectations for a long-term hire, be open and honest. There’s probably more common ground than they realize, and it’s up to you to bridge any gaps in expectations.

Being honest and explaining these connections shows your employer that you’ve put a lot of thought into this application. You aren’t just telling them what they want to hear.

3. Is it better to have an ambitious goal, or should I play it safe?

You should have a goal that challenges you, but SMART goals are always reasonable. If you put forth a goal that is way beyond your capabilities, you will seem naive. Making your goals too easy shows a lack of motivation.

Employers want new hires who are able to self-reflect and are willing to take on challenges.

4. Can I have several career goals?

It’s best to have one clearly-defined career goal and stick with it. (Of course, you can still have goals in other areas of your life.) Having a single career goal shows that you’re capable of focusing, and it shows that you like to accomplish what you set out to do.

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On the other hand, you might have multiple related career goals. This could mean that you have short-term goals that dovetail into your ultimate long-term career goal. You might also have several smaller goals that feed into a single purpose.

For example, if you want to become a lawyer, you might become a paralegal and attend law school at the same time. If you want to be a school administrator, you might have initial goals of being a classroom teacher and studying education policy. In both cases, these temporary jobs and the extra education help you reach your ultimate goal.

Summary

You’ll have to devote some time to setting career goals, but you’ll be so much more successful with some direction. Remember to:

  • Set SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, and Realistic with Timelines. When you set goals with these things in mind, you are likely to achieve the outcomes you want.
  • Have short-term and long-term goals. Short-term career goals can be completed in 1-3 years, while long-term goals will take 3-5 years to finish. Your short-term goals should set you up to accomplish your long-term goals.
  • Assess your capabilities by coming up with an Individual Development Plan. Knowing how to set goals won’t help you if you don’t know yourself. Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are by taking some self-assessments.
  • Choose goals that are appropriate to your ultimate aims. Your career goals should be relevant to one another. If they aren’t, then you may need to narrow your focus. Your goals should match the type of job that you want and the quality of life that you want to lead.
  • Be clear about your goals with potential employers. Always be honest with potential employers about what you want to do with your life. If your goals differ from the company’s objectives, find a way bridge the gap between what you want for yourself and what your employer expects.

By doing goal-setting work now, you’ll be able to make conscious choices on your career path. You can always adjust your plan if things change for you, but the key is to give yourself a road map for success.

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

Reference

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