Your interview is your make-or-break moment, but not all of us can afford a personal career coach. Here’s how to practice on the cheap.
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Interviewing: It’s the make-it or break-it moment in your job hunt.
You know you don’t want to blow it. That’s why getting professional interview coaching is a great investment—if you can swing it.
If you can’t (and that’s a lot of us), here are eight free ways to look and feel like you’ve had professional prep:
1. Treat interviewing like any other new skill you’re learning
Don’t be hard on yourself. You’re not expected to be good at interviews right away. Practice and patience are the way to go.
2. Join a Meetup group that focuses on interview training or coaching
This is also a great way to meet other people who aren’t super-excited to interview. It often helps knowing you’re not the only person in that boat.
3. Invest a certain amount of time per week to memorizing key terms on your resume
Rehearse talking about those action words on your resume—like “achieved,” “accomplished,” “built,” “created,” “innovated.” Make a commitment to yourself to read your notes over and over again until you’re comfortable describing yourself in those terms.
4. Practice talking about your prior work (over and over)
Write about it. Sing about it. Do whatever works for you as a learning mechanism. Don’t quit until you’ve got the calm, authoritative demeanor of a seasoned evening newscaster.
5. Prepare for questions about your capabilities
Be ready with two examples of work you did in your old gig(s) that demonstrate the qualities or skills the interviewer’s company is looking for.
6. Let a friend interrogate you
Okay, not really. But if you’re friends with someone who does interviewing as part of their day job—like a journalist, HR employee or attorney—treat them to a coffee or lunch in exchange for a mock interview. Insist on honest and genuine feedback.
7. Make appointments to see as many recruiters as you possibly can
Practice makes perfect. Take the time to weigh recruiters’ reactions to you, and ask for constructive feedback.
8. If all else fails, at the beginning of your interview, tell the interviewer you’re a little nervous
They will understand; everyone gets nervous at interviews. And sometimes, when you’re honest and authentic about how you’re feeling, the nerves fall away and you perform much better.
Irene Kotov is the founder of Arielle Consulting, a business that helps people effectively manage their careers through online presence creation, resume writing services and interview coaching.