Celebrating recent successes, I found myself reflecting on two clients in particular who made us earn our keep! While there were unique elements to both situations that made them stand apart, they represented mindsets and behaviors that we often see repeated. I wanted to take a few blog opportunities to chronicle their experiences and share with you in their own words what they learned and wish they had known from the start. Sitting down with each of them, post-job acceptance celebration, here is Part I of what they shared:
What was the hardest thing for you?
Getting started. I would say my biggest hurdle was learning how to speak about my resume and experience relative to the position at hand. I had to first become familiar with my own resume, and then map out how I would navigate it for each role. If you can picture assigning a letter to each job, A to G if you’ve had seven jobs, you might for one interview go from A to B to E&F, and then for your next interview you never speak to E, F or G at all. For each interview I identified what jobs were relevant, what specific details were relevant, and then practiced relating it as if simply telling a story.
How did you organize this process?
When I first practiced telling my story I wrote it all out and tried to memorize it. It sounded like a rehearsed speech and I couldn’t even stand to listen. I broke the text down into a simple outline, and that’s what I used as a basis for every interview. It gave me room to be natural and make adjustments depending on the actual interview situation.
How did you include non-paid experience?
I didn’t know that along with the chronology of my experience I could include volunteer and other types of work on the side. I learned to incorporate my work with charities and associations that related to the employer or job. This helped me speak to some areas where I maybe didn’t have actual paid work experience, but yes, I had organized volunteers and introduced change at my club that made a difference.
What order did you go?
My first mistake was rehearsing my experience from start to finish. I started with my first job out of school and ended with my current role. By the time I got to what I’m doing now, which by all accounts would be the most interesting to the interviewer, he was exhausted. I learned to reverse the order and start with my current job first. It’s a backwards way to tell the story but it actually works.
How did you envision the actual interview?
I was always surprised by the number of people in the interview and how it was structured. When I expected one there were five and then the reverse. I learned to be flexible and adapt to pre-typed questions set before me on the table, as well as open discussions that felt more like an informal chat. The better I got at knowing my own story the less the interview staging mattered.
Stay tuned for Part II of this two-part series on Interviewing the Interview