PREPARE TO SUCCEED
Whether you're trying to land an internship, full-time position, or even get a promotion, here's a basic guide on how to leave the interview feeling like you did your absolute best. More importantly, this guide will help you leave a lasting impression on the interviewers that you were unanimously one of their best candidates.
HOW TO PREPARE*
List Required Skills & Abilities
Review the job description and create a list of skills needed for the job (i.e. negotiation, problem solving, collaboration, analytical ability, etc.)
List Examples & Success Stories
Create 2-3 examples for each skill you listed. Also make a list of 3-5 success stories.
Here's one example of a success story:
Highlight Characteristics & Attributes
Here's the fun part where you get to dive into all the things that make you so great! For each example you've created, come up with 1-3 characteristics you have that helped aid in making the results possible.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Prepare for your interview by having a mentor/coach ask you interview questions. Let them know what skills you want to hone in on so they can google search a few questions that target those topics. This will also give you the chance to get used to picking the best example for different types of questions. I recommend doing at least 5 mock interview questions. From there, you can google questions on your own and practice answering them. Consider recording your responses to determine if you're rambling or leaving out important information. Make sure you can answer the inevitable first question, "Tell me about yourself," in 90 seconds.
It's best to treat every opportunity you get to interact with the employer as a formal interview even if it's over the telephone. There's nothing worse than being on a phone call and not being prepared to answer the tough questions because you didn't prepare.
Remember to practice some challenging questions. These questions are critical because you want to prove that even when you're given lemons, you know how to make lemonade. Some examples include:
Use STAR - Situation. Task. Action. Result(s).
Seek Additional Guidance
This recommendation is based solely on your needs and what you feel like you're missing from your interview prep. For example, if someone with no experience in your field of interest helped you prepare for the mock interview, you may want to utilize your network to speak with someone who works at the organization where you've applied or at least works in the industry. If you're still in school, reach out to a coach at your campus' career center for advice. If you're pursuing a position at an organization where you already work, use your current supervisor, the manager of the position you're pursuing, and employees that have done that position as a resource.
Do Your Research
We've thoroughly tackled how to talk about yourself, but have you considered how you'll talk about your knowledge of the position, the organization, and the industry as a whole? Here's a few topics to consider:
Leave a Lasting Impression
Prepare questions for the telephone screening/interview as well as any in-person interviews. One of those questions should always include "What is the next step in the hiring process?" or "When should I expect to hear back from you with your decision?". Here's a few other suggestions:
Thank You Email
Send a thank you email within 24 hours of the interview. The sooner you send the email, the better because they'll remember you. This also gives you the opportunity to highlight something the interviewer said that stood out to you. Examples are provided below. I recommend google searching other examples for further guidance.
This example is ideal for after an telephone interview:
This example is ideal for after an in-person interview:
*By this point, you've already updated your resume to reflect the skills and experiences that are valuable to the position you're pursuing. I'd recommend getting help from a mentor on your resume and cover letter before applying. If that's not possible, be sure to have someone look over your resume before the interview. You can always provide an updated copy in-person. Be sure to bring several copies for everyone in the room.
GO TO GROW
My last piece of advice is to prepare under the notion that this is your chance to sell yourself. I fully advocate that you HUMBLY BRAG about how great you are! There's no room for modesty. You want the interviewer to be thoroughly convinced that you're already so awesome that they should choose you.
Regardless of the outcome, you've gained something much greater, which is simply knowing your worth. The saying 'what is for you is for you' applies, but it's also important to recognize that a job isn't everything. You can get "the job" only to find out that it isn't for you. You could get "the job" and find out it most definitely is for you. My point is that I've found more value in striving for success in order to grow than striving for success in hopes of achieving perfection.
I hope this guide is insightful! I'm always happy to help, so feel free to leave a comment or contact me on instagram @livingSOULplete.
Until next time, beYOUtiful, keep life sweet, and never stop feeding your soul. -xo
GRWM & LET'S CHAT
I figured it's time we discuss why your natural hair is NOT professional. PERIOD.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
The concern of whether your natural hair is professional is a topic that came up unexpectedly amongst a group of young professionals this past summer and it really through me for a loop. I figured that since it's 2018, we were all on the same page about unapologetically living our best natural lives. That means wearing lemonade braids, locs, box braids, afros, wigs, weaves, etc. I thought we were all embracing black girl magic at its finest. I quickly learned that through our conversation, we all were not. We're still concerned about how we'll be treated for choosing to be our authentic selves. My hope is that this video has broadened your view of how professionalism looks. Most importantly, I hope you're inspired to wear your natural hair to the office without fear or doubt.
As always, beYOUtiful, keep life sweet, and never stop feeding your soul. -xo
14 BUSINESS CASUAL OFFICE OUTFITS
I love using my personal style, which includes a lot of bright colors and patterns, to inspire my professional outfits. I also love a great deal. Watch my Business Casual Lookbook featuring 14 looks to see how I achieve both!
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE OUTFIT?
I hope you enjoyed my business casual lookbook. I tried to incorporate looks that were on the high end, low end, and somewhere in the middle of the business casual scale. That way, you have an idea of how to dress comfortably without feeling like that means being in slacks or a pencil skirt everyday. I encourage you to have fun with your office attire. Try to make it reflect your energy in the most affordable way possible. My favorite places (in-store and online) to find affordable office wear are detailed below:
Let me know which look was your favorite and what types of questions you have about taking responsibility for your professional development. As always, beYOUtiful, keep life sweet, and never stop feeding your soul. -xo
IDEAL TIPS FOR CURRENT & ASPIRING PROFESSIONALS
5) Do your research.
This solely depends on the circumstances surounding the event. For an event that includes several companies such as a career fair or an event with only one company like a speaker series, you want to be familiar and well-versed with the company and its opportunities. I recommend preparing questions ahead of time so you appear prepared and engaged. Keep in mind that you should research basic things (i.e. products, what they do, year-end results, etc.), but also look into industry specific things the organization is doing that interests you and impacts your career goals. For an event at a company in which you already work, you probably don't need to do any research. Instead, be able to speak to what you do from a high-level perspective as well as your department's prior quarterly performance. Also be able to speak to the most recent product changes/current company-wide projects that impact your work.
4) Be curious, casual, yet professional.
It can be stressful, especially as an introvert, to even consider attending a networking event. I remember dreading networking events all throughout undergrad. I always wondered what in the world I would talk about with someone I don't know. Even more nerve wrecking, how can I get this person who knows nothing about me to like me enough to hire me for an internship, a job, or provide me with a recommendation. First, slow your row. None of that matters. Second, just be curious and get to know whomever you're speaking with on a casual level. Ask things like:
Be curious and ask questions that allow you to not only gain insight of the organization's opportunities and culture, but also allow you to get to the know the person you're speaking with .
3) Listen & connect.
This sounds simple, but when you're nervous, it's very hard to listen. That's why it's important to maintain a natural curious energy. Meaning, you're inquiring information from the other person that warrants them to elaborate on their thoughts and experiences. From what they share, you can determine what you have in common. Remember, networking is not about what you can receive. It's about building connections. If you're receiving bad energy and there's no effort from the other party, let the person know it was nice meeting them and move on to a more fulfilling conversation with someone else.
Don't forget to network with your peers!! These are some of the most connections you can develop . Life is ever-changing. You never know when you'll cross paths with a former classmate or colleague. This can also help you pass time while you wait to speak with someone who may have a long line of people also waiting to speak with them.
2) Keep track & request to stay connected.
This is an area I struggle with, but it's often times most important. I always have trouble keeping track of everyone I speak with, so don't make my mistakes. When you leave a networking event, you want to know who you met. This means you'll want to remember a name, who they work for or what they do. If that means you need to ask for business cards from everyone you speak with, do it. If they don't have a business card, write their information down. We live in a world of technology. If it's someone you want to keep in-touch with, ask if you can add them on LinkedIn. Be proactive about keeping in touch or at least following-up with a thank you email to people who made a positive impression on you. Maybe you're looking for mentorship, which means you have to initiate and maintain the relationship. Therefore, don't ask for mentorship, simply exhibit the qualities in order to build a mentee/mentor bond. Following-up and keeping in touch is essential.
1) Be yourself to exude confidence.
You're going to feel your most confident when you are yourself. When you truly understand that you're an introvert, but it's not a limitation, that's when you'll shine the brightest. When you put an end to self-doubt, you'll perform at your best. When you love yourself and know you've got this, you'll be blessed. Stay true to you. That's where you confidence lies. It's not hard to be yourself. So when you're preparing your 90 second pitch about yourself, do it authentically. That's the key to networking.
HOW'D IT GO?
Please let me know if these tips helped ease your mind as you prepared for your next networking endeavor. Thank you for reading the first blog post for my new Professional Development Series. Hope you will stay tuned as they'll be more blog posts and videos to come!
As always, beYOUtiful, keep life sweet, and never stop feeding your soul. -xo