Ace the interview with your own study guide!

With an interview study guide, YOU GOT THIS! (Photo courtesy of calmingmanatee.com)

With an interview study guide, YOU GOT THIS! (Photo courtesy of calmingmanatee.com)

Studying is a skill that can be used for more than just acing tests in school! Did you know you can use it to ace interviews too?

You wouldn’t confidently take an exam without studying. Similarly, I advise studying for your interview to be confident when the big day comes!

Interview study guides are PERFECT for:
– Phone interviews: use them as a “cheat sheet” right in front of you during the interview
– Mock interviews: giving your practice interviewer your study guide and resume helps them come up with questions to ask

Try making a study guide of your own! Here’s how you can start:

* DO NOT use this as a script. Memorizing lines adds stress and doesn’t sound genuine. Write small bullets as reminders of bigger stories and facts you don’t want to forget!

1. Title the page what role you are applying for.
Then, write down the location and time of your interview, plus any other event details like room number and parking instructions.

Marketing & Public Relations Internship, Future Employers, Inc.
Oct 10 @10:30 a.m. // 555 Main St. // Park in Visitor Lot // Ask for Mr. John Doe

2. Write a checklist of things to bring or do before the big day
That way you won’t forget!

[X] Print 4 copies of resume
[ ] Put business cards in portfolio
[ ] Update LinkedIn profile

3. If you know whom your interviewer is, take notes
Things to include could be job title, email, or facts you know about him/her. When initially offered an interview, don’t be afraid to ask whom your interviewer will be or how many you will have. It could help you prepare, and–who knows–it could be someone in your network!

One-on-one interview with John Doe
Director of Communications, Future Employers, Inc.
jdoe@futureemployers.com
– Oversees department you are applying for
– 10 years experience in marketing, public relations, and management

4. Jot relevant facts about yourself
There is so much to talk about, but this makes sure you mention all the right information like your experience, what your passions are, accomplishments, etc. Basically, put down your elevator pitch!

– 6 years of journalism experience ranging from print to broadcast and online
– Passion for storytelling and guest service
– Received award for best PR campaign execution in 2014

5. List your goals

1. Learn more about the food industry and grow as a pre-professional as an intern for Future Employers, Inc.
2. Aspiring towards a career in corporate communications

6. Think about WHY you want this role
Chances are, you will be asked this question. Chances are, if you can’t answer this question, you’re in trouble.

– Have a passion for corporate communications—really enjoy that side of PR
– Have seen Future Employers’ website  enjoyed reading their press materials
– Researched company culture → feel my goals align with the company’s and department’s

(Side note: research your company and its culture! Knowing the company mission and some aspects of company culture are big brownie points! You can find this info on their website.)

7. Highlight the key responsibilities and buzzwords listed in the job description
Next to them, put quick phrases of how they specifically relate to you and your past experience. Keyword: specifically.

Manage social media channels: managed daily Facebook posts at past internship; facilitated Twitter chat for public relations capstone project; social media manager for PR club
Balance many tasks at once: executed two campaigns at one time during PR capstone; prioritize between work and school
Self-starter/take initiative: launched my own blog in 2013; proposed a campaign idea at my internship; addressed budget issue at work by proposing a solution

8. List questions you want to ask your interviewer
You don’t know everything, so asking questions shows that you have a genuine interest in the role. You may have thought of questions while you applied. Don’t forget to ask them while you have the chance!

– Describe a typical day in this role.
– What are some projects the past employee in this role worked on?
– What qualities do you look for in the ideal candidate?

VOILA! You made a comprehensive study guide to ace your interview!

If you find practice interview questions on glassdoor.com or elsewhere, you can also throw those and your answers to them in your study guide.

* I don’t suggest having this in front of you during an in-person interview, but it’s good to study in your car before you go inside!

Let me know what you think! This helps me, but how do you prepare for a big interview?

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One thought on “Ace the interview with your own study guide!

  1. Very nice tips! I did most of these for an interview I did recently and it landed me a job, so I can vouch for their effectiveness.

    Ones that I found especially important were asking whom your interviewer(s) are and researching them online (but not in a creepy way). Your skills, experience, and aspirations are all factors that you can control, but your interviewer and what they do are not.

    Getting to know your interviewer makes the interview itself a lot easier because you can find commonalities with them and use that to make them less intimidating. Interesting work experience they’ve had can even generate questions to ask at the interview. Just be sure not to deviate from the actual job you’re interviewing for!

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