Career: Interview Tips to Land Your Dream Job


It’s a new year! One of your new year resolutions may be to switch employers, secure a promotion or change careers. The beginning of the year generally opens doors to new opportunities as employer’s budgets have been finalized, retiree’s positions are open and companies are looking to fill positions.

Whatever your career goals are for 2017, it is important when your opportunity arrives, you are ready and put your best foot forward. Below are some tips to help you secure your dream job


Update Your Resume

If you have been at your current employer for years or changing careers, it is imperative to update your resume. Your resume is what inspires an employer to  reach out to you. This is your first impression to a hiring Manager or HR professional. Make it count. Ensure your resume is up to par.

Check that there are no grammatical errors. This is a pet peeve of mine. I will not call a candidate that has typos and a poorly written resume. If the individual did not put in the effort and time to ensure his/her resume is presentable; may be a clear indication of the candidate’s attention to detail if he/she works with you.

List your accomplishments, this is something I like to see on a resume. Don’t be afraid to brag a little about your achievements. Your resume is the place to highlight these activities.

Briefly list your responsibilities in previous roles; this will give employers a clear picture of your experience. Notice I said briefly. Hiring Managers want to be able to skim your resume to see if you may be a good fit. Make it easy for them by not listing a long list of responsibilities. If you get the interview, you will have the opportunity to go in more detail at that time.

The Interview Starts Before You Step in The Building

One of the biggest misconceptions candidates have is, their interview starts once they are in front of the hiring Manager. I start interviewing when I make the call to set up the interview appointment. I take note of items such as how did the person sound on the phone? Did they sound professional? Did they seem excited to receive the call? What was their tone? Were they accommodating when scheduling the interview?

Once the interview is confirmed, start preparing. Look at the description for the position, this will tell you what the employer is looking for. Research possible questions you could be asked and be prepared to answer them. Practice out loud your responses. Tape record yourself so you can play back how you sound. Some individuals have done mock interviews with a friend or mentor and video-taped themselves to assess where improvements can be made.

Dress for success. Dressing professionally, goes without saying. No matter what type of position you are applying for, ensure you are dressed professionally. Your clothes should be clean, pressed and presentable.

Treat the receptionist or the person who escort you to the hiring Manager, with courtesy and respect. At a previous institution, I worked for–when an applicant came to fill out an application or for an interview, the receptionist had a questionnaire unbeknownst to the candidate that was completed. Some of the questions were, did the person make eye contact? Did the individual smile? Was the individual courteous? Remember employers like to know who they really are hiring, not who they think they are hiring. Always be prepared.

During the Interview

During the interview, try not to be overly nervous. It’s normal to be nervous during an interview, however you want to minimize this as much as possible to have an effective interview. Some practices I do before an interview is to take slow, deep, breaths before entering the interview. I am aware that I tend to talk faster when I am nervous, I purposely slow my speech down so that I sound “normal”. Make eye contact. If you are not making eye contact, the interviewer may think you are not being honest. Let your true personality come through.

Be confident but not arrogant. Confidence is a good quality. Some ways you can convey you are confident are:

  • Make eye contact, introduce yourself and give a firm handshake
  • Make eye contact throughout the interview
  • Project your voice
  • Smile
  • Tell a story when appropriate

Sell yourself. The purpose of the interview is for the employer to get to know you, for you to get more information regarding the company and position, and to sell yourself. Let the interviewer know what you have accomplished and what you are capable of. One of the questions I usually ask during an interview is “If I have two candidates and you are one of those candidates, both candidates have the same experience, look the same on paper, and are both equally qualified for the position. Tell me why you should be selected over the other candidate?” This is your chance to sell yourself. The interviewer has given you the opportunity to convince them why you should be selected. Use that opportunity wisely.

Be prepared to ask the interviewer questions. I like to hear candidates ask questions, it shows they are serious about working together. Please beware basic questions about the position and company may be covered in the interview. So, have some creative questions in mind in case your question was already answered earlier.

Here is a list of things you should not do during the interview:

  • Be late for the interview
  • Dress inappropriately
  • Use slang
  • Ask about the salary unless the interviewer brings it up
  • Speak about your current or previous manager negatively
  • Chew gum
  • Speak about your personal issues/situations
  • Ask about internal confidential policies and procedures
  • Argue with the person conducting the interview


After the interview, thank the individual for their time and give a firm handshake. This last pointer, many people fail to do after an interview and that is to send a thank you note. I think sending a thank you note shows gratitude and sincerity for the opportunity to possible work together. If I am undecided between two candidates or if I am unsure about one candidate, the thank you note can give the candidate the extra boost for the position. The thank you note preferable should be an email. You can also mail a letter. The letter should briefly outline why you should be selected for the position, a thank you again for their time and convey that after speaking with them, your continued interest in the position.

Interviewing is an art. If it has been awhile since you went on an interview, prepare and knock the interview out the park!

If you enjoyed this post please visit Ways To Find Your Passion and Turn It Into A Career


Written by: Rochella Neely
an “open book”

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Thanks for stopping by! I am a business woman, blogger, wife and mother. I help women balance the challenging roles of career and family life by sharing resources, tips and experiences. I have worked in the financial industry for almost 20 years and I have two children.
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