(Family Features) With so many job openings these days, you may think you'll have an easy time sliding into a new role. Not so fast. Because of the huge number of options available and plenty of workers contemplating changes, you're likely to encounter some competition to land the job you want. A solid interview can help you close the deal.
Consider these five tips to help you make a great impression and land the job of your dreams:
1. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Avoid thinking of the interview as your first step toward a new job. Once you set the appointment, it's time to take a deeper dive to learn as much as you can about the company and position. Ideally, you did some of this legwork when you created a custom resume and cover letter, but for the interview, you need to know more. After arming yourself with all the information you can, practice answers to questions you expect the interviewer to ask.
2. Decide what the interviewer should know about you. Using the job description as a guide, create a list of points you want to communicate to show how your experience and knowledge fit the role. During the interview, pay attention to opportunities for sharing these details about your skillset. Most interviewers will give you the opportunity to add information you haven't covered; use this time to deliver a succinct summary of how you can succeed in the position.
3. Create your own list of questions. An interview isn't just about determining whether you're a fit for a job; you also need to decide whether the job is a fit for you. Think about what you need to know in order to feel confident accepting an offer. You might organize your thoughts by considering what is essential in a new job and what aspects are "nice to have."
4. Present yourself as a winning candidate. Impressions are everything when it comes to interviews. Dress to impress with well-fitted clothing appropriate for the job and practice good grooming habits, including details like trimming your nails and minimizing distractions like pet hair. Arrive early enough that you're not rushed or flustered when you check in for your appointment. Use good posture, a firm handshake and a clear, confident voice. Speak authoritatively but respectfully and try to make the interview a comfortable, conversational exchange.
5. Leave a lasting impression. Before you end the interview, ask for clear insight on the next steps in the process. Within 24 hours, send follow-up messages to each person you met with. Thank them for their time and include references specific to your conversation, such as elaborating on a question or reiterating a key point. This shouldn't be a copy-paste message, but rather a tailored one to each individual. Close by reiterating your interest and how your skills are a fit.
Find more advice for handling personal and professional challenges at eLivingtoday.com.