When is the best time to start preparing for a job interview? Fairly obvious it would seem… once you get the letter or phone call asking you to come to a certain address at a specific time to discuss a particular opportunity. If you think about it though, could it be that your preparations can start much sooner, and if that’s the case, what would those preparations look like? Getting a new job involves making a good impression on one or more decision makers within an organisation… this happens in different ways at various stages throughout the recruitment process.
There are at least three steps that you need to take either consciously or unconsciously before you will ever be called in to discuss an actual job opportunity. The first is the decision you make to actively look for work. When you make this decision a mental shift takes place, and way you think and act changes. As you identify the type of work you are looking for, you start looking for opportunities, including checking newspapers and online job sites, registering with employment agencies or contacting businesses directly. All this is part of your process of preparing for a job interview.
Next you find you are asked for a resume – the potential employer wants to know if you have the right mix of skills, attitudes and experience to meet their personnel needs. Your resume is YOU to a potential employer – it is in the fact the first stage of your job interview. From the information you provide in your resume it is decided whether or not they want to take the time to meet with you in person. It is important to make sure that you have a resume that showcases all that you have to offer an employer, because if it doesn’t, you may not get the chance to move to the next step of the process which is the formal job interview. Business owners and managers are busy people, with little time to waste unnecessarily.
Along with your resume, it is usual to provide a job application cover letter to introduce yourself. How well this presents, along with your resume, social media presence (more about that another time) and general phone manner, all contribute to the overall image that you create for yourself. In reality, this is the most important part of your job interview preparation, because without it you might not ever get that letter or phone call asking you to come to a face to face meeting!