So you are looking for your next job. You have a great resume. You submitted it. HR chose you out of the hundreds of applicants and scheduled an interview. Great! Now it’s game time.
Step 1: Have a Vision
Everything that you have done up until now has been about getting the interview. Now you need to shift gears and focus on getting the job.
What’s the difference?
When the interview is your goal, a lot of time and energy is spent on packaging your past to show how you are a qualified candidate with the experience necessary to get the job done. When the job is your goal, your time and energy should be spent on finding a place for that package which meshes with the mission and future goals of the company. The best way to do this is to have a vision.
In preparation for that interview, you should be learning more about the company and what they do. Their website is a good place to start, but there’s so much more out there. Have you read their blog(s)? Hit Google News? Searched in industry trade publications? Looked for people you might interact with on LinkedIn? Checked out their activity on Twitter?
Gather all of this information and think for a bit about what it means. How do your findings mesh with the specific position your applying for? How does what you are bringing to the position (past) make you one of the best candidates?
What are your goals for this position? Yes, your goals. How will this position at this company help you get to where you are going in your career?
Take the information that you have learned about the company, connect it to your thoughts on the position (how you’re a good fit and how you plan to use this position to further your career) and use it to create a vision that you could deliver in three to four minutes.
Step 2: Share that Vision
I am far from being an expert when it comes to interviews. I’ve certainly made mistakes in the past, but the insights I’m sharing here come not from being the interviewee but the interviewer.
In my experience, the candidates with a vision seem to make it farther.
Question: You’ve interviewed with a few people here at GreatComm. Are there any particular areas of work that you are interested in?
Well, I am really interested in working with Crisis Communications and Social Media.
I have a background with health patient groups like the American Diabetes Association, both with traditional and new media campaigns, so I think that would make me a good fit for the health care practice. (Past) However, I would like to gain experience in Crisis Communications and Social Media as well. (Future)
Case studies like the Domino’s Pizza employee scandal show how powerful social media can be in crisis situations. Ultimately, I would like to be the person who creates and executes the strategy for responding to those types of situations. (Goals)
Now, we may not all agree that Candidate B has made the best response, but we should be able to agree that he or she has a better chance than Candidate A. The second candidate has contextualized their experience, expressed an interest in a service that the company provides and shared one of their goals for the future.
Candidate B has a vision.
While they are not the only two steps involved with getting a job, if you have a vision and share that vision, you certainly will be on better ground than the competition.
James S. Walker is an online project manager at APCO Worldwide. He spends his daytime hours supplying strategic communications solutions to clients looking to engage online and shares his thoughts on social media and the PR industry at his blog. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.