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Interview Advice - The daunting task of landing your first career step


After achieving a degree at university, if you have no plans for further education, the next step to getting the job you want is to go through the interview process.


Recently, I've participated a lot of job interviews for both journalism publications as well as PR agencies, and with those experiences I've thought of a few ways to be prepared for before, during and after an interview.


Before the interview

Regardless of what company or business you're applying for, the first step for an interview is to do the right amount of preparation beforehand.


First, think about what you're going to need to talk about. Your personal and professional experience is going to be what they want to hear about most so make sure you have a few talking points that show off what skills you've learnt. It's also a good idea to balance between talking about the most impressive examples of experience you have, as well as examples you found a lot of enjoyment in, or are particularly passionate about.


Second, it's important to fully understand the job and company you're applying for. Make sure to read the job description carefully and consider what talents or skills you have that they might be looking for. Also research the company themselves. What exactly do they do? Does it seem like a team-based company? How long have they been around? You can even check external sources like Glassdoor which lets you read reviews by ex-employees.


During the interview

When the time comes to sit down and take part in the interview there are a few tips to improve your chances of getting the job.


Your appearance and your attitude are incredibly important. Wearing the right clothing to look smart and professional is a step in the right direction. This is always something you can incorporate into your prior research by asking them what their dress code is, so you have a better idea of what clothing is acceptable. Looking your best also says a lot about you as a person, as it shows that you're consciously making an effort for them.


Your attitude is also something to focus on. Try to come across as bubbly, energetic and passionate about your subject. Remember to smile and look attentive, to show you're listening to what they're saying and that you're excited to talk about your experiences. Looking and sounding confident is also crucial but in moderation. You should make sure your confidence isn't mistaken for arrogance. However, the most important thing to do is be yourself, as it'll be you who'll hopefully be working there soon.


While you're being interviewed, listen closely to what you're being asked. If you didn't hear them properly, don't be scared to ask them to repeat the question. Try to remember what they ask too, as most of the time you'll hear similar or the same questions in other interviews giving you an idea of what to expect.


Another useful tip is to have some questions in mind for them about the role. This shows you've put some thought into it and that you're interested in learning more.


After the interview

When the interview is over, the only thing left to do is wait to hear back from them. During this time, it's best to not think about it too much. Thinking about what you could have said or said differently will only lead to unnecessary worry. The best thing to do is push it to the back of your mind and wait for their response.


If you haven't heard anything back for a while, or if they said they'd let you know either way if you've got the job or not, don't be afraid to send them a short email politely asking them if there's an update.


Unfortunately, you're never guaranteed to get the job. Sometimes there's just a better candidate who had something you didn't, but never take this to heart. The important thing to do if you're unsuccessful is to turn the negative into a positive and seek feedback. Ask them in a nice way why you didn't get the job and what they'd suggest you should do to improve your chances next time. Something else you could do is ask them if they'd be able to set up a work placement for you in the future just to get that extra bit of experience.


Finally, never give up trying. Just because you've been unsuccessful in some interviews doesn't mean you won't be successful eventually. Just keep trying and learning and eventually something will give.


Sam is a University of Salford graduate where he studied a joint course of journalism and PR

Sam can be contacted on LikedIn- https://www.linkedin.com/in/sam-cawley-93598a120/


Note: 'Student Blog' articles highlight the student perspective on issues relating to ProtectED. Consequently, this article reflects the views of the author and not ProtectED.

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