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Your First Opportunity: Getting the Interview

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Getting your first job interview is your career’s most significant opportunity. Well-begun is half done! If you start-off well, chances are stronger that you will be more successful in your career than your peers. However, you must understand that if you qualify for a job position, there will be other candidates as well who will do the same. It is about competition. You have to stand out. Remember to do your homework well and prove to your employer that you are the right person for the job.


Grabbing Your First Opportunity

Finding your first opportunity can be a daunting task. Follow the following simple steps to get your first job interview:
1. Have patience and prepare yourself for the job hunt. It is important to prepare yourself for the challenging task of hunting job. You must set a few rules that will give your strength and patience during the entire process. It is important to maintain your calm and good health.
2. Prepare a simple and effective resume. Since you are looking for your first job, it is obvious that you would not have lot of experience to put through. However, you can add details of professional workshops, industrial trainings and professional qualifications. Make a resume based on employer needs. You may have a certification in photography but there might not be any relevance with an IT job for which you are applying. Hence, there is no point trying to sell your photography qualification. Think aloud!
3. Use online networking and your professional linkages. Online job portals and employment agencies are the best places to find your first job interview opportunity. Companies conduct walk-ins for fresh candidates and you can participate in bulk hiring programs. You can also utilize your alumni groups or associations to find relevant jobs. A placement agency in your college or university is also a good source to find your first opportunity
4. Wear smart formals and look confident. The first interview can kick your nerves; but is important to look confident and mature. You must wear smart formals and have a neat look. Employers would not like to deal with a filthy or messy fresher. Also, you must look witty and confident – somebody who can learn and adapt quickly
5. Do your homework. It is essential to research about the company and know their nature of business. List about three or four questions that you believe can be asked and prepare their responses well. A good response is not one in which you speak a lot; a good answer with an intelligent response is. Have realistic expectations from the job. During your first job interview, it is extremely important to establish the fact that you have analytical skills. Most of the times, employers are only looking for ‘learning abilities’ in first-timer candidates
6. Appear for you interview in time. This is the most important aspect; you cannot afford to be late for your first interview. Ensure that you carry your resume or job portfolio in a professional folder. Report at least 15 minutes before the schedule
7. Follow-up Effectively. Wait for a week before you follow up with the employer. Usually, you must contact the HR department to know the interview results. Remember, employers are looking for smart and determined candidates who can follow-up with customers. Follow-up is actually a way of demonstrating your willpower

What You Can Ask an Interviewer

During your first interview, it is essential to establish two-way communication. Most of the times, first-time jobseekers make the interview look like an examination. Such an attitude bores the interviewer. Ensure that you are not always listening or answering. You must also ask intelligent questions to your interviewer. You can ask questions about your job role and show that you are interested in the job position. Following are some examples of questions that you can ask your interviewer:
1. How many people work in this department? What is the reporting structure?
2. Do you think I can give any references or examples to prove my value?
3. What kind of trainings will be offered in the job position? How will my career path be?
4. How will I be evaluated? What can I do to ensure high performance?
5. What additional responsibilities can I take up to prove my multi-tasking skills?
Maintain Your Focus during the Interview

Your first interview is really special. The following are a few things that you must stick to during your job interview:
 In your responses, narrate your experiences and strengths. Imagine situations and discuss how you will handle real-life work challenges.
 Describe experiences and use your analytical skills to give satisfactory responses to the employer. You can rehearse some stories to exhibit your problem solving skills
 Ensure that you research about some industry challenges that are related to the employer. Demonstrate how you will use your qualifications and smartness to deal with such challenges
 Make sure you communicate to the employer what you are looking for. Do not talk about perks and benefits much. Instead, talk about how you would want the position to be challenging. Mention that you are keen to learn new skills
 Ensure that you address the employer’s ‘must have list’ in your responses. Ask about the company’s future plans and match your skills set and interest with those. Discuss freely with your interviewer
 Remember to be passionate and enthusiastic. You must have a two-way communication and see how you can meet your employer requirements best. Do not forget to ask about the employer’s expectations. Be enthusiastic. Don’t be desperate. Give your employer reasons to hire you

Match Interviewer’s Communication Style

Clearing an interview is not about having skills alone. It is also about how well you get along with your interviewer. For this, you must match your interviewer’s communication style. For example, if your interviewer is talking all business, do not try to get personal with him. If an interviewer is trying to be friendly and looks relaxed, there is no harm in being friendly within limits and keep a moderate style of talking rather than being extremely formal. You must always focus on the questions and try to satisfy the interviewer with your responses. Follow-up by asking if there is any additional information you can provide to prove yourself better.

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