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A former Internship Coordinator with Transamerica offered the following tips on how students could better prepare for an interview with her company – tips which are appropriate for preparing for any job-related interview.

Resume Tips
Even though your resume is one of hundreds a recruiter may see, it can still stand out from the job-seeking crowd. Use these five tips to help your resume get a first — and second — glance.

  • Deliver a clear, concise, strong headline and objective statement
  • Identify personal qualities and back up with concrete examples
  • Quantify your past performances
  • Concentrate on key words in the job description
  • Leave no room for mistakes

The Interview

Pre-interview

  • Do your homework – research the organization, the position you are interviewing for, as well as yourself
  • Transfer past experiences to the job you are interviewing for
  • Practice – think of possible questions the interviewer may ask you based on your resume or cover letter and generate solid responses
  • Develop a list of questions about the organization and the position
  • Arrive at least ten minutes early
  • Bring extra copies of resume, cover letter, references, etc.

Mid-interview

  • Establish eye contact early and maintain it all the way through
  • Offer a firm handshake upon arrival and acknowledge each person in the room
  • Deliver focused and concise answers – keep answers on point
  • Think as “we” – put yourself on their team
  • Sell yourself honestly and respectfully
  • Ask questions

Traditional vs. Behavioral Interviews

Traditional Interviews

  • Focus on interviewee’s ability to effectively communicate
  • Questions don’t relate to past behavior or specific positions
  • Ask “Why do you want to work for this organization?” or “What are your career goals?”

Behavioral Interviews

  • Based on idea that past behavior is best predictor of future behavior
  • Look for specific examples, use probing follow-up questions, and focus on gaining a balanced perspective
  • Ask “Describe a time when you were a leader of a successful team.” or “Tell me about a time when you were given a vague assignment. What did you do?”

The key to answering behavioral interview questions is to answer in the STAR format!Situation or Task
Describe the problem, major obstacles, the specific event, or what had to be done.
Action
What did you do?  What were the steps you followed?  Remember to focus on you!
Result
How did it turn out? What did you accomplish?

Do you have a great tip on preparing for job interviews? Share with us!

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