Today we are expanding on the topic of finding a job after the PhD. This guest post by Ross Jilling gives you some ideas on how to stand out when you go for a job in the industry.
The economy has made finding a job increasingly difficult, but when you reach the interview stage there are a few steps you can take to increase your chances of landing the position. Being polite, forthcoming, honest, prepared, well-dressed and having extra resumes are all excellent preparation to be made, but if you focus on a few key areas, you’ll stand apart from the pack and increase your chances tremendously. Companies want employees who can communicate well, are personable, and know how to behave in professional settings, and the following will help prove that you are capable of such tasks.
Speak With Authority
The most common mistake people make during interviews is to speak elaborately and meekly. Filler words such as “um” and “like” should be avoided while talking to the interviewer. If necessary, pause while speaking to collect your ideas instead of using filler words. The company wants to see that you can communicate effectively, and as a professional. Verb tense should never be passive, either. A passive tense is typically dull, and many people find it boring. Instead, use active tenses to increase your own energy and raise the interviewer’s interest.
Remaining confident and upbeat can also help, but don’t be disingenuous. An interviewer may think that you come off as fake if you behave with too high-levels of energy. Instead, try to maintain a natural and healthy level of positive energy.
Practice Your Posture
Aside from speech, your posture is the second most important outward trait that others will use to judge you. It’s important not to slouch, recline, or sit awkwardly. It’s also best not to lean against objects while standing and to retain an upright posture. While seated, sit upright, back straight, with your feet planted firmly on the floor, or crossed. Hands should remain at your sides while standing, or in your lap while sitting; never fiddle with objects, play with garments, or fidget since unnecessary distractions may interrupt your thoughts and make conversation awkward.
Eye contact is another important and often-neglected aspect of posture. It may be difficult, but don’t let your eyes wander while speaking to the interviewer. Eye contact creates a human connection, and it also affirms an assertive presence.
There are common questions asked during nearly every interview. One is surely a variation of “tell me about yourself.” Always prepare for this question by creating a story about your past that has shaped your values, accomplishments, and goals. Make it informative but brief, so the interviewer may ask you questions afterward. Beforehand, do some research about the company and tie the organization’s values into your story as well.
Dress to Succeed
Most interviews will require business dress. For men, that means a button-down shirt and tie, slacks, and dress shoes. For women, it means a business suit, a blouse and skirt, or a dress paired with nice shoes. Appearing at an interview with a slovenly or casual appearance is unacceptable, and most interviewers will discard the interview, no matter how impressive you may be. Choose clothing that fits well and you’ll stand out on your own. Friends or family can help you choose clothing that works best, but remember to dress conservatively and in a way that doesn’t distract from the interview.
It’s important to stand out in a positive way during job interviews. Many interviewers will interview dozens of people, and your chances of getting the job drop dramatically if the interviewer cannot recall much about your time together. Speak clearly, maintain a strong presence, prepare a story that identifies you, dress well, and you’ll stand apart from the crowd.