This is a guest post by Campus Ambassador Tory Nymick from Penn State University.
The holiday season is chock full of festive parties and fun events. It is a time when many families get together to celebrate and visit with one another. You can manage to practice some interview skills building while you are enjoying the great food and relaxing . . . Read on to find out how you can sneak in some interview prep at your next holiday party.
First impressions are key when meeting anyone, especially in an interview. When seeing long-distance family for the first time in a while, you will be making a new “first impression” on them. Think about how many times a relative has commented on how tall you’ve gotten or how grown up you have become – this is their new first impression of you. As you connect with family, think about how you are presenting yourself. Remember to smile and be engaging. The practice with friends and family will make it come more naturally, and it will be a lot easier to make a good impression to a potential employer later.
This is all about preparation. Seeing family at the holidays can be great, but a lot of us dread questions about our school work, career goals and love life, and we are not prepared with answers. One of the worst things that can happen in an interview is getting hit with a question that you have no idea how to answer. Employers like to ask all sorts of questions in interviews to try to throw you off and see how you will handle the stress. Prepare a few answers for these possible wince-worthy topics so you can tackle them with ease in any situation. Have a few stock answers prepared that will work for just about any type of question. Be as vague or specific as you want, but be ready to deliver your answers firmly and with confidence.
Grandma probably doesn’t know what you mean when you say you had a “winternship” over break. Practice elaborating on your experiences and speaking in commonly understood terms while updating your family so it will come naturally during an interview. Relatives always love hearing about your accomplishments!
Clean up Online
Everyone seems to have that one family member on Facebook who comments on everything. With more and more older generations using Facebook, there is a good chance that some members of your family are seeing all of your posts. It’s never good to have anything inappropriate out there on the internet, and employers will see the same thing as your family. Delete any bad pictures, language, references to partying, and negative rants about anyone or anything.
Christmas and Hanukkah can mean a lot of great gifts to be thankful for. Perfect your handwriting and grammar with personal thank you notes to your family and anyone else you receive a gift from. Think of an interview as a gift – you are being given an opportunity to land a job. Someone took the time and effort to pick you out of a pile of resumes, listen to what you have to say, and consider you for a position at their company. Follow up every interview with a personal, handwritten thank-you note.
Keep these tips in mind this season and your next interview will seem as natural as sitting around the table with your family and friends. Happy holidays!