How to Crush Your First Job Interview

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Many students work these days, and fortunately many businesses see students as a great source for employment. Searching and interviewing for your first job can be scary. That’s understandable. This may be the first time that you have ever had to talk to an employer about your skills or sell them as to why they should hire you. But with a little knowledge, self-confidence and enthusiasm, you can overcome your fears and grab the job you’re looking for.

5 Tips that will make your search for an after school job easier and more successful:

1. First and most important, you need to know yourself. Not every job is right for you. At this point in your life, you may not have many obvious skills to offer, but that is ok. Most employers work with first-time employees to build the skills they need and to show them how to succeed. It’s more important at this stage to know what kind of job fits your personality. If you’re outgoing and friendly, then a job where you work with customers, like Chick-fil-A, might be a good fit. If you’re more reserved, then a job where working directly with customers isn’t required may be the way to go. Make a list of your personality traits, strengths and abilities and you will have more confidence that you can find the right job. 


2. Once you know the kind of job you want, do a little research on the businesses that you want to interview with. Many of your friends may have jobs in the business you’re interested in, so ask around. Where do your friends work? Do they like their job and employer? Do they think you would be a good fit where they work? Are there openings that they are aware of? 


3. Know what hours you can work and be prepared to be flexible. If you’re a student, most employers know that you need to work around school, homework and extracurricular activities. 


So go into the interview prepared to talk about the hours you can work and what kind of flexibility you have in your schedule. And be prepared to compromise if you have to. Getting your first job may mean reprioritizing some of your current activities.

4. Now that you’ve decided where to work and landed an interview, it’s time to prepare to meet with your potential employer. Don’t freak out. It doesn’t have to be intimidating. But there are a couple of rules you should know.

                  · Be punctual. First impressions are important. Your future boss’s first concern is that you are responsible and really want the job. Showing up early for the interview gives him or her an indication of both. 


                  · Be friendly to everyone who you meet. It’s not only the boss you’re trying to impress. Sometimes another employee can influence the hiring decision. 


                  · Dress appropriately. Make sure that you are dressed and groomed appropriately for the job and the business. Some companies like Chick-fil-A do not allow facial hair, so you know and comply with the standards of the company, even for the interview. Employers want to know that you will represent their business well. Dressing properly shows respect for yourself and for your future employee. 


                  · Show confidence. Make sure that you make a lot of eye contact during the interview— and smile. Your personality, not your current skills, will win the day. 


                  · Fill out every part of the job application form using your best handwriting, and review it carefully. Try not to leave anything out. If you need clarity on any part of it, just ask. Also, it goes without saying to be honest in your application. Don’t make answers up or inflate the facts. 


5. Okay. You survived the job interview. In fact, you did well. But your job isn’t over. Whether you were offered the job on the spot (hopefully), or not, always follow-up with a thank you email or note. You would be surprised how often that simple gesture will sway the decision to hire you or not. If you were hired, this step will confirm to your new boss that he made a great choice in hiring you.