How to Ace an Interview in a New Career

You finally landed an interview for your dream career, but now you’re fumbling through the interview as the hiring team keeps throwing questions that you have no idea how to answer. Sound familiar? It’s one thing to make yourself look good on paper when you have plenty of time to write and edit, but acing an interview is an entirely different feat. 

Before the Interview

Your interview starts before you ever walk in the door. Avoid self-sabotage with these tips.

Clean Up Your Online Reputation

70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates before the interview, according to a CareerBuilder survey. However, that doesn’t mean you should set all your profiles to private — your social media presence can help your odds as much as it can hurt them.

When employers Google you or scroll through your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, they want to see information that backs up your resume, a professional image, and solid communication skills. What they don’t want is pictures of you partying, posts trash-talking your former employer, or anything else unprofessional.

Make sure employers find what they’re looking for by setting personal posts to private while keeping professional content public. If there’s not much to show, enlist the help of a reputation management company to generate positive content about your accomplishments to make sure the good stuff, not anything harmful, pops up on the first page of search results.

Touch Base with Your References

Employers usually want to contact references shortly after the interview. The last thing you want is for your references to be caught off guard and give a lackluster review. Get in touch with your references before the interview to catch them up on your career shift and make sure they’re ready to share positive words.

Build Your Self-Confidence

Confident job candidates do better in job interviews so finding ways to improve your self-confidence will be a huge benefit to you in your job search. One great way to build your confidence is to do mock interviews with a friend or family member. Have them ask you questions about your job experience so that you can get comfortable with relaying it. You might also want to have them ask you a few curve balls so that you’re prepared for dealing with surprise questions from real-world interviewers. Another way to build your confidence is by appearing confident. If you have any hangups about your physical appearance, begin to work on those now. For example, if crooked teeth cause you to avoid smiling, consider using a home teeth alignment product. You might also consider buying a couple of new interview outfits that make you feel great about how you look.

During the Interview

A lot of people are a little clumsy in interviews, but if the content is there, most employers are willing to look through your nerves to see the talent underneath. If you seem unprepared, however, it’s hard to bounce back. Use these tips to refine your delivery and make a better first impression.

Learn How to Talk About Soft Skills

If you don’t have technical expertise, you need to be able to sell your soft skills. Unfortunately, soft skills are a lot harder to talk about than hard skills. You can’t just tell employers you have great communication skills and expect them to believe it — you need to show how your soft skills set you apart.

TopResume advises arming yourself with examples of your soft skills in action, choosing one example for each skill you want to highlight. Practice your storytelling before the interview, planning how you’ll recount events and tie your skills into each example. Not only will it make the connection clear to prospective employers, but telling a well-crafted story demonstrates your soft skills in its own right.

Showcase Non-Work Experience

You don’t have a compelling story about how you overcame hurdles in your field because, well, you don’t have any experience in the field. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have experience that matters.

If your work history is far from dazzling, look elsewhere to demonstrate your abilities. Pull from your volunteer experience, social media savvy, or even your hobbies to show employers that you have the skills to get the job done. And if you don’t have any of that? Get involved in pursuits that show employers you’re driven, dedicated, and capable because a blank resume won’t get you anywhere.

Getting an interview is the hardest part of landing a job in a new field. Once you’re in front of the hiring managers, the last thing you want is to screw up your chances because of a small mistake. With these tips, you can finally stop the revolving door of interviews and land your first job in a new career.

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