There’s always some sort of a hesitation before going for an interview. There’s a fear of rejection circulating within our brain – the fear often makes us anxious and we end up giving a pathetic interview.

If you ever attended a few job fairs, back to back – you already know that the market is constantly undergoing evolution. Everyone wants a particular skill set in you – for as minimal a wage as 7.25 USD per hour. There’s a lot of hesitation and pressure on us, humans, there forth. A perfect resume seems to be a growing essential-ity in order to survive in today’s society. But what is a perfect resume? What skills makes one stand out?

Let’s be honest, being a nerd or geek isn’t enough anymore. Acing the exams won’t get anyone the job just because of that. There’s a lot more to the picture. The employers want to hire people who they can call their smart team. The people who are gullible enough to mold their skills into whatever and however the situation demands them to be. It sounds scary, yes, but it isn’t.

All you need to do is master the following characteristics and skills to win the hearts of the interviewers with. This would help you stand out from the crowd and impress people not just professionally but at a personal level as well.

Path to acquiring the x-factor

The easiest way to acquire all the necessary skills to be taken serious and big is by the following ways. Everyone wants you to graduate fresh yet have the experience of a freaking 60 year old. How to have the necessary experience without having to be that old?

Read below;

1. Volunteer

If you want to end up getting all the necessary experience and that too at its best – go volunteer at an organization. This would keep you open for different departments within the organization and won’t let you get bored of doing the same thing. When someone volunteers to work at a company – everyone wants that person to volunteer for them, truth be told.

End point?

Volunteer happily and learn it all – don’t mind because one day you can have them all working under you since you’d have mastered all of their skills.

2. Intern

Volunteering can help you get experience from all the departments but internship has two perks;

  • It’s paid.
  • It’s centralized to a particular department.

Internship would help you understand the working of a department more deeply and intricately in comparison to volunteering. Moreover, it is more professional and direct. You do good work – you get appreciation … you don’t – you will be told to be better in a manner you would not be back in volunteering. Being an intern would make you be punctual and work under pressure as well.

3. Step on stones if you have to

You need the experience but no one wants to have a newbie?

They think it is threatening to have a rookie as a wild life photographer?

It’s alright. You need to do whatever comes your way to get at least a bit of experience. Stepping stones never hurt anyone in the long run. Start by taking pictures of your or your neighbor’s pet. Move on to the animals from the zoo. Visit safari. Do it over and over. Make the portfolio you need – be the ace of hearts by giving your friends beautiful pictures of their pets just as you’d to the zoo or safari keepers. This would also market your skills to them and give you more exposure to the field of your interest.

Read more: Best Foot Forward 

4. Practical over theory

Yes, you topped your class but that is not enough. Remember – practice makes perfect. Whatever you want to be – practice its application. You can’t be a vet if you have never even held an animal in your arms. You can’t be a web developer if you never tried practicing it yet only crammed the books.

Moreover, if you want to go into a field which isn’t supported by your degree – the mere field work would get you in the company. It would also show how you can manage to learn new things outside the box.

5. Blog writing

Promote yourself and your work via blog writing. Write about whatever you love – food blogging, pet blogging, lifestyle blogging – choose any genre you want.

Once people start reading and sharing your content – you won’t just get fame but also different companies might contact you themselves to work for them as a content marketer. You can draw your lines yourself. Moreover, you’d get the experience you need. You can easily make blogs on etc.

6. Network

Socialise and be nice to everyone. No need to make any enemies along the way. Even when you’re waiting for your interview in a room full of candidates – be friendly to them. If you get the job, yay! If you don’t – they can always refer you the next time you go there.

Referrals work like a charm because someone is giving their word for you. It shows how you can bond with people and make them trust you. These days employees are not given individual assignments – it is no longer about working alone. A team is assigned a task and for that you need to have the patience and etiquettes to be accepted by everyone … everywhere.

7. Freelance

Don’t sit idle, if you have vacations from college. Make an upwork account and start freelancing. It’d enhance your communicative skills and better your work by the orders. With each passing order – you’d learn a new hack to perfection.

Moreover, you won’t be dependable on anyone even if you don’t have a clocked job.

8. Advanced Search Options

Your dream job shouldn’t be every job. It is just one and you have to pave your way to it. Applying everywhere isn’t always a good idea unless of course all you wish for is money.

Search up jobs on advanced search engines made especially for the purpose – LinkedIn being one of them. Don’t just check the newspaper – you might miss out on something while skimming through the lines.

Job Interview Specifics

Once you have taken the path to getting a call for the interview of your choice – here are a few tips to display your skill-set at the fullest. Everyone wants people who are confident and clear minded so you also might want to check up on that.

1. Specific Cover letter alongside the Resume

Before going for the job interview – you might want to tweak and give your resume a bit of a touch up. Customize your cover letter as well as the resume when going for an interview – not all interviewers want to know whether you love teaching or not.

Focus on talking about your area of expertise as per the organization you’re applying to.

2. Over qualification isn’t always a plus 

You volunteered and interned at a lot of places … that’s awesome but your resume isn’t an epic poem for you. Don’t mention unnecessary experiences to increase the length of your resume. It’s impressive but a lot to take.

If you are a potential threat to the interviewer and seem to have a fluctuating work experience … dodging from one job to another then you can come off as someone who is unable to decide what s/he wants. Now, you don’t want to be known as a confused person – do you?  

3. Dress successfully to be successful

Yes, it is just an interview but like they say your first impression is going to be your last impression! Look serious to be taken serious, when you are going for the big interview – be sure to dress as a professional person. Yes, you can look cool but not childish or wacky. No glitter, checked/boxed shirts, torn jeans etc.

You want to go for a look like people look at you and think oh s/he can be our company’s growth. You have to feel like an important part of the organization before even giving the interview so that they know that you’d be a catch and not the other way around for them.

4. Tell your story

Don’t lie; but tell the story of your previous experiences in order to showcase your skills. Tell them about the time you had to lead a group or were patient in a difficult situation and how you solved it.

Show your interpersonal and intrapersonal skills via your stories. However, be sure that you don’t come off as a self-absorbed and prideful person. No one wants a narcissist who would go about sabotaging the office’s environment and peace.

Showcase yourself as someone who would respect others if you’re not put at the lead yet can take the lead in dire need.

Read more: How to negotiate a flexible working application successfully

5. No ranting, please

Just because you are now sitting in front of a different employer – it in no way gives you the license to bash your previous employers. Don’t rant about the bad experiences, just talk about the positivism you spread and got in return.

When asked the reason of leaving that job just say you had your eyes for this job and at the time you got there … this new company wasn’t offering any vacancies. Give them a good reason and try to talk against the prior company to a minimum.

6. References help

When leaving the old job – take a reference letter from your old boss. Finish things at a good end and not with bitter memories. Referrals always help. Take as many as you can from the important people around you who can vouch for your sanity and determination. Those people can be your old co-workers, friends, teachers and bosses.

It is on you who you have a good relationship with honestly.

7. Foreign & Exotic

Everyone likes newness and different. You probably do too and with the growing business industry … a lot of companies are going international. Learn new languages and cultures. Mention that on your resume. French and Japanese is really in these days. Take different language courses or just focus on one.

Knowing a foreign language would also stand out from the crowd among your peers as well as colleagues.

8. Web Development & Data Analysis

Everyone wants someone who knows IT and computer. Add more to your curriculum vitae by taking a short course on web development as well. It’d make you more desirable professionally. Every company needs a web developer or a data analyst. It’s never going to change.

You can join your dream company with the said positions as stepping stones and in time pave your way to the main job description you wanted since the beginning. The goal is to not lose sight of your original goals.

9. Social Media Skills

You use social media all the time so why not up your game by learning a few marketing skills? It’s really not that difficult because all you need to do is learn a few systematic formulas about something you’re already a part of. You can get online classes, either by Hub Spot or any other reputable website; all you need is a good internet connection and bam! You got new skills.

10. Quick Learner

Being a quick learner is a skill in itself. Remember to mention that to the interviewers. It’s nice to have someone whom they know can be part of the smart team. A smart team is a group of people who have skill-sets of various job descriptions. They can multi task or switch positions when required.

It’s just like shape shifting … just professionally. Thus, keep learning something every day and keep your reading skills top-notch. If you keep your brain pumping with reading something new every day;

  • You’d know something more than others
  • Your mind would stay active enough to keep learning new things

11. Collaboration is a skill!

Promote team work in your interview. Don’t act like you want to do everything on your own. The word ‘I’ does more bad than good. Use ‘we’ rather than trying to come off as the boss. The boss is already hiring you – go for leadership. Leadership is only possible if you know how to keep up with everyone. Learn it. Ace it. Be it.

With this said, best of luck for your coming interview. Hope you get the job! 🙂