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Preparation is the most important part of your job or internship interview. You can maximize your interview success with advance planning, self assessment, and interview practice. Review and complete the following 10 planning activities before your job or internship interview:

  1. Knowledge of yourself: know yourself in terms of skills, interests, values, and future aspirations.
  2. Career direction: well-defined goals, confidence in pursuing a chosen field of interest, and realistic plans for advancement.
  3. Communication skills: ability to deliver ideas, clear and concise answers, and verbal animation.
  4. Qualifications: be aware of and able to communicate specific academic training, leadership experience, critical thinking skills, and extracurricular involvement.
  5. Maturity: demonstrated by poise, optimism, appearance, and tone of voice.
  6. Professionalism: communicate a strong work ethic, high moral values, and integrity.
  7. Execute a game plan: prepare to "sell yourself" in terms of relating your interests, skills, and goals.
  8. Conduct a mock interview with a recruiter, career counselor, former employer, or even a friend — this is the key to success!
  9. Do not memorize answers, but know how to communicate the contents of your resume and your top reasons for pursuing the  opportunity.
  10. Write down 25 words that describe you prior to the interview — be familiar with these self-descriptors and feel comfortable delivering them in the interview: "I am: motivated, confident, dedicated, loyal, a problem solver, a team player, ethical, etc."

Company Research

Conducting thorough company research is vital to an effective interview. Employers view researching the company as a critical factor in applicant evaluation because it demonstrates the candidate's interest and enthusiasm for their company. Recruiters often comment that students lack company research skills.

Note:  Ask for the names (with correct spelling) and job titles of your interviewers prior to the interview.  Conduct a little research on their professional backgrounds and contributions, so that you are aware of their professional interests and "hot buttons."  You can research through the company website or LinkedIn, but don't request a professional link through LinkedIn, yet! 

Bonus:  Because you will have the names of your interviews in advance, your post-interview follow-up activity (writing a thank-you note to each interviewer) is already launched...

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