Five. Seven Ways to Stand Out During the Interview

Interview preparation is essential. Laying the groundwork for a successful interview minimizes your anxiety and boosts your confidence, as well as your ability to think on your feet and provide the information interviewers need to make an educated hiring decision. Advanced preparation sets you up to deliver concise, competency-filled responses that address the requirements of the open position.

Advanced preparation will also allow you to stand out from the crowd—to differentiate yourself from all the other applicants, most of whom won't have done their homework. For instance, with a little preparation before the interview, you can determine your personal brand, find ways to control your anxiety, fine-tune your speaking voice to remove kinks or inflections that make you sound unprofessional, choose words in advance that will convey your message while also avoiding words that could sabotage your efforts, refine and reshape overly general statements, and script your answers so they are ready when you need them. This chapter helps you tackle these jobs and run toward the goal line.

Write a Personal Brand Statement

Whether you deliberately shaped your career with a personal brand in mind or not, you are recognized for your specific core competencies and personal characteristics. If your past is replete with proficiencies, you can easily draw a picture of yourself for each interview. If not, then you need to work up an image of yourself that constitutes a substantial brand—one that will be remembered after the interview.

Because your professional reputation hinges on your experience, it is important to follow two steps in creating your personal brand: (1) choose core competencies that describe your experience (revisit Chapter 1 to determine these); and (2) mention specific accomplishments that will pique the interest of a potential employer. Branding statements can also be used as the objective or profile for your résumé. For additional résumé objective samples, revisit Chapter 3.

Here are some examples of branding statements:

Sample 1: Marketing Professional. Comprehensive experience in directing and executing integrated marketing programs, including database modeling, direct mail, telemarketing initiatives, and Web site tracking. Established customer-driven objectives that included acquisition, value increase, and life-long retention.

Sample 2: Senior Consultant. Oversee engagements that involve multi-day, on-site interviews with key client team members from various departments, gathering data on policies/practices for record retention/management, regulatory compliance, and data review/production regarding legal data discovery requests. Contribute to the development of comprehensive recommendations to strengthen underperforming areas. Proven experience in negotiating services packages for deployment of e-mail archiving and electronic discovery solutions.

Sample 3: Sales Manager. Developed and implemented client acquisition, business development, and marketing strategies. Created partnership channels, secured corporate sponsorships, and participated in business development organizations to drive growth for start-up business.

Sample 4: Operations Management. Results-driven senior operating executive offering over fifteen years of experience and success in driving operational growth, leading start-up and turnaround efforts, maximizing business opportunities, and ensuring compliance w/ legal and regulatory requirements. Recognized agent for change with documented ability to lead reengineering activities that fulfilled strategic objectives. Hold JD and BA degrees.

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