A lot of students use the summer holidays to either earn some money or to gain experience in fields relevant to their studies or the profession they’re looking to pursue after university. In some cases, this means going back to a job they held previously, something that I have done for the past few years. However, other people might be looking for something entirely new. I recently interviewed for the position of Town Ambassador in my hometown of Warwick, a role that runs in conjunction with the town council and (hopefully) will look amazing on my CV. I’m delighted to say that I got the role and am joining the ranks of the employed for the next few months. With that in mind, I thought I would explore a few ways in which you can stand out in an interview and ensure that you’re considered for that job!
- Dress to Impress
This might be an obvious point, but first impressions go a long way in an interview. Even if you know that the position itself allows for casual dress, it’s important to make sure you look smart for the actual interview. By dressing up, you look like you’ve made an effort and in turn seem more eager to land the role. It also shows a level of respect for the interviewers and the position if you appear to put in some effort here. Additionally, a firm handshake and warm smile are also important in making a good first impression.
- Know what you’re talking about
It’s important to know what the desired traits are for the role for which you are interviewing and what the role actually comprises of. In my case, I knew that a knowledge of my town and it’s history would be essential for this role so I spent the few days before the interview brushing up on my local history knowledge. Also, the job outline stated that languages were highly desired so I made sure to include them as a selling point of hiring me. However, don’t be so constrained by what the role specifies that you don’t mention your other selling points. During my interview, I mentioned my role as a student blogger and vlogger. As it turned out, the council had been considering doing a series of vlogs to promote the town, something that had not been mentioned in the outline. I have a hunch that my experience with this went a long way in helping me secure this job.
- Have answers prepared for common interview questions
We all know that there are certain set questions that turn up time and time again in interviews. Seemingly pointless queries that have little relevance to the position but that are designed to showcase something of your character. These are usually along the lines of ‘what is your greatest/worst character attribute?’ Or ‘what was your greatest success/failure?’ On the spot, it can be hard to think of the best way to sell yourself in response to these questions, especially the more negative ones, so think of answers beforehand. For the negative side, don’t just list your failings, demonstrate how you’re looking to overcome them or what you have learnt from them. For the positive, give examples of how you demonstrate these traits in your life or the journey you took to secure that achievement. Moreover, be honest but not too honest. If your greatest failing as a person is that you quite frankly cannot stand the human race and you’re gunning for a customer service roll, it might be better to pick something else.
- Showcase what you can bring to the roll
This is similar to step 3, in that you need to show why you’re right for the outlined roll but it’s also important to take this one step further and give an example of something unique that only you can offer. This will most likely be something that wasn’t mentioned in the original job spec but that links to it in some way or other. For example, I mentioned my interest in journalism and suggested that I would be eager to liaise with the local press or create some online content to better promote the town. This led to the conversation about vlogging!
So, good luck for any of you who are looking for summer jobs or who already have interviews lined up! As always, if you have questions or anything to add to this post, just drop me a comment below!