At the start of my career, I applied to be the director of a wellness program for the state of Florida. I was missing almost every qualification of the job position — experience, the right level of education, and professional references. I got the job anyway.
How did I pull this off?
I exhibited a series of qualities that over the years I’ve found help people land positions that may at first seem above their level of experience.
First, I was persistent. When I saw posting, I immediately sent a query letter that gave my information and said I was the right person for the position.
Second, I used a targeted approach. I asked the medical director in charge of hiring for the position what type of personality characteristics and leadership skills were right for the job — and then I used personal examples to convince her that I had those traits.
I explained that as a former owner of a small fitness facility, I had developed entrepreneurship skills, and as a point guard for Syracuse University, I had the leadership skills she was looking for. I reiterated these skills during my interview and additional follow-up emails and calls, and I ended up getting the position over more highly educated candidates.
No matter how much you want a position, it’s often not enough to practice positive thinking and leave it up to chance. Here are four things you can do to prepare for your next interview that will help you get the job.
1. Research the company
Do you know how many people go into an interview without really researching the company? More than you think. Researching the company and the person who’s going to be interviewing you can help you convince them you’re the perfect fit.
2. Visualize success
Show up 20 minutes early and use the minutes before your interview to take slow, deep breaths to calm your mind and body. Visualize yourself in the interview, answering questions with poise, confidence, and energy.
It also helps to say affirmations about your readiness to accept the position, your skill level, and more. Research has shown affirmations said with emotions can boost your mood.
3. Interview the interviewer
This is crucial. After the interviewer has asked you the questions related to the position, he or she normally pauses and says: “Do you have any questions for me?”
This is where your preparation will help you to shine. Here are a few good questions to ask:
- What do you feel the person who previous had this position did exceptionally well?
- What do you feel they could have done differently to help you with your overall goals?
- Are there any certain certifications or ongoing education that I should be thinking about to bring this position up to a higher level of productivity?
- What tangible goals do you have for this position?
These questions will not only show that you have done your homework, but also that you’re looking ahead to see how you might help the company.
4. Follow up after the interview
This is a chance to repeat the answers to the questions you asked the interviewer during the interview process. An email or handwritten note shows how serious you are about the position and how proactive you would be as an employee.
Overall, if you show passion and persistence in all stages of the interview process, you’ll be one step closer to getting the job of your dreams.
David Essel, is a career counselor, speaker, and the author of Positive Thinking Will Never Change Your Life… But This Book Will!