How to nail an interview

Dear Editor,

So, you’re considering a big career move: finding a job in a brand new industry.

It can certainly seem daunting, especially when you have less-than-sufficient experience. What should a job-seeker do in this situation? Some words of advice:

1. Target an entry-level position.

If you’ve never held a job in your desired field, target an entry-level position. Imagine landing a job you weren’t qualified for – you’d be frustrated and your employers would be disappointed that you failed to meet their expectations.

Don’t oversell your abilities – stay humble. If you have trouble landing an mid-level position – say, a seat in the Statehouse – don’t aim higher (for Governor, or Senate), but instead manage your expectations and target a more reasonable starting point.

2. Sell yourself! Don’t attack others.

When interviewing for a new position, you may be tempted to justify your lack of experience to prospective employers. Still, avoid going negative – never bash other candidates for the position.

If you can’t highlight what you’ve accomplished in the past, be prepared to offer a clear picture of how your employer would benefit by bringing you aboard.

It won’t do you any good to say you’d simply be “better” than the other guy – especially when the other candidates have a wealth of experience.

3. Study up.

Be prepared to discuss your new industry – the problems you see and solutions you’ll propose.

Understand how systems work, how relationships are developed and how things get accomplished.

Can you articulate the duties and responsibilities of the position you’ve targeted? Can you develop clear plans of action to tackle relevant issues? If not, consider waiting for the next hiring cycle.

Frances Workman President,
UVM College Democrats