Interviews are a major challenge.
Whatever difficulties you face composing a resume or organizing your portfolio, the pressure goes way up when it’s time to get in touch with a prospective employer.
It’s especially challenging if you’re new in the field, as you may be competing against any number of more-qualified applicants.
Are you a burgeoning sales or marketing whiz? Here are a few pointers that might come in handy.
Research your company
Log some serious time online.
A good test for yourself – and a test your potential employer is likely to spring on you in the interview – is to see if you can clearly and concisely articulate the company or product.
Demonstrate to your interviewer that you not only have a clear idea of who they are, what they’re selling and why, but also that you can communicate that to their target market in a compelling way.
Thorough research will help you make strong connections between your abilities and the specific requirements of your prospective role.
Know your field
You should also remember to demonstrate that you have a solid understanding of the industry.
Compare your prospective employer to the competition.
- What makes their product unique?
- Why should people choose your brand over the competition?
- How can you market that to an audience?
Make sure you have a clear understanding of these details and can easily incorporate them into your interview answers or mention them casually as needed.
Bring some fresh insight
Come to the interview prepared with ideas.
Take a look at what the company’s marketing department has done in the past and what they’re currently doing.
Think you can do better?
Have a basic marketing plan or new approach cooked up before you arrive for your interview. Be careful to communicate it in a friendly, open way, without seeming critical or negative.
Develop a portfolio
Never underestimate the value of tangible examples.
Compile a portfolio of relevant clips, professional or not. These could include research projects, writing samples (whether it’s marketing copy or an article you wrote for the school paper), even personal projects that demonstrate your skills.
Particularly good with some design software you think would come in handy with this company? Provide a simple but polished mock-up that uses company branding.
Create a persona
An employer will have a hard time believing you can represent their brand if you don’t represent yourself.
Social media presence is a huge part of almost every business, and you’d be wise to harness it as best you can.
Develop your personal brand: keep up on Twitter and LinkedIn, and try to get connected with people in the field. Show your potential employer that you have useful contacts and are “on the team.”
Finally, make sure to end things on a good note: follow up with your interviewer within 12 hours.
Keep it brief: a short, courteous email thanking them for their time and inquiring about next steps is all you need to leave a good impression.
This is a commonly-overlooked piece of interview etiquette, and you’ll make a real impression if you handle it properly.