It's one thing to be the perfect candidate for a position, and another thing entirely to convey it to employers. I talked with Amy McEvoy, the career programming coordinator at Dalhousie's Bissett Student Success Centre, about how you can make your job hunt a successful one. Here are some of her tips.
1. Do your research
It's always a good idea to research the company before going to an interview. You can look at their website, talk to people that work there, and research the industry at large to gain a better grasp of the company, the job, and the types of pressures and opportunities that come with it.
2. Emphasize your achievements
It's good to talk about the responsibilities you held at your last job, but what will really make you stand out is talking about projects, accomplishments, or when you solved a problem. Focus on results. Doing this will give the employer an impression of how you deal with challenges, and how good you are at finding solutions.
3. Initiate and have a strong handshake
On meeting your potential boss, initiate a firm handshake while looking them in the eyes, smiling and greeting them appropriately. Thank them for taking the time to meet with you. It's polite, common courtesy, and presents you as a professional candidate for the position.
4. Keep a positive attitude
Always enter the job application process—including the interview—with a positive attitude. Think about the best possible outcome, focus on your strengths, and build on your successes. This will help you will increase your confidence.
5. Show confidence
It's important to recognize that interviews can be uncomfortable. While you may feel pressure, the impression that you leave is up to you. Don't let fear control you, work to overcome it. Practice answering potential questions by yourself in front of a mirror, with a friend or family member, or make an appointment for a mock interview at the Student Success Centre on campus. Practicing what you're going to say will make you feel more comfortable, and it will become easier the more you do it.
6. Dress professionally
First impressions are important. The saying goes that you should dress for the job you want. Blazers, sports jackets, ties (depending on the job), button-up shirts, dressy pants, knee-length dresses or skirts—they all make the grade. Make sure that your clothing and hair are both clean and tidy too.
7. Prepare questions
It's always a good idea to prepare questions you can ask at the interview. This could be about the company, the interviewer, role you are applying for, work environment, or anything really. Google "what to ask at a job interview" to get some ideas. This will show that you're interested in the job and that you've done your research (see tip #1).
8. Follow up with a thank-you
Always send a message thanking the employer for their time, and for the opportunity to apply for the position. Want to win some extra points? Send them a hand-written thank-you note.
For plenty of career support by the Bissett Centre in Halifax or Student Success Centre in Truro. International students in Halifax can also drop by the International Centre for drop-in peer advising.