The Do’s and Don’ts for Interviews: Internships and Jobs Alike

Flushed cheeks, palpitating heart, tense muscles, and sweaty palms sweep over as you enter the office for the interview of a lifetime. As you sit down with the interviewer standing in front of you, you introduce yourself, shake hands, and casually take a seat. After adjusting to your designated chair, she asks for your portfolio, and all you have is a small, bland resume; she looks at you, makes some notes, and begins a rather short interview. Walking away, you feel slightly embarrassed, wishing you could have done things differently.

taken by Nicolette Bilezikian of Nicolette Arielle Photography

This is simply one example of what could happen when one is inadequately prepared for an interview. Therefore, the key to success is preparation. Hopefully these tips can take you from feeling terrified to confident and secure, knowing you have what it takes.

“There are a variety of things that someone can do to set themselves apart,” comments Target Field Campus Recruiter and Human Resource Talent Acquisition, Jennifer Reidy. “Being prepared and having all your stuff together shows employers more than one realizes.”

It all starts with a resume. It needs to show that you are the most equipped and qualified for the job you are interviewing about. The resume should include a multitude of things; work experience, personal statement, qualifications, technical skills, other proficiencies, and basic contact information should all be there. However, more than just mere words, a resume can say the majority of what employers are looking for.

“A resume should be basic and not too flashy, showing continuity,” explains Ashley Daniels, the Business Solutions Specialist at Ultimate Staffing. “Make your words more impactful. Like when people explain what they accomplished, instead of merely listing under experience what they were

This is a small excerpt from my resume.

This is a small excerpt from my resume.

responsible for.” Use action verbs to start off your bullet point under experience, words like “collaborated,” “coordinated,” “designed,” and “promoted” for example. Using strong words grabs their attention and pushes the employer to read more instead of simply skimming over your resume.

“A lot of people have asked me how they could get a job without particular career experience, and there are actually some quite beneficial ways to do that,” smiles Reidy. “Show us how you want to grow visually and verbally; hone in on your blogs or personal work if it applies. Don’t diminish your work. For a job, it’s ok to ‘toot your own horn’ because it shows us who you are. If you’re great at graphic design, then show us. Make us remember you.”

With that information learned, it is important to tie it all together. For further yet equally important interview etiquette, dress to impress; neutral colors are the best approach because it is professional and it won’t distract.

A neutral outfit looks clean and professional. Avoid loud colors.

A neutral outfit looks clean and professional. Avoid loud colors.

Arrive 10-15 minutes early because it shows how important you put the interview itself, as well as respecting the interviewer’s time; sometimes it is even beneficial to drive by the location before to know exactly where you need to go. When you walk in, greet them with “Nice to meet you. I’ve been looking forward to meeting you.” Daniels and Reidy both agree that first impressions are huge, and having a greeting like that sets you up for success.

My handwritten "Thank You" cards to my interviewers. I actually ended up receiving the internship with Target!

My handwritten “Thank You” cards to my interviewers. I actually ended up receiving the internship with Target!

During the interview, have good posture and sit up straight, and if at all possible, don’t slouch or cross your legs; instead, cross your ankles because it is more professional and easier not to fidget. Another thing is to do your research about the company; know what they do and show that you care about what they care about. When you use their money words like words from their mission statement or values, you’re furthering your chances of a job offer.

And to end it all, write a handwritten thank you letter to your interviewer, stating that you appreciated their time, that is was nice to meet them, and that you look forward to hearing from them soon. But be sure to mail it the very next day, better if the same day.

Some of my internship offer letter from Target!

Some of my internship offer letter from Target!

With these same skills, I interviewed for a Corporate Target internship and was chosen! So don’t doubt the tips, from firsthand experience, it works!

Going the extra mile shows them you are serious about the job, and that you are indeed, the best person for the job.