In Part 2 of an as-yet-undetermined number in my newest blog series, J-O-B, I promised to discuss what happens when your pristinely crafted cover letter and resume get attention and you actually get in the door of a future employer.
I’m talking about the interview.
Many writers are introverts. I get that. The thought of sitting across from a manager’s desk, or on the couch in a creative director’s office (and talking about such things as why you’re the best candidate for the job, and what your professional goals are, and if you could change careers and do anything what would that be and why …?) might actually cause you to break out in hives.
I don’t have any ground-breaking secrets here; you just have to get over it. You don’t have to suddenly become an extroverted version of the introverted you, but you do have to actually talk to people, and at least give an appearance of enjoying it. At least a little.
To get to this point, O Unemployed Pilgrim, you have to practice. Even the most introverted person has a friend or two in the world. Ask one (or both) of them to sit down and have a mock interview. Research job interview questions from multiple online sources and compile them. See which questions make the list most often. Figure out your answer to those questions. Throw in a few oddball questions. Figure out your answers to those, too.
If you’re relatively new, out of practice, or just prone to anxiety, you absolutely have to sit down, face-to-face with your friend (the mock future employer) and have them “interview” you, using all those questions. Do it a few times, until you feel more comfortable.
Dress up. Even if it’s a casual, modern office, dress up for the interview. Send the message that you care about making a good first impression. Don’t think that playing it cool will land you a job; it won’t. Be professionally eager. Show that you want the job. This isn’t the same as dating in middle school. (And if you were that person who pretended you weren’t interested to try and get a date, how’d that work out for you?)
Bring hard copies of your resume, cover letter and writing samples. So, so many writers don’t do this. Yes, it’s accessible online. Yes, you sent the stuff according to the format requested by the company. (If you didn’t, you probably didn’t get an interview. Go back to Part 1 of the J-O-B series.) But, again, you’re sending a message: “I’m making it easy for you to see all the things that make me the best writer for your company.”
Happy interviewing. If, like me, you are prone to sweating profusely during life’s exciting moments, let’s hope the interview space is air-conditioned.
Finally, I’d like to take a moment to say: Congratulations! You landed an interview! Go get ’em, tiger.