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Interviewing for a job can be nerve-wracking and even scary, but interviewing is an unavoidable step in achieving your career goals! To make your interview experience as painless and productive as possible, I’ve compiled some of my favorite interview tips to share.

Do your homework– Never go into an interview without researching the company or organization. “What do you know about our company,” is asked in nearly every interview, and “Not much,” is not a sufficient answer. Specific things to pay attention to in your research include:

  • The company’s mission statement, values, and goals
  • News or current events within the company
  • Services or products offered
  • Location of the company or area served

In addition to being better able to answer, “What do you know about us,” researching the company will help you develop thoughtful questions to ask when the interviewer inevitably asks, “Do you have any questions for me?”

Be on time– Map out the route you will take to the interview, whether you are driving or using public transportation. If you have time, it’s even better to travel the route to scope out what delays you may encounter and what parking is like nearby. Remember, if you aren’t 15 minutes early to an interview, you are late.

Be prepared– Arrive to your interview armed with several clean copies of your resume and cover letter, and a notebook and pen. Be sure to give every interviewer a copy of your resume and cover letter to have in front of them while you interview. In your notebook, you can make notes on important bits of information that is shared with you about the company and position, which will demonstrate your interest and attention to detail. Additionally, in your notebook, you could bring a list questions for the interviewer that you have compiled ahead of time- this way, you won’t forget anything and the interviewer will be impressed by how prepared you are.

Practice, practice, practice– If you are uncomfortable with interviewing, or thinking on your feet, practice interview questions with a friend, family member, or job coach ahead of time. Many websites like Monster, have lists of frequently asked interview questions. Glassdoor even allows users to share questions that they were asked in interviews with specific companies. The more you practice, the more you will learn about your strengths and weaknesses in interviewing, and the more comfortable you will feel answering even the trickiest of questions.

Send a thank you– Be sure to send the interviewer a card or email the following day, thanking them to meeting with and considering you. Include what you enjoyed about the interview, reiterate your interest in working for the company, and invite them to contact you again if they have any further questions.

Interviewing is something of an art, and practice makes perfect, but following these tips will get you on the right track to making your career goals a reality.