Whether you know it or not, but you’re selling yourself during a job interview. Every job interview you attend will be different. Below are a list of general principles to keep in mind when interviewing for any job. When you are talking about yourself and your experience, remember the following rules.

Be the Solution to Their Problem

Companies fill or create positions because they have problems they want resolved. Those may be anything from bad advertising to a heavy work load during seasonal times. Analyze the job ad and look for the problems hinted at in the ad and prepare examples of how you may be able to solve those problems. Be sure to include ways in which you have solved similar issues in the past. Also if you are changing careers, remember that many problems are not necessarily related to specific industries. Answers to problems such as breakdown in teamwork or ineffective marketing  are a great way to overcome a lack of directly related experience.

Be Very Specific

In today’s job market you have to be able to back up your claims about your skills and abilities with specific stories. One example of this is if you say that you “work well with others” be prepared to talk about the different types of teams and individuals that you have worked with and the type of information you learned by working with them.

Be Prepared to Talk About Your Resume

Your resume will likely form an outline for at least part of your interview. Because most resumes are very brief, there will probably be many things that you may need to elaborate on or explain in more detail while in the interview. Often a resume explains the “what”(for example, “supervised two people”). Use the interview to talk about the “how” as well as skills you gained and so on.

Be Aware of Your Nonverbal Communication

You “say” so much about yourself using nonverbal body language. For example your posture and your facial expressions will say a lot. Be sure to sit up straight–leaning forward can make you appear closed off, as can holding items in your lap such as a briefcase or purse. Make sure you maintain eye contact when answering questions and smile frequently. Also, practice your handshake with a friend: An overly aggressive handshake can be as off-putting as a limp one.

Be Positive

Avoid complaining about a former employer or laying blame at a former manager’s feet — doing so will likely make you seem difficult to work with (or just disloyal). Even if you quit your last job in a rage because you had an incompetent manager, saying something like “I felt I was ready for a more challenging position — like this one seems to be” turns a potentially interview-killing situation into something that makes you look very attractive to a hiring manager.


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