How to Score the Job in 7 Easy Steps

CONGRATULATIONS!! all your hard work has paid off— you’ve graduated, applied to jobs, gotten past HR’s minefield of keywords and your resume has made its way to your future boss’s desk. First thing that I will tell you is to RELAX. YOU ARE QUALIFIED FOR THIS!! You would not be interviewed if you were not qualified. So breathe out with me… aahhhh.

You’ve got the interview, but how do you wow them with your personality and charm? How do you prove that you are the best fit for their team, company, mission? Here is my own personal checklist of how I prep for an interview and land the job.

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    When they inevitably ask you “Why [fill in the blank]” or “Why do you think you want to work here"?” You need to do your research. Know their mission, know their stats. In nursing, if it is a large hospital, go find google reviews that are positive (or if you are bored one night, go find google reviews about hospitals… they will either make you laugh or cry) and be able to regurgitate the POSITIVE review to the interviewer. This shows you care. Or hit on their mission; at the root of all companies their mission is key to why they exist. If you can align with their mission, then you will be a good fit in their organization. If its a huge company that is highly publicized, find an article that talks about the positives; this is an opportunity to show your future employers that you are loyal and want to work there not get paid by them.

  2. Dress for the job you want.

    Very few of us in our lives will interview for the CEO position of an established company (and if you are reading this and getting ready for that type of interview— get it girl!) but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t dress like we are. Whether or not you actually want to be a #bosslady showing up for yourself & dressing as professional as you can will signal to your future employers a couple of things. 1) You’re taking this opportunity seriously. 2) You can take care of yourself, so you can also take care of business.

  3. But wear what’s comfortable.

    PLLEEEAASSSEEE do not read the prior note and go out and purchase 4 inch stiletto heels because I am telling you to be a #bosslady; ESPECIALLY if you do not walk around in 4 inch stilettos on the reg. Job interviews are not a time to be daring with your wardrobe. If you look good, then you will present good (errr well… you will present well LOL). I personally never wear heels to job interviews unless I know that there will be minimal walking or if they are wedges… its just too risky for me. Instead of focusing on their questions, I run through why I thought heels would be a good idea. I normally will even go a step further and wear shoes I am super comfy in and then change right before I walk onto the floor. But besides heels, wear a business professional outfit that you feel yourself in. You are your most beautiful when you are your most comfortable; so look the part but be you!

  4. Treat yo’ self.

    Give yourself a little pampering the night before. Use a face-mask (that you know is gentle and will not break you out) take a hot bath, eat your favorite meal, binge on reality TV, go sweat. Whatever makes you feel good as well as confident— DO IT. You will spend one hour to 12 hours selling yourself (yes I have interviewed for 12 hours before) do something for you the night before that makes you feel worth it. If that means shopping for an interview outfit, DO IT. Just take time for you before hand. and eat something with protein before you interview. You are going to tap into your fight or flight response and will need something to keep you going when they start asking questions about how you would manage patient care or hit a deadline.

  5. Print out extra copies of your resume and cover letter and put them in a portfolio THE NIGHT BEFORE you interview.

    You will blow your employers away if you have a portfolio to store your important documents in and having extra copies of your resume and cover letter can come in handy when you are meeting someone that is super busy. I purchased the portfolio below and keep extra copies as well as something to take notes on if the follow up is complex. Print all this out the night before to reduce stress in the morning when your laptop convinently crashes or you run out of ink in your printer.

  6. Come with questions.

    If this is your first job out of school, its hard to imagine ever being in a place where you can see if a job is the right match for you, instead of needing a job to pay your bills. But I PROMISE you will get to a point where it is worth seeing if this job is the right job for Y-O-U. One way you can do that is to have a list of questions you want to know. If you are a nursing new grad, great questions to ask are:

    • what is the culture of the floor?

    • what are your staffing ratios?

    • what is something that your team is overcoming currently?

    • how do you support new nurses?

    • what is your nurse residency program like?

    • I always like to add these final two questions: what brings you the most joy in your job and (perhaps most important) what hesitations do you have about me currently that I can clear up? This gives your interviewers the opportunity to say exactly what would hold them back from hiring you and gives you the opportunity to hash out whatever may or may not have been perceived correctly.

  7. Write a thank you letter.

    I was told this when I was in Americorps that only 8% of applicants who interview will thank their interviewer for their time within that 8%, 90% will receive a job offer. Your busy, but the person interviewing you is 10x busier! Take the time to write out a handwritten note, put a stamp on it and drop it in the mail. If you can’t find their physical address, then I say shoot over a “thank you” email, but give some specifics of your interview. The tour of the unit, the staff you interacted with, etc. You will be amazed at the outcomes from this one!

Before nursing, I worked a lot of jobs in the human services and social work realm. While I didn’t always make it to the interviewing part of the job hiring process, every interview I did get (besides one) I also was offered the job. You are amazing. You are qualified. Now its just one more step to secure your place at your dream job!