I have been a little busy lately preparing for a special project, and I have probably been a little preoccupied with my own thoughts to take any real notice of what is going on around me in the company. However Trish is quite familiar with my idiosyncrasies and just sends stuff on to me, knowing full well that eventually I will get round to reading it!

Which is how I found out about a very pro-active Grade 12 student, who is enquiring about our interview skills workshop. She is already planning and preparing for her future and I was impressed. I can remember when I was about to leave school and head for university … I didn’t really have a clear idea of what I wanted to do, and I had no burning passion in my life.

Except for travel, that is. I was fascinated by other countries and other cultures and longed to go and see for myself all the things I had merely read about. But I never considered that this was a career choice. We were encouraged to enter traditional fields, and I had attended a school that gave a thorough grounding in both arts and science. Therefore it was a natural choice to enter university with either an arts or science degree in mind. I opted for arts.

Alas, I was most unhappy with my choice and although I completed my first degree it wasn’t the magical experience I had been lead to believe it would be. I put this down to the fact that I was not prepared at all for the experience; I had no real idea where I was going or even what I would do when I completed the degree. What use would it be to me in my future career? Actually what was going to be my future career?

So you can see that I have great respect for Grade 12 students who have already given their future some thought and have come to some meaningful decisions already. So if I can help, then I will – so here are some interview tips for first time interviewees.

1. It is important to know something of the organisation, company, university and career path you have chosen; so research them well before you are called for an interview. Be fully aware of what should be expected if you follow this path or join this company or university. Don’t drift into something because it is expected. Work it out for yourselves, and have a reply ready that really answers the questions “Why this career – and why this company” truthfully.

2. Prepare your evidence of your achievements to date where possible. If you haven’t yet finished your education you will need to add this paperwork later. Make sure that you only offer copies – never hand over originals as you may not get them back. Some companies will accept photo copies, other require them to be certified by a JP or someone similar. Do you know a JP? If not ring up the justice department who will help you find one locally, or maybe your shopping centre has volunteer JP’s available on some days of the week. Or if all else fails ring Trischel -we have two on our staff.

3. Check your Resume is up to date and is set out in a clear and logical sequence. There are good templates available with some computer software programmes so choose one that you like. Even if you have provided one to the organisation prior to the interview, make sure that you take a copy with you. It makes it easier for you to refer to highlights and is a good memory jogger if you review it prior to the interview.

4. Organise your personal references – are they reputable and relevant for the position you are seeking. Are they willing to provide written references and – most importantly – will they be willing to give you a positive verbal one if contacted. I like to have some idea of what they would say if contacted – just for my peace of mind.

5. Try to get some experience of personality tests. These highlight your areas of strengths and also areas where you are not so strong. This will enable you to talk about your strengths and weaknesses even though you have no great practical experience in the workplace. Don’t be intimidated by these tests, they are a great way to discover things about yourself that will help you be more positive when projecting yourself in an interview.

6. And yes, dressing for success is important. Even if you are applying for a university place, scruffy jeans and unwashed hair is not going to impress. Working through a degree demands commitment, hard work and determination. Clothes can give a subtle message that you possess all these qualities – they can also suggest that you don’t!

7. Finally, if you have the opportunity, attend an interview skills workshop to learn how to communicate with the interviewer; how to answer questions effectively; how to impress with your commitment to your chosen career. Such an action will certainly impress your interviewer with your prior preparation and planning for this important interview.

I wish I had done this kind of preparation before I drifted in a completely wrong direction. Luckily I ended up doing what I was passionate about, and I have lived in a number of countries before washing up on Australia’s shores! But if had taken the time to have prepared myself properly for some life choices I might have got here earlier!!

So good luck to our enterprising Grade 12 student. Trischel will be conducting another interview skills workshop in late November, so if you or your Grade 12 student will be preparing for a life change you might want to register your interest in attending it now. Simply go to our website at http://www.trischel.com.au/ and follow the prompts.

Now I had better read the rest of my mail to see if there is anything else I should really know about – before I get back to my project.

Michele @ Trischel

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