10 Interviewing Tips to Help Spring You into a New Opportunity

| by April Anthony

As I look out my window, I see daffodils in bloom and tulips starting to pop up – bulbs I planted in November. Spring is a time for new beginnings, spring cleaning, planning summer vacations, and perhaps seeking a career change. Many have had time to do some soul searching during COVID-19 and as we move forward with vaccinating the country there are many job opportunities in the nonprofit sector. Even through the pandemic Armstrong McGuire conducted many successful searches. If you are thinking about testing the job market waters, here are 10 tips that may prove helpful: 

  1. Choose a job you are passionate about.
    • The first step to a new position or career is to identify your career goals. Choose a career or position that you are passionate about as most of our time is spent working - until you retire.
    • During the pandemic, many employees are successfully working remotely and have learned how to balance work and personal life. Commuting to an office to work 9 to 5 is not the norm anymore so apply for positions that allow the flexibility you have become used to.
  2. Make your resume pop.
    • Use creative formatting, color, and updated templates to make your resume stand out. You have only one chance to pique the interest of a potential employer so make it count.
    • Use resume-now.com to create a great resume from one of many templates.
    • Bust the myth that a resume can be no longer than 1 or 2 pages. If you hold years of great work experience, flaunt it.
    • Customize your resume for each job opportunity.
    • Create a cover letter template that you can change up and personalize for each application.
  3. Utilize all job resources.
    • There are so many great job boards and resources to seek opportunities and post your resume – from Indeed to LinkedIn to GlassDoor.
    • Look for opportunities through your alma mater(s), professional associations, and search firms.
  4. Network and then do more networking.
    • If you are not on LinkedIn, create a profile and keep it up to date. In addition to its job board, LinkedIn has the ability share your profile when you apply to a position.
    • Conduct informational interviews through virtual coffees. Interviewing people who hold a similar position to what you are passionate about is a great way to network and gain additional names to talk to.
    • Let every friend, past colleague, neighbor, and family member know you are on the hunt and to send ideas your way.
    • Utilize your chamber of commerce, leads groups, church groups, and social clubs for suggestions.
  5. Take time to prepare for a virtual interview.
    • Ensure your background and location for your video interview is well lit and appropriate. Do not take an interview in your car or outside of your home office. Ensure there will be no distractions or noises during the interview timeframe.
    • Practice logging on to the video platform a couple days ahead and log on to the video interview 5 to 10 minutes prior just in case there is a technical issue.
  6. Research the organization before an interview.
    • Research the organization you are applying to and use the information you found during an interview.
    • Scour the organization’s website, taking notes.
    • Review the nonprofit’s 990 on GuideStar. If this is a 2nd or 3rd interview ask for the organization’s strategic plan and financials to review.
    • Read old press releases, meeting minutes, social media, and whatever you can find to become knowledgeable about the nonprofit.
    • If you know who you are meeting with look them up on LinkedIn or another platform so you can mention the interviewer’s background or expertise when appropriate.
  7. Make yourself stand out.
    • Once you have applied for a position, be on the lookout for an email or phone call to schedule an interview. Return calls and emails quickly and be as flexible as you can with your calendar.
    • The day before your interview send links to articles or white papers you have written, awards, and/or accolades’ to inform the interviewer about you as much as possible.
    • After the interview, immediately send an email of thanks. After an in-person interview, send a handwritten thank you card in addition to an email.
  8. Be succinct in an interview.
    • During an interview answer questions succinctly and stay on point. Don’t wander into other subject areas. Your interviewer(s) only have so much time allocated and have a list of questions to ask.
    • If you are asked to make a presentation as part of your interview send it ahead. Presentations should be high level; never read your slides – highlight the key points and the interviewer(s) can read details in the sent-ahead document.
    • Always, always, always have questions prepared for the interviewer(s).
  9. Follow up, follow up, and then follow up.
    • The best follow-up includes sending an article you found about the industry or something related to the mission of the nonprofit, showing your high interest level and passion for the organization’s mission.
    • Continue to follow up until the position is filled.
    • Even is you do not get the position, thank the organization for the opportunity to keep all doors open.
  10. Recognize that looking for a new position or career takes time.
    • Be patient, keep networking, keep applying and interviewing and you will find an opportunity that speaks to you, challenges you, and that you are passionate about.

If you are 50 plus and thinking about a career change, AARP has some great tips at 5 Tips If You Are Thinking About a Career Change (aarp.org).

If you seek a new opportunity go to www.armstrongmcguire.com/apply to see searches Armstrong McGuire is currently conducting or to upload your resume for a future opportunity.

 

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