Job applications and interviews require you to demonstrate your fit for the job by showing your strengths, talking about your accomplishments (giving examples from your experience), and showing your strong motivation.
Going through this process can be challenging, and make you have self-doubts about yourself or your experience.
If you feel like this at any stage of a job application or interview, you can bring strategies to make sure you go through the process confidently and manage any self-doubt that arises along the way.
Here are seven key strategies to enable you to go through job applications and interviews confidently:
1. Know your strengths and accomplishments
It is important to think about your strengths, in what way you demonstrate them, what the competencies you built through your experiences are (with relevant examples), and your knowledge and skillset, before starting job applications. It usually helps to write these down (including the relevant examples), so that you have all of them together at easy reference.
When you are writing a job application, a cover letter, or preparing for an interview, make sure to go through this list every time to remind yourself once again of your accomplishments so far, and what you can bring to the job you are applying to. This will help you to clearly see the impact you can make in that organisation. It will also help you demonstrate your impact in your applications, or in your responses in an interview.
2. Preparation is key
Preparation is very important to reduce any stress you feel and manage any self-doubt that arises. Before starting a job application or interview, prepare fully by:
- Researching the organisation
- Researching the industry and key trends
- Clearly determining your motivation for your application
- Going through your strengths and accomplishments mentioned in the first point, by considering how they would relate to the job you are applying to
If preparing for an interview, think about or research the questions that might be asked, and prepare responses, also using the examples you already thought about initially.
3. Using resources effectively for your preparation
Henley Careers and Professional Development has Career Consultants to help you throughout all the stages of the process. You can book a session with a Career Consultant to practise any responses you prepare for your job applications, or your CV or cover letter. This can help make sure you effectively demonstrate that you are a strong applicant for the job you’re applying to.
In terms of interview preparation, you can book a careers session to have a mock interview to practise and receive feedback from your Career Consultant, to make sure you are fully prepared and are giving responses that bring full impact. Incorporate the feedback you receive to your responses and this will help you respond more confidently.
In addition, while preparing for video interviews, you could practise through shortlist.me, which the University of Reading has an account with. (You’ll need to sign up with your university email address).
4. Rehearse your responses – practice makes perfect!
For interview preparations, continue rehearsing your responses, as you will get more fluid and comfortable at responding. Don’t memorise any responses though, as this may bring extra stress to remember the responses word-by-word. Instead, try to keep the essence and examples in your mind to talk about, so that you become more confident in your responses.
5. Celebrate wins – small or big – to acknowledge what you have achieved so far
Job applications or interview processes can be lengthy and may start to drain you if you only focus on the end result. What would be more helpful, is to celebrate any wins throughout, as this will help keep you motivated. So keep celebrating your accomplishments along the way!
6. Don’t compare yourself to others
We all have unique strengths and experiences that will bring us different successes in our job applications. If you notice you start comparing yourself to anyone else, remind yourself of your own strengths, accomplishments, experiences and successes so far, so that you focus more on how much you have achieved so far.
7. Ask for help – we’re here to help!
At any stage of your job applications or interviews, if you need any help, the Henley Careers team is always here to answer any questions you have, or help you get back on track. So, please always ask for help when you need it.
Henley Business School students and recent graduates (within four years) can book an appointment with a Careers Consultant via My Jobs Online. If you are a graduate, you’ll need to create a new graduate account.
Ebru Altinors, Associate Careers Consultant
Henley Careers, Henley Business School