AIU Blog

The AIU blog shares ideas, information and tips aimed at helping you get ahead personally and professionally, with topics ranging from online learning success to career development.

The One Thing Your Job Search is Missing: Practice

Image: how to practice for your job search and interviews

If your goal is to be a great musician, how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice.

Every athlete, musician, politician and executive needs to practice. Michael Jordan, Yo-Yo Ma, and Bill Gates are considered all-time greats in their field. That was not by accident. No greatness, big or small, can be achieved without putting in the time and effort of practice.

Knowing this, why would you not put in the practice time needed for your job search? First, rehearse your interviewing skills. Prepare yourself for all types of possible interview questions. For example, many employers ask an abundance of "situational" interview questions. Having examples and stories prepared for the interview will allow your answers to be quicker, crisper and of higher quality.

Have you taken the time to practice your elevator pitch? This 60-90 second pitch is great to use at career fairs, networking events and when talking with somebody who may be able to help you with your career. While the opportunities to use this pitch may not be as frequent, you want to make sure that when you need it, you are comfortable with it. The last thing you want to do is freeze and not present yourself in the best fashion when you do have a chance meeting with a prospective employer or someone else who might help you with your search. The more you practice your elevator pitch, the more comfortable you will become with it.

Your first impression is a lasting one. Practice how you present yourself. Find somebody to try out your handshake on; this gesture can say a lot about you. Be sure you are shaking hands in a professional manner, firm and straight. Look the person in the eye and give a warm greeting. The more you practice, the better prepared you will be. An awkward greeting could be a detriment to a great meeting.

There is no playing field or musical instrument to practice on, but there are still many ways in which you can rehearse for the key elements of your job search. First, find a friend who will be able to listen to your interview answers, elevator pitch and greeting. Ask them for their thoughts. What impression did you give? A mirror is another great tool. This allows you to see yourself as the employer sees you. Are you making enough eye contact? Are you sitting up straight?

Meanwhile, don't forget to call your Career Coach. At AIU, Career Coaches are here to assist students and alumni with their career searches, including your practicing. Contact your Career Coach, if you haven't already, and set up a time to do a Practice Interview, go over your Elevator Pitch, or even run some ideas by them. They are trained to help you each step of the way.

Interested in more posts on job search related topics? Check out our Career Development blog.

If you're a current AIU student or alumnus looking for more career advice, please contact the Career Services Department at 877-221-5800 Option 5 or at