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3 Strategies to Stand Out in a Job Interview

Image: stand out in job interview

If you've ever interviewed for a job, you're probably more than familiar with how stressful of an experience it can be. Hours upon hours of time spent preparing a carefully crafted elevator pitch can all be thrown to the wayside due to anxiety, or you may be up against competitors with more experience or stronger networking connections than you.

There are some factors you can control, and some you cannot; a strong performance is dependent on your ability to identify the difference and allocate your preparation time accordingly. In short, an impressive interview performance requires effective strategies for success. Let's take a look at a few strategies you can bring into an interview that will help you stand out.

Build a Targeted Sales Pitch

To catch the interviewer's attention, you'll need to develop your own sales pitch, a personal branding statement that will immediately speak to the company's needs. Ideally, this statement will be introduced right from the start, possibly as a response to the question "Tell me about yourself," or whichever question your interviewer chooses to break the ice with. This is meant to provide information that the interviewer will want to follow-up on.

To give a very basic example, if you are applying for a healthcare office administrator position that requires you to provide customer service, you might start your pitch off with something like, "I'm an administrative professional with 10 years of experience providing customer service in a healthcare office environment." While not a perfect example, the listener is left with a clear understanding that you have been successful in this setting before and will hopefully conclude that you can be successful in that same setting in the future. Develop your pitch further by including relevant accomplishments and discussing any relevant education you may have.

Research the Company

"One of the things I really look for is, 'Did they really research the organization? Did they understand what was going on in the organization?'" said Penny Galbreath, Training Manager for Corporate Technology and Compliance at convenience store chain Kum & Go, in one of AIU's recent Serious Talk webinars. In an interview, it is your job to explain exactly why you are the right fit for the job, and being the "right fit" means going beyond the boundaries of the job description – it means understanding how the position fits within the company as a whole. One way to demonstrate this is by conducting research into what the company does, the services and products they offer, and what their mission statement is. Being able to speak to each indicates that you've done some next-level assessment of how you can help the company.

Be Authentic, Be Yourself

This lesson applies in pre-interview preparation and during the interview itself, and corresponds with a common mistake interviewees make: relying too heavily on a script. "You can set yourself apart by showing your personality because that's who we are hiring, you, all of you, not who you rehearsed to be because of something you found on a website," said Elissa Dactelides, head of learning and development for Cetera Financial Group, in AIU's recent Serious Talk webinar, "Who's Getting Hired and Why."

Instead of relying on a detailed script, try to write down a few of the main points you want to get across during the interview, and practice inserting them into the conversation in a variety of ways. This should give you more flexibility in your speech and allow your personality to come through while still helping you maintain a consistent advertisement for yourself.

Interested in more posts on job search related topics? Check out ourCareer 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