by LaQueshia Jeffries, Guest Contributor
Our parents and grandparents will be the last generation (for the foreseeable future) to work for an average of 1 or 2 employers in their adult lives. In fact, over the last 10 years the general civilian population has experienced a bit of the change and adjustments we working military spouses face every few years. The extensive job searching, networking and career realignments that we know so well have been par for the course across the United States.
Today’s career-driven military spouse realistically stands the chance of working 10, 15, possibly even 20 different jobs. Some jobs are simply space fillers to prevent gaps in our resumes. Other positions are for a particular goal like knocking out debt or saving for a down payment on a dream home. Then there are positions we need to pursue to take us to the next level with our designated fields.
Fortunately, crisscrossing the country with our service member can truly provide us with some challenging and equitable career opportunities that we may not have otherwise experienced by living in just one location.
But for every job offer, there are countless awkward first dates also known as job interviews.
Sweating job interviews is no fun and sitting for interview after interview can make even the most confident person lose their swagger. The fact of the matter is that working military spouses often have to “speed-date” potential employers at a higher frequently than our civilian counterparts. Thankfully there are definite ways to get your interviews #Handled.
Sweating Your Next Job Interview? 6 Ways Working Military Spouses Can Keep It Cool
1. Conduct a Little Recon
No one wants to be stuck looking like a deer in the headlights in a job interview or anywhere else for that matter. So be sure to do your homework!
Whether you are interviewing for an associate position at Macy’s or to be a Gladiator at Olivia Pope and Associates: Know the business. Google, Bing and Yahoo are our friends.
It’s also helpful to physically visit the establishment beforehand, if possible. This will let you get a feel for the layout, energy and workflow of the employer. A little reconnaissance can go a long way in calming jittery nerves.
2. Talk to Yourself
Talking to yourself can have a bad rap. But I’m a strong advocate of the practice. Hearing your own voice asking and answering potential interview questions gives you a chance to model how you would ideally like the meeting to go. It also gives you time to fully flesh out your thoughts. Later, the real thing will simply feel like deja vu.
I’ve used this technique for everything from high school beauty pageants, to teaching complicated concepts, to giving speeches and having hard conversations. Trust me, this practice works.
3. Be #FLAWLESS
No need to grab the credit card and hit the mall. You can use what you have to present a great picture of yourself. Flawlessness is more about a state of mind; it can’t be purchased at a store.
Carefully coiffed hair, a clean face, minty breath, pressed clothes and thoughtfully selected accessories ensure your flawless attitude coincides with your outward presentation. Take the time to look your best and give yourself props for being you. That is flawlessness personified.
4. Eat, Drink and be Ready
I have gone on way too many job interviews to count. What I’ve learned in the process is that an empty stomach is not your friend. This can be tough for early interviews if you’re like me and not much of a breakfast person.
The solution? Toast and coffee. Or a banana and coffee. Basically anything quick and light will do for breakfast. You don’t need the breakfast of champions, but you do need a little something coating your stomach and fortifying your mind.
Nothing is worse than nailing an interview only to have your rumbling gut attempt to answer the final question or drawing a blank because you can’t stop thinking about lunch. Eat; it does your interview good.
5. Toot Your Own Horn
First, call your best friend, favorite sibling, mother or spouse. Then have them tell you all the reasons why you ROCK.
- Is it because you’re tenacious and have superior work ethic?
- Or maybe you love learning and are consistently abreast of industry trends and news?
- Perhaps it’s simply because you work well under pressure and believe in professionalism.
Whatever the reasons are, accept them and allow their words to bolster your spirit. The confidence you bring to the interview will be translated into the confidence your future employer can place in you.
Unless you know that this job is The One, and by The One I mean “pull-out-all-the-stops-I-have-to-have-this-amazing-job-that-I’ve-been-waiting-for-my-whole-life” type of job; RELAX.
And even if it is The One, RELAX.
Breath in. Breath out. A job interview is still just a date. You like them and they obviously like you. Go in there and get to know one another.
When you stop thinking of every interview as a marriage proposal and instead as an icebreaker you can objectively view your options.
You can stop sweating and start talking, listening and getting clearer on whether this particular employer will be a good match for where you are in your life and your career.
Where ever you are both geographically and professionally just know that you’ve got this and your military spouse sisters and brothers have been where you are and they’ve got your 6!
How do you keep your cool during a job interview? Tell us in the comments.
LaQueshia Jeffries is an educator and author. As a military spouse of 14 years she’s had her share of career triumphs and setbacks. You can visit her personal website LaQueshiaJeffries.com to find links to her 3 published children’s books and educational blog. Her Facebook Page, Ms. Jeffries’s Desk, offers tips and inspiration for helping your school-age learner.