Naturally, no two job interviews are the same. The format and style of each job interview vary, as is the interview room environment. However, the questions often repeat, and the thing that remains constant is the "self-introduction" part. That's why we'll prepare you for tricky questions and the introduction and give you some valuable tips to get you closer to landing your dream job.
Where to Start: Resume and Cover LetterFirst, let's start with the critical piece of your job application – your resume. Ideally, it should be clear, concise, eye-catching, and tailored to the job position you are applying for. It's pretty exciting that employers typically look at resumes for an average of 6-7 seconds, meaning every second counts. So, keep your resume short and direct, highlighting relevant skills and projects you've been working on. It's always a good idea to use metrics to list your achievements to give a recruiter a clear "visual" understanding of what you've done. Try to create a complete summary of your experience but also think beyond job duties, i.e., mention your emotional intelligence and soft skills. Also, it's an excellent idea to create an original resume template to catch the eye – you can find inserting ones here. Yet, the excellent resume is just half the battle won. Your cover letter should be as attractive as your resume. Ideally, it should consist of 250-400 words, which may be enough to convince the HR manager of your competence. Just like the resume, it should be short, factual, and direct to grab the manager's attention and keep it until the conclusion. Your cover letter should focus on why you're passionate about programming and the perfect candidate for working in this company. Remember that a cover letter is just a supplement to your resume, not a replacement, so you won't repeat what you have already mentioned in your resume. Ideally, the structure of your cover letter should look like this:
- Header (your contact information, social media profiles).
- Opening paragraph – grab the employer's attention with 2-3 of your top skills or/and achievements and projects.
- Explain why you're the best candidate for this job in the second paragraph.
- In the third paragraph, write why you're interested in this company and why you are a perfect match for it.
- Formal closing.
How to Prepare for an Interview?The moment has finally come. You are invited to the interview. What's next? The time for preparation. Start small and think of your appearance. "Good clothes open all doors." So, try to dress appropriately. Choosing what to wear to an interview will tell a lot to those you will meet. Keep in mind that different companies have different dress codes, so do some research beforehand. Still, there are some standard rules for most cases:
- Keep the focus on you – don't wear flashy clothes or distracting visuals like statement jewelry.
- Stay comfortable – make sure you feel good in your clothes and shoes.
When the Time ComesThe moment you are escorted to the interview room is, most likely, very emotional. You may start panicking and forget about everything you planned to frame in a short period. It's essential to sit back and relax and take a deep breath. Then, greet your interviewer(s) with a smile and start with your full name and a short introduction about yourself. It's ok to give brief details about your family, though remember that recruiters have no interest in your personal life. They typically evaluate your confidence, education, background, and communication skills to find out whether you fit the company and the role or not. Keep your self-introduction professional (ideally, it should last no longer than a minute). In the first part, you can say something like, "My name is Michael, and I am from Berlin." Then, without focusing more on your details, you may talk about your educational background, especially if you are a fresh graduate. Tell your interviewers the name of your school/college/courses/certificates related to the position for which you are applying. You shall also mention the projects you have completed, if any. On the other hand, for freshers, the educational background may be a significant asset, so a line or two on your hobbies may fill the gap. For example, you may speak about co-curricular activities you have pursued. In addition, HR managers are often keen to learn about a candidate's passions since they reflect your personality. Also, don't forget about the strong closing statement. Here, you should explain concisely why you are interested in this job opening and what motivated you to apply for it. You can mention how you think this role aligns with your career goals and that you are ready to take on challenging assignments. Conclude your self-introduction by saying, "Thank you for your time, that's all about me."
- Always try to maintain an eye-contact with your collocutor.
- Be logical and straightforward, yet don't simply narrate the content of your resume and cover letter.
- Avoid falsehoods or exaggeration. The more sincere you are, the more trust between you and the interviewers will develop.
- Be careful not to take glide much into informality. Life stories are a no-no at this step.
- Do not ask something like, "what do you want to know?".
- Use open, professional body language – keep your body relaxed. Nonverbal communication is essential.
- Don't be afraid to speak up. A solid volume will avoid making people struggle to hear your name and show you confidence.
Bonus Tip: Be Prepared for Follow-Up QuestionsAfter your introduction, be prepared to answer the tricky follow-up questions. Be ready that HR managers will not only ask you about your professional skills but will also test your honesty and integrity. And the following articles may help you avoid the situation when you are taken unawares:
- Top 21 Java interview questions
- Tricky Java questions frequently asked at interviews
- Top 50 job interview questions and answers for Java Core. Part 1
- Top 50 job interview questions and answers for Java Core. Part 2
- How to Crack Java Interview? The Best Resources Narrowed Down