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Prepare Your Introduction

As you may have deducted from our lesson about introducing yourself, you will need to prepare for your interview quite thoroughly in advance and practice your answers orally, so you can impress any interviewer enough for them to decide to go beyond the introductory stage. 

Owen, the pilot

I remember how a student of mine in China was taking English classes, for him to apply for a test as a plane pilot, to be selected for a group of pilots who were earmarked to go for training in the USA. He didn't have problems with his English as such, although he was improving in this field by the day. No, his problem was deeper than the English - he lacked confidence and was very shy as a result, so he feared he would fail this test the fourth time around! 

We organised a number of classes in which he learned how to prepare his answers and utter them with the highest degree of believing in himself, what postures to adopt, how to carry himself and how to shake hands effectively and after a while he came to our English class with a grin on his face, announcing to everybody that he passed the test and he was finally selected for the training. I wonder where he is by now - it was a pleasure to see him so happy! 

You'll be amazed to see how much detail you can remember if you just take the time to write down and internalise your career history so far.

Make a complete dossier on yourself

Build a complete dossier on yourself. You'll need to prepare 8 data input sheets, to help you organise important work related information about yourself. 

1. An employment data input sheet. Write a separate sheet for each job, including volunteering projects;

2. An educational data sheet;

3. Extra-curricular activities you are proficient in

4. Make a list of all the sports, clubs and other activities you've participated in;

5. List all the awards and honours you've received from schools, community groups, church goups, clubs etc. 

6. If you've served in the army service, list your experiences and how they may be pertinent to your professional aspirations;

7. List your abilities to use foreign languages;

8. Other personal interests and hobbies.

Practice talking about yourself ~ Answer these questions:

Once you've finished with all this fact finding, practise talking about yourself, by combining as many aspects from your lists as possible. You can use the following questions to help you talk more freely about yourself:

A) Which achievements did you enjoy most so far?

B) How can these accomplishments add to the position at hand?

C) What mistakes have you made? Why did they occur? How have you learned from them and how have you tried to avoid similar things occuring again?

D) How well do you interact with authority people (bosses, teachers, your parents)?

Sell yourself successfully

The better you know yourself, the better you can sell yourself to a prospective employer when you are on the spot in an interview.

From your data input lists, yuo can compile a list of your best features, as follows:

- my strongest skills;

- my greatest areas of knowledge; 

- my greatest personality strengths;

- the things I do best

- my key accomplishments

Once you've done this, now look back at your list and try to transform each feature into benefits for the company. 

In continuation, also try to cover the following information about yourself:

- Which of my weaknesses should I admit to when asked?

- How will I explain the ways I've improved?

The more time and effort you invest in filling in the gaps now, while you have a cool head, the less you'll sweat when you're in the hot-spot.

Listen to more details on the above plan of action

Here is a YouTube clip containing lessons on how to prepare yourself to talk about yourself during an interview. I do hope this clip will stay on YouTube forever, so that you can always rely on the advice given. However, if the author takes it off and you're having problem accessing it, please let me know and I shall find you another one just as relevant and write a lesson on that one if needed.

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