Many students take advantage of internships, clubs, student government, sports and other opportunities to build leadership skills. The question is, how do you demonstrate and articulate your experiences to a potential employer?
In this guest blog post, GEICO shares the following steps that could help you to showcase your leadership skills for your next interview.
Who are you?
When you are looking for a job, you’ve got to tell interviewers who you are and what you can do for their company. No one knows you, and no one knows your skills unless you tell them. You have to show the value of your skills and experiences. You need to be able to show a potential employer that the time and money they’ll invest in training you will not be wasted because you already have what it takes to contribute to the organization and climb up the ladder of success.
What have you done?
Consider what skills are important to you and to the job you are applying for. Then think about the times in the past when you have used these skills in your job or at school. Be able to explain, in one or two sentences, how you used this skill to accomplish something that was beneficial to your employer or student organization. Just make sure the skills you choose are applicable to the job for which you are applying.
Talk about real examples
When focusing on leadership, talk about the experiences you’ve had in building or leading a team; include how you motivated the team and even what tasks you delegated. Results are what matters here. Focus on them. What was the group able to accomplish under your charge? Be able to talk about a problem that the organization had and how you were able to lead the group in solving it. Know when to say “we” and when to say “I” when giving examples. Using “we” implies teamwork, whereas the use of “I” denotes leadership.
Look your best and show your confidence
Keep in mind that, as a candidate, it’s not just the answers to the questions that you’re judged on, but also the way you present yourself. If you want to be regarded as a leader, you have to act like a leader. Sitting up straight, walking to the interview room and shaking hands with confidence and answering questions without any hint of doubt are key ways to show that you are indeed a leader. Don’t forget to maintain eye contact and act professionally, but not stiff. Know the business that you are interviewing for and dress appropriately.
Exuding confidence will greatly boost your chances of being regarded as a potential great leader. A leader knows how to react to certain situations and will not hesitate to stick with what he or she believes in. If you are a leader, it will naturally show in how you carry yourself during the interview.
Practice, practice, practice
Take the time before your interview to hone what you want to say on any number of key subjects. Practice questions and answers with a friend, and then practice some more. You will be much better prepared for a smooth interview.
At GEICO, we have two selective leadership programs that target graduating seniors who excel academically, possess leadership experience and demonstrate the desire to one day manage a team. These positions put successful participants on the fast track to higher-level positions. You will learn the business from the ground up through mentoring and learning to mentor others. When GEICO interviews candidates for these jobs, it’s important that those who go on to the next steps have relevant experience as well as a strong desire to manage people.