Interview tips & tricks

This content was repurposed from a presentation that Markelle gave earlier this year to the Women in Business group at UW Bothell.

In my role as Talent Manager at Simplicity Consulting, I meet with hundreds of clients and consultants. Those conversations have given me a front-row seat to what hiring managers are looking for.

Early-in-career job seekers, keep reading for tips and tricks on how to stand out, what hiring managers really want, and what works (and doesn’t!) in an interview.

Tip 1: Define your story & tell it consistently—everywhere

As our founder, Lisa Hufford, says: When you own your brand, you own your life.

What you say about yourself matters. Be intentional about your personal brand story to attract the work you want.

If you’re not sure what story you want to tell, that’s ok! Lisa’s Personal Brand Playbook & virtual personal brand workshop are incredible resources. Her five steps will help you define and build your brand.

Then, once you know the story you want to tell, tell that story consistently—everywhere. There’s nothing worse than seeing a candidate who positions themselves one way on LinkedIn, but tells a completely conflicting story in their resume.

When I say everywhere, that includes:

Tip 2: Dial in your resume

There’s no magic template or formula: Do what works for you.

If you’re a creative, it’s always good to showcase that. If you’re a PM, it’s okay to be more straightforward. There are lots of great templates out there, including on Canva and in Microsoft Word.

The most important thing: Make sure your resume is clear, concise, compelling, and typo-free. Whenever possible, focus on results and impact over activities. For example, “Built and executed email marketing campaign that drove 6% increase in sales” vs “Built and executed email marketing campaign.”

Remember that your resume is an opportunity to tell your personal brand story. Ensure that your language, experiences, and supporting details all ladder up to that story.

And keep it brief! While you undoubtedly have a laundry list of accomplishments, employers will only look at the first page so pare it down to the essentials and prioritize the relevant information.

Tip 3: Employers will look at your LinkedIn profile. What’s it telling them?

If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, build one. It’s the FIRST thing employers will look at. 77% of recruiters are on LinkedIn, and 35.5 million people have been hired by someone they connected with on the platform.

A few LinkedIn profile tips:

Tip 4: You know more than you think

Limited work history? That’s okay. You know more than you think.

You still have lots of valuable experience that you can leverage. Don’t discount things like internships, club and group involvement, especially if you played a leadership role, and even school projects.

Our clients always ask for people who know specific tools, so don’t forget to reference the tools & programs you know. And if you don’t know many, turn to resources like LinkedIn learning to build your arsenal.

Don’t have experience? Find some.

Find a non-profit that needs some help. Build a website around one of your interests. Volunteer to run the social media handles for a club you belong to. (I’m looking at you, whoever runs the Instagram account for UWB’s WiB group—reference that! You’re doing great work that’s just as relevant as on-the-job social experience.

Look for every opportunity to gain experience.

Tip 5: Show up with a SMILE

When you do land that interview, show up with a SMILE—these are our core values, based on what clients want from our conversations with hundreds of hiring managers.

More tips:

Want more on job search, professional fulfillment, & personal brand?

Our founder and CEO, Lisa Hufford, shares in Forbes what skills are in demand, how to build confidence and credibility, and thinking outside the traditional employment model.