The Keys to Mastering Job Interviews

networking professional development Apr 11, 2022

As you build your plan for life after sports, chances are you will go through the job interview process. This process can be intimidating, but if you can go in prepared, you’ll come across more confident and ready to highlight your skills. 

Here’s our top tips for nailing your next job interview.

Do Your Research on the Company

The first thing you should do when you prepare for an interview is to research the company and the person you are interviewing with. Did they recently post a big announcement on LinkedIn, create a new initiative or launch a new partnership? Read more about the news they’ve shared and be ready to bring it up during the interview to show you have been paying attention to what the company is doing. Also, a common question you’ll be asked is why you want to work there. Be ready with specific examples of the things that they work on that interest you. 

Do Your Research on YOU! 

You may not think that researching yourself for an interview matters, but it absolutely does! Go through your past experiences working a summer job, interning, class projects, externships, and more to highlight some of the positive and negative experiences you had. What challenges did you overcome? What leadership skills did you use or what projects did you take the lead on? How did you approach an assignment or project where you had no prior experience? All of these things are important to research and have answers ready to go, so that you know you are highlighting your best self. 

Communicate The Skills You’ve Gained from Athletics 

Don’t undersell your sports experience. Saying you are a student athlete is not saying enough. Be sure to do the same research you did for past jobs or class projects on your athletic experience. What skills has being an athlete taught you that you’ve taken into other areas of your life? Think time management, leadership, communication, coachability, taking criticism, goal oriented mindset, the ability to fail, and so much more. Take the time to really reflect on what you’ve learned from sports, and make sure to share those lessons when you are talking about your experience.  


You don’t want your answers to be scripted out, but you definitely don’t want to sound like you're fishing for ideas or don’t know what to say. Ask a friend, family member or classmate to prep you and throw you questions to get you in the mindset of the interview. And when it comes to the day of the interview, make sure you have a list of examples in your head or on paper you can reference, especially if it’s a virtual one. And of course, be sure to dress the part if it’s an in person or video interview. 

Have Questions for the Interviewer

Nothing is worse than when an interviewer says “Do you have any questions for me?” and the candidate says no. Many companies pay attention to the questions you ask during the interview to determine whether you are really interested in working for them or not. If you nail the interview questions they have for you but don’t have some good questions for them in return, you likely won’t be getting to the next step. Make sure the questions you ask can’t be easily answered with a Google, Glassdoor or LinkedIn search either. 

Remember, you are evaluating the company to see if it’s a good fit for you - so you want to interview them just as much as they are interviewing you. This is your time to show you’ve done your research and highlight the important questions you want answered about the company’s culture, work environment and your interviewer’s specific experience as well. 

Follow Up! 

After the interview is over, be sure to send a thank you note to the contact you spoke with. It reaffirms your interest in the position and acknowledges the time and effort that person took to meet with you about the opportunity. Whether handwritten or an email, sending that note goes a long way. 

The more you prepare for your interview, the better you’ll be when you’re in it. Just like in sports, it’s about putting in the work in practice so that you shine during game time. Take time to research the company, explore your own experiences and skill sets, and practice how to best share your story with the interviewer. The more time you spend preparing, the more confident and ready you’ll be to highlight your best self. 

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