The Write Way to Get a Job: making presentations for interviews

 

The Write Way to Get a JobPresentations are particularly useful for posts where delivery to groups of people is an important part of the job.These tips show you how to make the right kind of presentation to win you that job.

It’s increasingly hard to get a job – and a good one – these days, and although there is a lot to consider when you’re looking to get a job, effective business writing plays a major part in helping you succeed. In this series, HTWB columnist Lynn Tulip from Assessment4Potential explains the best ways to express your career information in your CV/résumé.

And if you want to catch up on all the earlier articles in the series, just check out the sidebar to the the right > > > > and they’re all there for you to help yourself.

Here’s Lynn…

Making a presentation for interview

It is not unusual when recruiting for senior roles, or where presentations are going to be part of the job, to ask candidates to make a presentation as part of their interview. This is an excellent opportunity to show your potential employers what you can do, away from the formal interview question and answers route.

The topic or list of topics to choose from must be sent to all short listed candidates, as it is unlikely that in any job they would be called upon to give a presentation with no preparation time at all. It is skills rather than subject knowledge that is being tested here and the panel must have agreed criteria by which they evaluate the presentation.

Preparing your presentation

HowToWriteBetter.net - the Write Way to Get a JobThe most important thing is to know what you will be presenting and to whom. This will inevitably influence what you say and how you pitch your presentation.

Find out how many people will be on the panel, their status, their expertise, any knowledge levels you can safely assume, and whether they know each other.

It might be that your presentation is to be an example of how you would pitch for some work or to make a sales pitch in the role to prospective clients.

Information is vital in helping you pull together the right amount of material, pitching it at the right level, and ensuring you have enough supporting materials to hand. Once you’ve established these details, you can get to work on the all-important structure.

Getting the right structure

You should always have one clear message that runs through your presentation, and limit yourself to three sections: introduction, development of your argument, and summary. Any more than that and your presentation will lose focus.

Develop a powerful introduction and close, as these are the times when your audience will be most attentive. Ensure that your ideas are clear and come in a logical sequence, using sentences that are short and to the point. When calculating how much time to devote to each section, allow 10-15% for your opening, the same for your conclusion, and the rest for the main content.

A clear delivery

Introduce yourself and state your title. Keep your opening punchy and have a memorable ending that will leave your audience on an upbeat note. Speak slowly and with purpose; avoid rambling or making digressions. Make regular eye contact with members of your audience, rather than allowing your gaze to drift vaguely round the room or over their heads.

Try to learn your presentation by heart. It will save you having to fumble around with prompt cards or PowerPoint slides and will give an excellent impression of your confidence and professionalism. However you choose to present, practice your presentation beforehand, testing it on friends or family if you have the chance.

Visual aids

Most of us have experienced ‘death by PowerPoint’ at some time – that sinking feeling that comes from seeing ‘slide 1 of 60’ up there on the screen, or staring at densely-packed slides as the presenter reads the text  word-for-word.

HowToWriteBetter.net - The Write Way to Get a JobHave mercy on your audience and improve your chances at the same time. Maximum content should be a headline and perhaps three or four bullets per slide with graphs and diagrams where appropriate. It should be there to help emphasize what you’re saying, not to take the focus away.

Don’t start the slides before you have first addressed your audience. They don’t want to be distracted by what’s on the screen while you introduce yourself and what you’re going to say. As you progress through your presentation, give your audience time to digest what’s on each slide before you begin talking again.

Flashy animations may show your technical expertise, but can cause major problems in distracting your audience and confusing you when it comes to pressing the button in the right places.

Avoid glancing down at the screen for prompts – if you’ve learnt your presentation properly, you won’t need them – and talk to your audience, not your laptop. Always make sure any projection equipment is working properly and try to get set up and ready to go before you are asked to begin.

Let us know of your experiences in using Twitter and other social media for your job hunting … which approaches you’ve used and how they changed your chances!

The write way to get a job

Lynn Tulip from Assessment4Potential

Now: let’s make sure  you get that job…

“Get That Job” by Lynn Tulip … The art of successful job hunting (print, Kindle)
“Can’t Get That Job?” by Lynn Tulip … Seven killer CV mistakes that destroy your chance of job success (print, Kindle)
“How To Write About Yourself” by Suzan St Maur … how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write INSTANT DOWNLOAD now available!

photo credit: dgray_xplane via photopin cc
photo credit: Official GDC via photopin cc

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