After you apply for a job, or write directly to a company,chances are if they are interested, they will call you for a phone screening, even before they call you for an in-person meeting.  If the phone screening goes well, then they will call you in for the first interview.  If that goes well, you will be called back for a second, or even a third interview.  So, how do you prepare?

1. Research.  Make sure you visit the company website and learn about the goals and challenges of the company.  Visit the LinkedIn profile of the person(s) who will interview you.  Find out as much as you can.  See if you have anything in common – school, interests, work place.  For non-profits, be sure to check out the 1099 tax return online which is free and open to the public.
2. Review the job description and make a list of all the requirements.  Think about which ones you meet, sort of meet and don’t have a clue about.
3. Make a Check list ..on the left side of the page list the requirements.  On the right side of the page write an accomplishment that illustrates how you have met that requirement from past experience. What is left?  Are there any you cannot meet?  What can you say about those?  Are you a fast learner or are you taking a course in it?
4. Tell a Story and Check off the List – During the phone screening or in person, go down the list of responsibilities and relate an accomplishment from your past experience that proves you can do each of those tasks.  For each of the tasks or requirements tell a short story (three sentences) of how you did that in the past.  P.A.R. What was the problem? What action did you take? What was the result?
5. Rinse and Repeat – After the interview, write an email to the person who interviewed you repeating key accomplishments that relate to the job.  Mention key tasks or problems and how you can solve them for this company.  Then call the hiring manager to reiterate your interest and how you can contribute to solving the company’s problems.