Co-authored by Joshua Siva; co-author of BOLD: Get Noticed, Get Hired
Have you ever found yourself dreading the big interview or intimidating networking event? We've all been there - worried about what questions we'll get asked or whether we'll hit it off with whomever we speak with. But it doesn't and shouldn't have to be something to stress out over, especially when you're armed with a good story to tell.
Let's take a step back for a second and think about the types of people we enjoy spending time with. Usually there's something interesting about them and they keep our attention in one way or another. The job interview or the networking event is no different. Let's zoom in on the interview. Aside from the hard and soft professional skills a company may be looking to hire, they're also looking for someone who is interesting and is someone they can see themselves spending time with because let's face it, the majority of the day is spent working amongst colleagues and no one would prefer to work with someone they don't like. The same principles apply in all aspects of networking too.
With that said, here are 5 fun things you can do to interview and set yourself up to network better in the New Year:
1. Travel more and travel interesting
Pick a destination, plan something that takes you out of your comfort zone, and enjoy the experience. Consider getting "local" by renting a local house or apartment via Airbnb or get the scoop on what to do via TripAdvisor. Take lots of pictures, and try to maximize your trip by doing more than just sipping margaritas on a beach (although there's definitely a time and place for that too).
2. Learn a new skill and make it a habit
Never stop learning. Developing a new skill will not only make for a good story but also will keep your mind fresh, hungry, and curious to learn more. You can check out sites like Skillshare or Udemy to browse a vast array of skills to learn at your convenience and on your terms. It doesn't have to be professional either and could be more along the lines of learning to cook or speak a new language as an example. Just make sure you enjoy it!
3. Connect with someone new each month
In today's day and age where you're only as strong as your network, developing strong connections and continuing to build new ones is essential. Create a great LinkedIn profile and challenge yourself to reach out to someone new each month within your industry or at a company you might be interested in. If you're feeling brave (which you should be), try and set up a quick face to face coffee to add that human touch to your introduction.
4. Get active and stay fit
Your health is everything. Without it, you can't interview, network, or enjoy life's pleasures so don't under any circumstances sacrifice it for anything. It's the new year and everyone's trying to get into shape so why shouldn't you? Consider joining a workout class such as CrossFit or at a local gym. You'll feel better as a result and will hopefully portray a stronger image and make a better first impression wherever you go.
5. Create a side project that's visible to the world
It's never been easier to start a company or side-project with all of the tools and resources available to us via the Internet. Find a need, read James Altucher's"Ultimate Cheat Sheet to Starting and Running Your Own Business", and do something. Whether it remains a small time hobby such as selling your homemade soup at the local farmers market or turns into the next big thing, it'll force you to enhance your skill set and give you something interesting to talk about in any interview or networking setting. If you're still scratching your head about where to start, consider checking out Noah Kagan's list of resources, which has never steered me wrong.
With anything that may be a new experience, be sure not overwhelm yourself. To combat this and turn these new ideas into long-term habits, Stanford's behavioral guru BJ Fogg would suggest changing your environment and taking baby steps when starting out with any of the suggestions above.
Remember, there's no better day than today to start, so use 2015 as the year where you continue to develop yourself and your story. This is not only for your own well-being but also to ensure you're armed with an interesting story to tell to ace and take the stress out of any interview or networking event you attend.