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Ask Dan
I'm planning to leave my job for greener pastures. How should I prepare for upcoming job interviews?

Think of a job interview as a sales presentation – except the product you're selling isn't a widget, but yourself.

Like many presentations, perhaps the most important part is the preparation that takes place beforehand. Your first step should be to research the companies you're interviewing with by finding out as much as you can about them online. At the same time, reach out to acquaintances to see if any are familiar with these businesses. Between Web searches and networking, you should be able to develop a sense of the companies' corporate cultures. This will help sharpen your interview responses to meet their particular needs.

Next, review the job descriptions of the positions for which you're interviewing, and prepare to address their requirements by demonstrating your work history in three particular areas: problem-solving skills, ability to innovate, and enthusiasm you bring to the job. (Companies look for these factors specifically in any seasoned worker.) When you feel ready, rehearse an interview with a friend who can ask questions about your work background, thus allowing you to practice presenting yourself in a positive light, focusing especially on those three areas. With some luck – and some groundwork – you'll ace your interviews and end up in a job you'll be loving instead of leaving.

Dan Lumpkin, organizational psychologist, is the president of management-consulting company Lumpkin & Associates in Fairhope, AL. Need answers? Email your career-related questions to askdan@exhibitormagazine.com.
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