Securing your first graduate job can be hard work. Just getting to the interview stage is difficult enough so when you open the email that reads ‘Congratulations. You’ve been invited for interview’ it’s cause for at least a fist pump in celebration. Reading through the email, however, your elation doesn’t last long as you discover you’ve been asked to deliver a presentation.
Presentation anxiety has affected us all at some point. It’s been suggested that a fear of public speaking is the most common of all phobias so you’re not alone! In this article we’ve highlighted some steps you should take to perfect the graduate job interview presentation. If you’re well prepared, then there’s no need to be nervous right?
Tell stories not lists
Every presentation should have a beginning, middle and end. Don’t just list everything you can do. This won’t keep your prospective employer interested and give you the best chance of securing the job.
Beginning: Where is the company now?
Middle: What challenges do they face?
End: How do you and your skills offer a solution?
End in a positive way. A brighter future for the company with you as a part of it!
The rules of design
There’s some core design principles that should be followed when designing your slides.
Contrast: Make the different elements on your slides distinct from one another. This can be achieved by using contrasting colours and differentiating the shapes and sizes of elements.
Repetition: Make use of repetition to create a visual uniformity that ties your slides together and gives a sense of rhythm. With the use of PowerPoint templates and slide masters, this is easily done.
Alignment: Alignment creates order and organisation. Everything looks like it’s in the right place when things are properly aligned, so the position of each element should correspond with another.
Proximity: Elements that are related to each should naturally be placed close to one another. This allows your audience to easily follow and correlate information, while eliminating any ambiguity. Don’t be afraid of white space. Scattered elements all over a slide will appear disorganized.
Get the tone right
Your interview presentation should be a conversation, not a one-way speech. Avoid using jargon and clichés and speak in a conversational tone. This will help build trust and credibility. You should encourage questions throughout the presentation and not wait till the end. This helps the presentation flow has two-way conversation. Prepare answers in advance to questions you think you might get asked. Don’t be afraid of questions, they give you an opportunity to expand on the ideas highlighted in your presentation. When it comes to your body language try and maintain eye contact and use your hands to express yourself. It will make you appear more passionate.
We know an interview presentation can be nerve wracking but preparation really is the key. If you follow this advice and prepare your presentation well in advance (and practice it) you’ll find the nerves much easier to control on the day and who knows you may even enjoy it! Good luck.
by James Robinson
James is the Marketing Manager for Buffalo7, the UK’s leading PowerPoint presentation design agency. Buffalo7’s recent clients include UEFA Champions League, Dell, Red Bull, Facebook and the BBC.