If you are a military veteran transitioning to civilian life, finding a job and making a new career can seem unfamiliar, even intimidating. But after researching, writing letters and sending out resumes, you’ve finally landed an interview.

Of course, you’ll need to prepare for the interview. You should learn as much as possible about the organization, the interviewer and the position. Visit the company’s website and review the LinkedIn profiles of the people you’ll be talking to. This will help you find common ground with your interviewer, making the interview a little more personal.

How to Close the Interview

One key to a successful interview is knowing how to close the interview. Let’s say you’ve done great in the interview, and it’s clear things are starting to wind up. You may want to relax at this point, but don’t. Now is your chance to make an interview closing statement, which can give you an edge in this highly competitive setting. Here are some tips to make a powerful closing statement that leaves the interviewer with a positive impression of you:

  • Be sure the interviewer knows you really want the job.
  • Give a firm handshake and make eye contact for a lasting impact.
  • Tell the interviewer that you’re excited about the opportunity.
  • Ask for a follow-up meeting, perhaps to meet the rest of the team.
  • Emphasize that you want to be part of the organization and that you look forward to the next steps in the process.
  • Make sure you get the interviewer’s business card and email address, and ask when an appropriate time to follow up is.

Finally, look in the hiring manager in the eye and say, “I think we’ve had a good interview. I enjoyed learning more about this opportunity. If there is anything in my background or resume that might give you pause in moving forward with me, please let me know so we can discuss it.” This may give you a chance to smoke out an objection that you can respond to. For example, the manager may mention that you don’t seem to have much experience in quality assurance. That provides an opening for you to say, “Let me explain how I do know a lot about quality assurance.”

Always Follow Up

There is one last step to closing the interview: the thank you note. Be sure to send a thank you note within 24 hours of your interview. Discuss what was talked about in the interview and restate that you want the job. Ask again when a good time to follow up is.

When that job offer comes your way, remember that compensation in civilian life doesn’t work the same way as in military life. For example, a job with low base pay but significant overtime can end up paying much more. Be sure you understand how the entire compensation package works before accepting a job offer.


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