If you read my previous post, Tips to Make a Stronger Resume, you now have successfully strengthened your resume and have landed an interview—perhaps a precursory one by phone. First off, congratulations! But now you’re probably nervous about your phone interview, right?

A phone interview is a way for employers to screen candidates to find out more about their experience and qualifications that pertain to the job before bringing them in for a formal in-person meeting.

This is one of the most important steps in getting the job, because it will help determine if they are interested in proceeding with you as a serious candidate. It is normal to be nervous, and most employers will understand that you will be; however, there are a few things you can do both before and during the call to help you succeed.

Practice, Practice, Practice
Look over your resume and figure out what you are going to say prior to the call. Think of potential questions the employer might ask you and what your responses will be. Ask a friend or family member to role play the scenario with you. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will feel—after all, practice makes perfect.

Give relevant, yet interesting information
Chances are the most common question, “Can you tell me about yourself,” will be asked. When this is asked, make sure you keep it relevant, but interesting. A potential employer does not need to know your entire life story, but add some personality to your biography. Forbes gives a great example of a relevant, yet inspiring “story statement.” Make sure you tell them a brief history about your experience showing that you are qualified for the job while adding details that can help inspire your interviewer. Remember, you are “selling” yourself.

Do your research and ask questions
Make sure you know about the company before your phone interview. It is good to know the company’s background, and it gives you the opportunity to make sure you are interested in that specific company. Draft up a few questions to ask just in case you have the opportunity—if given the chance, you want to be prepared. It shows that you are taking the interview seriously and are interested in working for them in the future.

Talk confidently
Even though you may be nervous, try to sound confident. Never downgrade your skills. You are where you are because you have worked hard. You want to show off you skills and expertise as much as possible to illustrate that you will be an asset for the company.

And don’t forget to let your personality shine! People can truly hear a smile through the phone, so be sure to put an effort into putting a positive tone in your voice and have fun in the process!

What questions or advice do you have for a successful phone interview?