There are tons of things you should know about when you are searching for a job. Some of them are simple, like what company you are interviewing with at the time (don't laugh, we've seen this mistake made in the past!). Others can be rather difficult, such as all the trouble shooting problems Google has you answer during interviews.
But if there is one thing you should know more than anything else when looking for employment, it is yourself. After all, you are the product that you are marketing. If you can't talk well about yourself, who can?
So how do you go about knowing yourself? Shouldn't you already know all of these things?
It's very possible that you do know each of these things before the interview. But it's equally possible that you don't know how to articulate them as well as you possibly can. Let's say you tell everyone you are a great communicator. This is a skill that many employers value and covet. If you talk about how you are a great communicator, you better be able to back that up by using your communcation skills to demonstrate that. Otherwise you've lost some credibility right away.
To prepare to talk about yourself, list out all of your skills and abilities. This kind of activity can be daunting for many people, but if you can materialize these traits, it will make it ten times easier for you when speaking with potential employers. In addition to your skills and abilities, make sure you have a solid example that can go along with each of those traits. Again, you don't want to be the person promoting communication skills and not being able to back them up.
A nice way to package all of this together is in what we like to call your 60 second commercial. In just one minute you can market yourself effectively to anyone you meet. The three main points you will want to touch upon are:
1. Where you are now (I'm currently a senior at Marquette University majoring in Chemistry. I am also an intern at XYZ lab where I...)
2. Where you've been (Last summer I worked as a research assistant with Dr. _____ where I worked on...)
3. Where you want to go (I'm looking for a position in _______ where I can use my skills....)
If you can master these simple things about yourself, you will find the job search much much easier. It's not everything you need to know by any means, but the rest of the information is out there for anyone to find. The information on you can only come from yourself.