Congratulations … you followed the Perfect Resume Equation and got the interview. (see story, May 2 edition of the Belvoir Eagle, or go to belvoireagleonline. com and search “resume) 

Now you get serious about your communication strategy and get to work developing your Message Development Plan. Your resume got you into the interview, but the interview is what gets you the job. 

What exactly is a Message Development Plan? 

This is a proven technique to craft concise, effective messages that answer the question at hand, and add a little flare – the Command Message. 

The anatomy of a Message Development Plan: 

Company background; theme; opening remarks; personal command messages; talking points. 

Five questions I know they will ask; Five I think they will ask; Five I hope they don’t ask, but I still need a prepared response. 

Part 1 - Company background 

This should be information on the company you are interviewing with. When were they founded? Who is the CEO? What are their values and mission? There’s no set length to this step, but usually a quarter-page of bulleted information will do. The worst thing you could do is walk into the interview with little or no knowledge on the company; you’ll look ill-prepared. 

Part 2 - Theme 

It’s one or two words that describe the essence of your MDP. This is what you can bring to the job, and why you’d be an asset to the company. Everything that comes after this step will relate back to this theme. 

Example: A nurse applying for a fast-paced, ER position may use the theme: Decisive, leader, or calm and collected. 

Part 3 - Opening remarks 

This is where you will craft your answer to the “Tell us about yourself,” question. Take the time and craft your 30-second elevator pitch. Be creative, write it out, and rehearse. 

Example: I’m a critical care nurse with 15 years of experience in fast-paced emergency room settings with a focus on level-4 trauma patients and rapid response techniques. I have experience with staffing protocol, and most recently lead the first nurse intern group from XYZ School to Cambodia where we taught level-2 trauma skills to the local medical school. 

Part 4 - Personal Command Message 

It’s one to three messages you want to get across during the interview, a top-level ‘… this is why I’d be an asset to this company,’ message. These can speak to your work ethic, overall experience, technical skills, etc. 

Example: Expanding on a theme of “Calm and Collected.” 

I’m a natural leader in stressful situations with the ability to expertly manage my surroundings. 

Part 5 - Talking points 

Talking points are the bullets from your resume that support your PCM’s. If a PCM says “I’m a natural leader in stressful situations with the ability to expertly manage my surroundings;” it needs to be proven by facts. 

Sample talking point to back up the example in Part 4 would be: 

Managed team of five during power outage and created solutions for 30 patients needing care. 

Part 6 - Murder board 

A murder board prepares instructors to face students, candidates for debates, and those preparing for a media interview. An Effective Response follows the following verbal equation: Answer plus Personal Command Message equals an Effective Response. 

Example question: Have you managed a team before? 

Effective response: I managed a team of 10 people during a natural disaster where we had to quickly and accurately triage more than 100 patients in three hours. While it was stressful, my ability to maintain professional disposition kept patients and my team at ease during an intense time. 

Go through all of your murder board questions and answer them using the ER format. Some answers may sound similar to others, and that’s OK. 

Rehearse, rehearse and rehearse 

It allows you to practice your answers out loud, make adjustments and it allows you to get comfortable in your interview clothing. 

This may seem like a lot of work to prepare for an interview but, putting in the effort can give you an edge above your competition. 

To read the full story, go to career/you-can-ace-your-interview-and-get-the-job-every-time/.

The Fort Belvoir Employment Readiness Program provides bi-weekly, Tuesday classes on job searching, which includes interview preparation.

According to Army Community Service, Employment Readiness Program Manager, Laureen Dupree, they schedule mock interviews regularly, and hold networking events, including the May 23, 10 a.m.-noon, “Military Spouses: Meet Your Future” event, at Army Community Service, which includes resume reviews and employer meet and greets.

Email Laureen.t.dupree.civ@ to schedule a mock interview, or register to attend classes or networking events.

If you have an upcoming interview, Dupree has some words of advice.

“Prepare...Prepare...Prepare. Start with researching the organization’s website and read everything. This should help you come up with questions to ask the interviewer,” she said. Dupree added that you should also be looking at for common interview questions.

Among other tips:

•Develop your answers to the most common forms of interview questions currently asked. You should develop your answers with metrics and success statements.

•Practice these answers with a partner, friend or spouse. Practice with yourself looking into the mirror. Do this until you are comfortable talking about yourself and your accomplishments.

•Prepare your interview clothing ahead of time so there are no surprises.

•Prepare at least five questions to ask the interviewer. These questions should be focused on what you can do to help the employer be more successful. Practice your questions.

•Prepare to follow up after the interview with a thank you email. This is also a chance to add some key points that you may have forgotten during the interview. Make sure you follow up with a thank you even if you think you bombed it.