Preparing for an Interview

When on the hunt for employment, you must always keep in mind just how important a first impression can be. There are just a few things that you can do to help make a great first impression, which will make you stand out from the others applying for the same position. Small things that just might make the difference between an interview and a future paycheck.

Dress for Success

First and foremost, you should have appropriate clothing ready to go for all interviews. This means tossing aside the jeans and yoga pants for the day and ironing those dress trousers. Girls can wear skirts of course, but keep in mind you aren’t going to the clubs or on a first date. You should always present yourself in business attire.

A good rule of thumb is to dress one step up from the job you will be interviewing for. If you will be expected to wear a dress shirt and tie, be sure to wear a dress shirt, a tie and a blazer, or even a suit, to the interview. You want the person speaking with you to see that you mean business, and one of the easiest ways to show that is to be dressed seriously.

Resumes and Cover Letters

At just about anywhere you apply for a job these days, you will find there is an application to be filled out. Sometimes it’s at the store on a computer or on paper. Often, online applications for common and uncommon positions can be found on store websites. This can often make one wonder how important a resume or a cover letter may be.

In both cases, it’s simply another chance for an applicant to make themselves stand out. Most online applications will allow the applicant to load a resume. The best choice is to take advantage of this time to write up your resume in your words. There are many programs available that will allow you to get the best out of your education, experiences, interests and talents.

A cover letter lets you really tell the company why you would be the right person for the job. Focus on what you can offer the business and how you would excel at the position. Explain in 400 words or fewer what drew you to the job or vocation, how your experiences will benefit the company and just how privileged you would feel if you were hired. Of course those are just a few ideas, but you want to keep it short and sweet but honest.

Know the Company

It’s always a good idea to do a little research on the company. Be able to answer some rudimentary questions. Knowing when the company was established, any key phrases or their motto and even things such as charities they endorse can be great for interview conversations.

Be ready to ask some questions. Many people processing applicants will end an interview with, “Do you have any questions?” Ask something memorable other than, “When do I get my first raise?”

Ask questions about the company. Why they started? Are there plans for expansion? Does the company have any furthering education policies? Make sure the interviewer knows you didn’t just show up because someone called. Make sure they know you have an interest in the business itself.

A Smile and a Hand Shake

Both ladies and gentlemen need to be sure they smile and are ready to be greeted with a firm handshake. It’s all part of that first impression and often can set the tone for the interview that follows. By making eye contact, greeting the interviewer, by name if possible, while smiling and shaking hands, you have already established yourself as a strong person ready to take on the challenges ahead.

It’s the Small Things

In all likelihood, you already do two or more of these things regularly when preparing to interview, and chances are most of the others applying for any job do as well. By being prepared to not only answer but ask questions, you will stand out. By having a copy of your resume on hand, you will have an easy reference for yourself and the person directing the interview. And by greeting people with confidence, you convey you are prepared to work.

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