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A few weeks ago, while I was grocery shopping, I received a call from a dear friend. She was in the midst of applying for jobs; a tedious process I had just come out of. She told me about the position, and that she felt as though she'd be a perfect fit. She was being called in for an interview. She told me about the position, and that she felt as though she'd be a perfect fit. She was already being called by several companies, but she was a little insecure with how to proceed throughout the interview process.
".I'm already applying for a couple of other jobs—should I let them know that?"
"No, of course not!" I said, placing a can of canned peaches in my buggy. "Why would you tell them that? You should never 'let the right hand know what the left hand is doing."
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"I mean, you should treat your interviews like a love affair."
“A love affair?"
“But, I would never cheat on my boyfriend.”
“Yes, I know. I know," I said, putting the can of green beans back on the shelf. "But, just imagine that if you would.”
"Okay…" my friend's voice trailed off.
I let out a deep sigh and continued to push my cart down the canned vegetable aisle. I could tell I wasn't making any sense to her, but it was hard to explain. Applying for and getting jobs doesn't always come as second nature to my beautiful, confident friends. But, it really should. This friend of mine was a star. And there was no reason for her not to get the job she was applying for. But, I’m afraid she was lacking some basic skills.
Besides being secretive with juggling other offers and interviews to ensure you find the right job for you, here are some other tips for landing the interview, shaking your nerves and showing your future employer just how fabulous you really are.
Drink Plenty of Water and Get Plenty of Rest the Day Before
When you’re sitting in the office of your sure-to-be future-boss, you’re going to want to be hydrated. Just, trust me on this. You’re going to be exerting yourself mentally. Your body is going to be working to keep up with all of the adrenaline from your nerves. Having a dry, raw mouth while you’re trying to put forth your best is something you shouldn’t even have to think about.
Also, make sure you get an adequate amount of sleep. It can be tricky to battle nerves for some snoozing. Just give yourself enough time to relax, regroup and spend time in prayer. You’ve got a big day ahead of you.
This should be a given, but I’ve shaken too many flimsy fish-hands to keep quiet on this topic. A handshake sets the tone of the interview. You want a nice, firm, strong grip. This will show that you’re sure of yourself and confident in who you are.
Just don’t make the mistake I did when I interviewed for a job a Cracker Barrel. I got a little too carried away and wound up accidentally slamming my interviewer's hand down on the table where we were sitting.
Didn't get that job. But, man, what a grip!
Sit Up Straight
All those times your teachers told you to be aware of your posture are coming into fruition right now. Studies actually show that posture not only affects your confidence but also how others perceive you.
Give good eye contact when you’re speaking and listening to your interviewer’s questions. This will show that you’re engaged in the conversation, and also–you guessed it–confident. We’re going to put our best selves forward.
Don’t Be So Modest
Seriously. This is your time to shine. A job interview is no place to be bashful. It’s okay to talk about yourself and to talk about your accomplishments. This is why you were called into the interview. This may be hard to do, especially if you have grown up being taught that talking about yourself too much is rude, or vain.
Don’t worry about sounding brag-y. This is the one time where you're allowed to talk about your accomplishments. Don't expect your interviewer to be able to discern all that he or she needs to know about you from your resume. The in-person you is so much more interesting and vibrant!
But, Do Dress Modestly
Of course, it’s wrong to judge people based solely on their appearances. However, how you present yourself outwardly (aside from that firm handshake) is a very important factor in the job interviewing process. Here are some important rules as far as dress is concerned:
After Labor Day? Time for sheer panty hose. (I know, I know–but it’s just one of those things that as woman we have to deal with).
Wear closed-toed shoes. Sandals and strappy footwear may be fun for a night out with your girlfriends, but you’re here to show your interviewer what a professional candidate you are. Do not wear panty-hose with open toed shoes. Ever.
Black suit, white or off-white button up shirt. You don’t want loud colors distracting from your pretty face.
Keep your hair out of your face, this will help with establishing good eye contact, but it will also keep your hands from fidgeting with it.
Follow the Coco Chanel rule of jewelry. No dangly earrings or studs larger than the size of quarters. Again, you don't want something like your dress or accessories to distract from who you are and what you came to share with your interviewee.
Have Questions Already Prepared
Think, "What Would Nancy Drew Do?" Interviews are the perfect time for a little investigative journalism tactics.
Prior to the interview, do as much research about the company that you can. As positive questions about the company, and the work that they do.
Try questions like: "what's your favorite part about what you do?" and "what was your best day at the office?"
You’re not the one doing the interviewing, of course. But jot down a few questions on a legal pad and have them with you. Think about how impressive that is! It shows you took the time to research ahead of time, and that you care and have a passion for where you work.
Ask for a Business Card
People love handing out their business cards. Ask for one from your future employer, even if you already have their information. It shows that you understand basic business protocols. Plus, you’ll need it later for when you write them a thank you note.
Snail Mail is a Must
Do not let a week pass without sending a hand-written “thank you” note to your interviewer. Neatly express to your interviewer how thankful you are that they spent the time considering you for the position. You can also end with "I'll be looking forward to hearing from you soon" to let them know you're anticipating their response.
Breathe...the Hard Part is Over
You got the interview. That means the people in charge of the organization you want to be a part of were impressed by what they know about you on paper. Now, show them the true, three-dimensional woman you are.
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Brett Wilson is a Christ-loving, single, curly-haired, left-handed coffee-addict. She is a public relations writer in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Brett lives with her best friend and a Boston Terrier named Regis. You can read more from Brett at her site, www.amanworthwritingfor.com, or on Twitter.
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