Originally published Tuesday, 21 April 2015.
In today's world, the job market has become ever-so competitive. It is crucial that those who are actively seeking employment know how to do the "little things" well. What can you do to set you apart? How will potential employers remember you? How do you get started, if you haven't job searched in many years? Here are a few tips to get you started:
Show up on time for your interview. This actually means to show up 15 minutes early. Trust me. You don't want to keep a potential employer waiting. It can be a precursor to your good or bad habits on punctuality. And it makes a first impression.
Dress the part. Wear a suit. No exceptions. When I interviewed for a job at a local pizza place some years ago, I wore a suit. That's weird, you may be thinking. No, it's not. You always dress for the position you hope to hold, not necessarily the one you are interviewing for. Put your best foot forward. It will leave an impression.
Ensure your resume is accurate, short, and easy to read. Do not list hobbies on your resume. Do not list personal references on your resume. Keep your resume to one page. Be certain to list Month and Year for start/end dates of employment and education. Use tons of buzz words throughout the resume that describe you, e.g. goal-oriented, task-driven, multi-tasker, punctual, candid, honest, high level of integrity, hard working, driven, etc.
Always bring a resume to the interview (even if you sent one previously).
Use proper grammar. Your interviewer is not your best friend, so don't talk to him as such.
Practice, if you don't interview well. The job market is competitive and there are no second chances when you aren't adequately prepared.
Strike a balance between personal and professional information. The interviewer does not want to know that you have 3 best friends in high school that once betrayed you and you had to seek counseling because of it. However, they do want to know that you aren't a robot! So feel free to share some personal information, but don't go overboard.
Send a thank-you card after the interview. It's a nice touch.
Shake hands firmly, both before and after the interview.
Author/Speaker Jennifer Maggio is considered one of the nation’s leading authorities on single parents’ and womens' issues. She is the founder of Overwhelmed: The Single Moms Magazine and The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She was an 11-time Circle of Excellence Winner in Corporate America. She has been featured on countless radio and television programs and has a heart to see that no single mother walks alone. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.