Friday, January 8, 2016

LIFESTYLE: 10 tips to help you land the position!

I was recently contacted by a friend for assistance with preparing for a couple of interviews she has scheduled later this week. I felt like this would be the perfect opportunity to share some of the information I gave her on how to put your best foot forward for an interview you may have coming up as well.

1.      Resumes are important. Your resume works as your representative.  It is the first initial contact that you will make with a potential employer. You should always have an updated copy of your cover letter, your resume, and your references.

I recently held an interview panel for my company.  And although the candidates were asked to upload their resumes and cover letters when applying, I paid very close attention to those who were able to hand a paper copy to each of the interviewers sitting on the panel. 
2.      Always print your resume on resume paper (preferably on off-white colored paper) to present a more professional looking presentation.
A lot of employers use technology (tablets, etc.) to view your resume. However, there are still those who don’t.  Ditch the creative fonts, the clip art, etc. as it distracts employers from your qualifications but, keep the fancy paper as it does stand out in a pile of white copy paper.
3.      As group panels are becoming more common when interviewing candidates, always have at least three copies of your resume on hand.  
Again, with technology at the forefront of our lives there are companies that will not ask you for your resume. However, for those that do, you want to be prepared.
4.      How you carry these documents is as important as having them.  I recommend you purchase a black or brown leather portfolio folder.  In your folder should be your documents, a blue ink pen, a black ink pen, and a small note pad in case you may need to take notes.  If you do freelance/contract work and have a business card, keep that in your folder as well.  Employers love to know that you are organized and prepared.
Ditch the large purses, the manila file/package folders, and the backpacks. Leather folders are an interview accessory that shows professionalism and organization.
5.       Always arrive 15 minutes early, but no more than 15 minutes.
Contrary to what you see in the movies, most employers are not interested in having their candidates converse in the office lobby. Therefore they schedule their interviews with enough time for you to exit the building and the next candidate to enter. The average interview lasts approximately forty-five minutes.  Most interviews are scheduled one hour apart for that reason.
6.      When it comes to attire, “Generation Mil” has slightly altered the way we dress for an interview today.  Where it is still very important to look professional when going on an interview, personality, creativity, and style play a huge part in standing out from the competition.
Keep in mind the field and position that you are interviewing for when choosing your attire. First impressions are still very important when meeting a potential employer. The employer hiring for a position in the Art industry may welcome a candidate in a Salmon colored blazer, whereas an employer hiring for a position in the Finance industry may not.  
7.       Sex(y) sells, but… if Prostitute or Escort is not the position you’re applying for, sexy shouldn’t be the look you are going for either.  Make sure your attire fits your body, but isn’t form fitting.
Try to stay away from shirts that reveal too much cleavage, collared shirts that pull in the breast/stomach area, or skirts that reveal too much leg.  Sleeveless shirts should only be worn under a blazer.  And if you choose to wear slacks, make sure they don’t cling to your thighs or they’re not too baggy.  Men, make sure your suit fits your body. There is nothing worse than a man in a baggy suit. If you opt to wear a sweater with a collared shirt and tie, make sure your shirt isn’t baggy under your sweater, and that sweater isn’t oversize and droopy. And lastly, make sure your shoes are clean and polished. Your resume can get you in the door but, your presentation will speaks for you waaaaaay before you are able to say anything.
8.       When getting ready for an interview, go easy on the makeup and the perfume/cologne.
Remember, first impressions are very important.  Make sure to give yourself a natural look that only highlights your beauty when applying makeup for an interview. Try to avoid bright colored lipsticks, eye shadows, and blushes. Also, be mindful of your potential employer’s senses. Apply very little, if any, perfume/cologne on when going on an interview. Some businesses are scent-free establishment due to allergies their employees may have.
9.       Do not eat or drink anything (besides water) 30 minutes before your interview. 

Food and or beverage smells and coloring linger on your breath long after you’ve finished your meal.  Be sure to give yourself time to eat your meal, have your drink, and chew gum or eat a few mints with ease.  And when it comes to mints and gum, do not enter an interview with either in your mouth. You may think it’s hidden but, trust me… it can be seen when you’re speaking.
10.  DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!  The number one question asked in an interview is “What do you know about [insert company name here]?” 
It is safe to assume that for every job posted, there are at least one hundred applicants applying for that position. Employers usually contact the most qualified, according to their resume, for an interview.  Doing your research will show your potential employer that you are interested in something other than the pay check they can provide. It shows that you have invested your time in getting to know what the company does and how YOU can be an asset to it. And when doing your research, do not stop at their website.  Research whether they have a LinkedIn account or a Facebook account and visit it. Research any articles or postings that may have been written about the company, etc.  Research the type of people they currently employ and their qualifications and look for similarities you may have with them. The information you can learn from doing your research on a company can give you an advantage on not only the competition, but answering the questions in the interview.
I hope the information above helps you on your hunt!