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Interviewing Tips

Job interviews might possibly be one of the most stressful - yet important - ordeals we all must go through. They're at least in the top ten. Even the most experienced job seeker gets a touch of the butterflies when sitting in front of a prospective employer. But interviewing is a discomfort we, the working stiffs, must all endure. So here are a few tips to help you knock their socks off and get the gig.

Prepare. Make sure you have researched the company, the person who will be interviewing you (if possible), and yourself! Make sure your past career accomplishments, experience, and skills are fresh in your mind and that you can easily and quickly relate these to the position for which you are applying. Practice answering interview questions in front of the mirror or with a friend or your partner.

Dress the part. Appearance is extremely important in an interview, so show up looking professional and polished; wait to express your flare for cutting-edge fashion until you have the job and you are sure your style aligns with the dress code. Conservative is key. If you don't have a suit, invest in one. Blue or black is best, with a white, pale blue or other muted-toned, collared blouse underneath. Keep your jewelry to a minimum, and keep your fingernails trimmed and polish-free (or wear clear or pale polish if any). Skip the perfume on the day of your interview as some people are highly allergic to perfumes, and you don't want your interviewer to be preoccupied with a runny nose, itchy eyes and wheezing when he or she should be focused on you!

Project confidence. Even if you are quaking in your heels and your stomach is turning somersaults, put on an air of confidence and assertiveness. This is a perfect time to practice faking it until you make it. Look your interviewer straight in the eye, shake his or her hand firmly when you meet and again at the conclusion of the interview, and don't forget to smile! Answer his or her questions succinctly yet completely, but don't blather on and on. Talking too much is a sure sign of nervousness.

Tailor your approach. Pay attention to who is interviewing you to get a sense of his or her personality. Is he straight-laced and all-business? Then you should be too. Is she relaxed, conversational and humorous? Then play along and let your personality shine through a little more.

Listen and ask questions. Show genuine interest by listening intently to your interviewer(s) and asking appropriate questions about the position and the company. Bring a list of several questions you have prepared in advance. Expect that your interviewer will answer some of the questions in the course of the interview, but that should still leave you with a couple to pose. Even better is to ask a question based on something the interviewer said - but if you're like me, you'll be so nervous you may draw a blank. However, leave questions about salary and vacation time off of your list. The appropriate time to ask these questions is late in the interview process or you may want to wait until the prospective employer brings these topics up.

Once the interview is over, immediately send a thank you note to everyone who interviewed you. Personalize each note (don't think writing the same thing to each person will go unnoticed - these notes generally end up in the same file with whomever is managing the interviews and they will all be read) and be sure to thank the person for their time, reiterate your interest in the company, and make a comment on something you discussed with the person that interested you or add a piece of relevant information about yourself or your skill set that may not have come up in the interview.

Throughout your job search, be sure the email address you use to submit resumes and correspond with prospective employers is professional. If your current, personal email address is "hotmomma" or "sexybabe" or something of the like, create a new account specifically for job-related correspondence. The same goes for your outgoing voice message on your home and/or cell phone (whichever one you will use as your contact number). As adorable as the recording of you and the kids or you and your partner may be, save this for after you have the job and replace it with a recording of just you, stating your name and politely asking the caller to leave a message.

Happy job hunting and good luck!



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