People are still fighting for jobs as the US unemployment rate is hovering at 6.3 percent, down from 6.7 percent in April, and the job market just got a little more competitive now that college graduates are leaving school and looking for that perfect first job right out of school.
Here are the top 10 tips to make a great first impression:
- Always arrive on time. This shows that you are a professional. When you arrive late, this shows that you value your time more than everyone else’s time. If you do happen know that you will be late because of unexpected circumstances such as traffic or an accident that is out of your control, make sure you pull over and call the prospective employer about your delay.
- Dress appropriately. There’s nothing more of a turn off to a prospective employer when you don’t dress for the job you want.
- Bring extra resumes, portfolio, tools, etc. It’s always a good idea to bring additional copies of your resume in case there happens to be more than one person on your interview. You want to make you have plenty for everyone that’s in attendance. Don’t forget your portfolio or tools. Prospective employers will want to see your work or have you work on a project or task to see how well you do and fit in with the company.
- Be prepared. Before the job interview, take time to learn everything you can about the company, position, and person who will be conducting the interview. You can read about the company on their website, and if they have one, their LinkedIn page.
- Know your time limit. Some interviewers are so busy that they might have only scheduled 30 minutes to meet you while others might have more time set aside. Make sure you keep your meeting within their time frame.
- Ask questions and take notes. During the interview, you will have a chance to ask their interviewer more about the company and position, mostly, the job responsibilities. When you take notes, it shows that you are interested in the job and want to have a full understanding of the role.
- Present yourself as a solutions provider instead of an applicant. There will be several candidates interviewing and vying for the job you want. To make yourself stand out from your competitors, don’t say why you’re a good applicant. Instead, show the prospective employer with solutions you’ve done in your career. It could be things like how you saved the company X amount of dollars, or reduced spending by X percent, or finished a client’s project under deadline and within budget.
- Connect past success with the prospective company’s needs. Come up with at least three solid past successes that you’ve had in your career that you can share with the interviewer and how those experiences are related and beneficial for their company.
- Speak only in positive terms, especially if you were referred to the job. Nothing’s more of a turn off than speaking negatively during an interview, especially if it’s about the person that referred you to the job.
- Send a follow-up thank you note. Simple gestures we make to connect with people can be forgotten especially in business when the competition is so fierce, so don’t forget to send a thank you note expressing your interest in the position. This is your very last chance to make a great impression and an attempt to tell your interviewer thanks for their time and how much you want to work for them and the company.