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Interview Etiquette

How To Snag Your First Job

Preparing for your first job interview out of college can be a scary experience, but it’s important to have a plan and show up ready to impress. Many employers today feel that the majority of the individuals they interview are ill prepared for the professional world and come in wearing inappropriate clothing or don’t speak well, so being respectful and ready for the business world is half the battle.

You may feel that school did little to prepare you for obtaining your first job, so it will be up to you to figure out the best way to get ready. This might include having mock interviews with a friend, or talking to an older peer who has some experience with it. Think about your strengths and weaknesses and come up with a game plan on how you’ll answer the interview questions.

Here are some of the best tips on how to prepare for your first job interview.

Dress to impress
Having the right wardrobe can make a huge difference when it comes to getting your dream job. You don’t have to spend a ton of money; a basic pair of black or navy slacks, a white or blue button-down shirt, a black skirt that comes to the knee, a nice sweater, and a tie are some of the best classic pieces to build your professional wardrobe around. Your hair should be well-kept and styled in an understated way; makeup should be business professional (no outrageous colors
on the eyes or lips). The right shoes can make an outfit, so look for a comfy but classic pair in a dark color. Blue jeans, tight shirts or skirts, pants that are too short, and shirts without a tie are all no-nos. Remember, you only have one chance to make a first impression.

For more info on what employers are looking for, read on here.

Leave your phone at home
It may seem unthinkable to leave your phone behind in this age of constant newsfeed updates, but it doesn’t belong in a job interview. If you must bring it, leave it in the car, or turn it off  before putting it in your pocket and leave it there. No employer wants to think that you’re not taking the interview seriously, but that’s exactly what will happen if you’re distracted by your notifications.

Work on eye contact
Just as important as what you wear is your ability to make eye contact, smile, give a firm handshake, and speak in a professional, engaged manner. Think of some questions you’d like to ask about the job and the company, and do some research on the company’s history so you’ll sound informed. Doing a bit of homework can really impress the interviewer, because it shows that you put time into the process.

Be a good listener
Pay close attention to everything your interviewer says; after all, it’s a waste of time for both of you if you don’t. If he answers a question you had in your notes, mark through it so you don’t make him repeat himself. Allow him to finish talking before you ask any questions. Take notes as you go; this also shows the interviewer that you’re taking the situation seriously. Remember that the interview process goes both ways; not only are you making an impression on your potential employer, but he’s making one on you. If you feel the job isn’t right for you, don’t cut the interview short; stay for the duration and thank the interviewer for their time. You may decide at a later date to pursue the job, so you don’t want to burn that bridge.