We've included some useful advice that covers everything from interviewing to dressing the part at your workplace.
Interviews can be nerve-wracking, especially since it's your chance to make a lasting impression on the interviewer. Don't worry, though. We have some great tips for you to try in your next interview.
- Do your homework -research the organization and the industry. Check out the company website, articles, social media sites, and any other information you can find. Your knowledge will demonstrate that you care about the position and the organization.
- Dress for success - dressing in professional business attire for your interview displays respect for the interviewer and the organization.
- Arrive on time - tardiness leaves a negative first impression. Know where you are going and leave enough time for unexpected problems, such as parking, traffic, and bad weather.
- Be courteous - shut off your cell phone for the duration of the interview.
- Be engaged - be an active listener and show the interviewer you are focused on them by taking notes, asking questions, and demonstrating positive and confident body language.
- Prepare yourself – think about answers to typical questions an interviewer may ask you, such as areas of improvement, strengths, and examples of how you overcame obstacles. Check out the "Star Method" for valuable techniques to answer behavioral questions on point. Prepare a couple of questions to ask the interviewer.
- Understand body language – use YouTube to watch videos on positive body language to mirror during the interview.
- Honesty is key - always be honest about past job experiences, such as if you were fired from a job.
- Leave a good impression - write a quick email to the interviewer to thank him or her. This simple step will be another way you can stand out.
Writing a Winning Cover Letter & Resume
Googling "how to write a cover letter" will generate tons of different examples and formats. No matter how you decide to approach this task, the basic principles remain the same.
- Keep it brief - a cover letter should never go over one page. The first paragraph should identify what job you are applying for and why you are qualified. Use the second paragraph to outline your skills and experience. Close the third paragraph by asking for an interview.
- It's not about you - remember that you are selling what you can do for the company, not what the company can do for you. Impress your future boss with your company knowledge and how your job and life experience relates to the position responsibilities.
- Proofread - make sure your letter is free of grammatical or spelling errors.
You will likely revise your resume dozens of times during your career. Like a cover letter, there are tons of different formats to try, but here are some tips to try:
- Keep it simple - stay away from fancy fonts or complicated formats. You want to make your resume easy to read.
- Keep it short - do not go beyond two pages. Only showcase relevant experience. Unrelated experience can be listed and explained in further detail if requested.
- Avoid personal information - SINs, photos, age, and marital statuses are not relevant information on your resume.
- Highlight accomplishments - include specific achievements and measurable results for each position you held.
- Take pride in your resume - produce a quality resume free of spelling or grammatical errors.
Social Media & You
It's important to be aware of how you are represented through different social media networks. Prospective employers sometimes screen candidates using these networks to learn about you and determine if you will fit into their corporate culture.
Keep these tips in mind:
- Represent yourself professionally through pictures, posts, and other content.
- Use privacy settings to control who can view your Facebook profile and what people can post on your wall.
- Ensure your LinkedIn profile is accurate and current.
- Keep your social media profiles active.
- Engage with prospective companies through their profiles. Connecting with companies keeps you up to date with their progress and gives you the opportunity to determine if you'd like to work for them.
Decoding the Dress Code
When you begin work, it's important to follow the dress code established at that organization. The three types of dress code are outlined below:
Think of this dress code as the power suit. This means suit and tie for men, and a pant suit or skirt suit for women. Skirts should be at least knee length, with closed-toe shoes. Men should wear dress shoes.
This dress code is more relaxed. While still professional in appearance, employees don't need to wear suits. Women can wear dress pants or skirts (again, at least knee length) with a suitable top such as a blouse, knit top, sweater, or cardigan. Men can wear dress pants with a collared top, polo shirt, or other suitable sweater. Keep in mind that jeans are not allowed unless your organization has a casual day.
Some companies adopt this relaxed dress code, where jeans and t-shirts are allowed. Be aware that a casual dress code is still professional. For example, wearing sweats and a wrinkled t-shirt is a no-no.