Career Readiness - Tips For Your First Interview

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1) Dress to impress. Your appearance is the very first impression people will see when you walk in for an interview. For potential employers, this is important. We would recommend wearing something semi-formal – a nice blouse or button-down shirt, clean slacks, and dress shoes. You don't have to go overboard, but make sure you don't show up wearing a t-shirt and jeans! For more specialized jobs, make sure you dress with appropriate attire. If you're applying to work in an office environment that requires wearing a suit, then wear a suit! It's like the old saying goes - “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”

2) Arrive early. Without a doubt, this is the second most important factor to acing an interview. At any job, you will be required to show up for work on time for your scheduled shifts. If you're late to a job interview, you might as well forget it – after all, if a potential employer cannot trust you to show up for an interview on time, how can they trust you to arrive on time for work? We recommend getting there at least half an hour early. You may need time for parking, or filling out additional forms prior to the interview process. Simply being punctual shows a lot about your desire to get the job – as well as character and responsibility.

3) Bring at least 3 copies of your résumé. You should always have a résumé, even if the job you applied for already had you enter your information into an online application. Résumés show that you are prepared and professional. Why do we recommend 3 copies? The interviewer will typically look over your resume and begin to ask questions about your work experience. You want to be able to follow along with them – don't be looking over and trying to read their copy upside down! We recommend bringing a third copy simply for safety – sometimes interviews are conducted with two interviewers, or the employer wants an additional copy to keep on file. Having multiple résumés already printed shows motivation and professionalism.

4) Prepare for the interview beforehand. Try to do a bit of research about the position before you find yourself sitting in the interview chair. This goes for any job, but especially for more specific positions. For example, if you're applying to a pet food store, having knowledge of animals and pet ownership is going to give you extra points! For this reason, it's best to apply to jobs that you have a genuine interest in.

5) Smile and make eye contact. Confidence is key during interviews! Make eye contact with your interviewer while answering questions, and don't forget to smile! You want your (hopefully) future employer to see you as a confident, enthusiastic individual that will benefit the rest of the work environment and other employees. Stay positive, and try not to speak too fast – you don't want to seem nervous, but rather comfortable (but also excited for the position).

Good luck out there!

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