Let’s address the elephant in the room: it’s a pretty bad time to be a job hunter. With the national unemployment rate at 7.6% and many business and organizations still keeping their purse strings tight, it can take a lot to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Whether you’re looking for a career in Austin or a temp agency Orange, the market is competitive. Do your best to make a great first impression with these quick interview tips:
1. Come prepared: you’re hopefully applying to this company for a reason (and not just to pay the bills). Show them how interested you are by doing some research ahead of time to learn more about them and what they do. What are they proud of as a company? What is important to them (and how can you deliver)? You should come prepared to ask some questions as well, but make them thoughtful. Not “how much vacation do I get,” but “why do you love working for this company?”
2. Dress the part: you wouldn’t show up for an interview at a fast food restaurant in a three-piece suit, so you shouldn’t show up for an interview at a Fortune 500 company in jeans. Until you know what the work culture is like, it’s a good rule of thumb to keep it business casual. A nice, button-down shirt and slacks, maybe even a tie, can make you look presentable and mature. For situations like applying at a temp agency in Orange, it can be important to dress this way because you may not even know what type of job you’re applying for!
3. Follow up: if you really want to be unforgettable, make yourself stand out from a crowd of thank-you emails with a handwritten card sent a day after the interview. Everyone likes to feel that their time was appreciated, and opening a physical card from the mail proves the point that you truly did enjoy getting to meet with the employer. Make sure you express your interest and why you feel that you are an especially great fit after getting to learn more about the position and the organization.
Times are hard, but through following a few tips, you can give yourself an edge over the countless other people in the job market today. Best of luck – knock ‘em dead!
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