Tips For Landing That Job

Jeff HinkleJeff Hinkle is the Assistant Art Director at WCIU-TV. He was one of the panelists at our 2013 Career Day event, held April 6 at Columbia College.

Your resume is typed up. Your cover letter is a thing of beauty. Your references are glowing. Everything naughty is off your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Now the only thing standing between you and that coveted job is the interview. But before you find yourself in the Chair of Many Questions, there’s a few things you should keep in mind.

Dress The Part:That old saw about first impressions and second chances is true. I often see people coming in for an interview looking like they’re on their way to grab some brews with the bros. Guys, seriously, break out the suit and tie. Ladies, you have more options, but a business suit is still your best bet. You want to be seen as a professional; dress like one.

Do Some Research: Yes, an interview is primarily to gauge your skill set and see how you’d fit with the company, but at some point they’re going to ask if you have any questions. Have some. Go online beforehand and familiarize yourself with their products. Ask the interviewer about her career and training. Show some interest and initiative. You’ll look much better than the fellow who only asks about how much vacation time he gets.

Lose the Ego:There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. So many applicants have this entitled attitude, like they’re doing the company a huge favor by merely showing up for the interview. If I’m choosing between two applicants of roughly equal skill level, I’ll take the person with the positive, pleasant attitude every time. I’ll even take a slightly less-skilled applicant over one who’s highly skilled but impossible to work with. Skills can be taught, but attitude can’t.

Remember Me? A couple days after the interview, send a letter to the interviewer, thanking him for his time and the opportunity. Include your contact information again with an offer to get in touch with you if they have any further questions. It shows follow-through and helps them to remember you. And don’t call repeatedly to pester them about the decision. Trust me, when they know, you’ll know.

Remember, a diploma is not a get-a-job-free card; it merely unlocks the door. Once you’re through, it’s up to you to convince them you’re the person for the job. The more professional impression you make, the better your odds of making the cut.

And showing up with donuts doesn’t hurt either.

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