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Getting The Edge: Interviewing For Success In “The New Normal”

Posted by iCarryalls on 9/3/2014 to Other

Your LinkedIn profile is perfect. Your resume is printed on high-quality paper and in a font designed to show your updated technical skills while remaining readable and classic. Your references are impeccable, and your phone interview went off without a hitch. You are on the inside track for a job that will prove to your family and friends why risking all the debt of student loans mattered.

You’ve gotten the call or the email; they want you in for a physical interview. In many cases, this means the company will be flying you in to corporate headquarters to meet with whichever V.P. or department head to which you’ll be reporting. It won’t include an overnight stay, and you’ll have limited time at best to refresh yourself prior to the interview. In short, you need to come off the plane un-rumpled, rested, and like you’re ready to take on the position the moment you walk in the door.

It is impossible to overestimate the importance of the intangible of the first impression, especially in the internet age. Human resource professionals know that candidates can represent themselves however they choose via email and phone. If you’ve made it through all of the hoops leading up to the in-person interview, you must be prepared to wow the person across the desk, and appearance plays a huge role in that.

It is absolutely essential that you treat looking for a job as a job itself. As such, investing in your product, you, is also essential. It may seem frivolous to think about hairstyles or accessories when job-hunting, but it is not. The interviewer may not even be able to articulate what made one candidate seem more professional than another, but often it is the difference of knowing how to look like you already have the job.

How do you do that? How do you come off the plane not looking like you came off an over-packed flight of business travelers, and as if you don’t desperately need the job? Follow the tips below to gain the edge of the first impression over your competition.

Find a hairstyle that’s low-maintenance and fashionable, and invest in a trim every two months. This will make sure you don’t have to spend a small fortune at the salon before the meeting. Learn how to do a decent basic manicure on your own, or invest in a professional one before you leave.

If you can only afford one good suit, make it the best suit you can afford. One of the best things about the new normal is that second hand and consignment shops abound, as do clothing swaps online and even clothing rentals! Purchase the highest quality suit you can and have it tailored; no one but you will ever know if you bought it second-hand. The same goes for your shirt/blouse, tie, etc. Even shoes can be bought consignment for pennies on the dollar, and many designer items can be found.

Keep it simple, however. Classic business style is about the quality of the items and the ease with which they go together. Keep the overly bright colors and patterns for your casual wear. For your interview look you need to remember you’re dressing for the job you want. Find a wristwatch that matches your business style, they’re fashionable again and send a subtle message that while you may be a child of the smartphone age, you value tradition.

The same goes for your portfolio, briefcase, and even your luggage. The messenger bag that’s served as your carry –all for years is not what you take into an interview situation. The investment you make in a durable, classic leather bag will provide years of use once you land the job.

When on the plane, do not wear your jacket. Instead, lay it across the luggage in the overhead compartment, once everyone’s placed their bags in. If there’s no room, fold the jacket lengthwise and lay it across your lap for the trip. The key to not looking tired off the plane is hydration. Drink plenty of water and avoid too much caffeine before and on the plane. Alcohol is a big no-no. It dehydrates you. Also, avoid the salted peanuts; they can cause you to bloat.

Women, don’t apply make-up before you get on the plane, just moisturize. Wait until you’re at your destination, and then take a few minutes to apply primer, foundation, and all the rest. The same goes for contact lenses. Don’t put them in until you’ve landed. A fresh face says more than you know. Everyone should re-apply deodorant prior to the interview as well.

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