How to get a real job

A firm handshake. Good eye contact. A business suit and a confident smile. Those are some of the tried and true tips passed along to generations of first-time interviewers. But in this day and age of relaxed dress codes and video screenings, what does a job seeker really need to know about interviewing? Experts say the basics still apply, but that old school awareness is now joined by other considerations. Job seekers need to be tech savvy and have great interpersonal skills to stand out from the crowd.  

5 tips for first time interviewees:

1. Match resumé key words with job requirements

Employers often complain they receive loads of resumés that don’t seem to jibe with what they’re looking for, which suggests that applicants either aren’t qualified, or they’re not structuring their resumés to showcase relevant skills. According to indeed.com, job seekers should always read the qualifications listed for a position carefully, and include similar keywords to detail their experience before posting.

2. Dress appropriately

Sure, more workplaces enable employees to dress down, but that doesn’t mean you should arrive at an interview in jeans and a T-shirt … even in a field that would ultimately allow it in the workplace. According to the LSU Olinde Career Center, job seekers should arrive at a face-to-face interview well-groomed and in “professional attire,” no matter what the dress code of the office may be.

3. Practice answering questions

Employers tend to pose the same types of questions to entry level interviewees, so a quick Google search or a trip to a career services center will reveal the kinds of questions you may be asked. Practice responding clearly and concisely to a friend or mentor. Employers are trying to learn about your ability to lead, take the initiative, get along with colleagues and work hard, so think of examples from school or work that reveal these skills.

4. Take time to prepare for video interviews

A growing number of first-time interviews are conducted via Skype or an equivalent video program, or through a video portal that invites interviewees to respond to pre-recorded questions. Make sure the setting is quiet and free of distracting noises or backgrounds. Dress well and make sure your connection and equipment are functioning properly before the interview starts.

5. Send a thank-you note

Make a point of asking for the business card of the person interviewing you, so you can send a personal, handwritten thank-you note demonstrating your appreciation of their time. This can go a long way in helping you stand out from your competitors, and it’s just plain good manners. 

BY MAGGIE HEYN RICHARDSON

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