1) Ensure your Resume/Cover Letter is accurate: Spend that extra time to ensure there are no typos or spelling mistakes. You probably say you “pay attention to details” – nothing gets your Resume/Cover Letter thrown into the garbage than disproving your statements with errors. Hey, if you can’t bother to watch what you send out when you have time, what will you be like in meeting deadlines?
2) Be honest but tactful about gaps in your Resume: Don’t pretend you didn’t have a gap, but use a positive spin on what you did during that time. If the problem was you couldn’t find work – well, what were you doing during that time? Exercising? Networking? Trying to find work? Then say you used that time for self-improvement – but do be prepared to tell the potential employer how. Hopefully you DID attend a seminar or two from the employment center, and that does look favorable on you!
3) What you wear to the interview IS important – but don’t overdress: Always aim for neat, clean and tidy. Business suits are still good, even if you are going for a warehouse job – it shows you feel the interview is important enough to dress for it. DO NOT wear evening attire though, and careful on the jewelry (yes, both guys and gals) and cologne – many offices do have a “scent-free” workplace to accommodate those with allergies. This doesn’t mean you can’t wear any perfume, but just go light and easy.
4) Be prepared: No, I’m not going to tell you to “expect the unexpected” – if you could do that, it wouldn’t be unexpected, would it? But come prepared to the interview with at least two copies of the Resume and Cover Letter you sent in to that company – while most likely the interviewers will have already printed out a copy, it shows you are prepared; and more often than not, one of the interviewers has forgotten a copy – so you can just hand it over.
Be prepared with two copies of your Reference List as well, and be prepared with a Summary Skill Sheet (this is for you, to help keep you on track, but you can also share it with the interviewers, as it does work nicely as a summary to you, and a great reminder of who you are.
5) Be positive: No one wants to hire a sad-sack. No matter how bad your day is going; no matter how bad the drive to the interview was; no matter how bad the interview may be going – keep your attitude positive. Not bubbly – that could be taken as fake. But by being pleasant and positive, you’ll find you’ll at least feel better – and that will showcase you as someone they want to hire for that company!
6) Be Yourself: No matter how much advice anyone gives you, you must decide which piece you need to attend to, and which ones to throw out. Nope, I don’t wear the advised “blue suit” to my business meetings, even with IBM! I do wear what I feel I look good in, and I know because I feel good, that I will look good! And that “positiveness” will show.