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I’m back with more tips on how to crush your interviews!

Let’s talk about appropriate body language in an interview. I know that this may be a surprising topic because you wouldn’t normally think there is much to it, but it’s something everyone needs to be mindful of. Not thinking about your body language during the interview could cost you the job if someone else performed better.

First Impressions

Sit up straight! In an interview, your potential employer is evaluating everything about you – not just your work experience. Do make sure you’re sitting up straight. It makes you look more engaged in the conversation and implies that you care about how you are perceived. Also, nodding your head and smiling at appropriate times is another way to show you are listening and retaining the information you are being given.

Things to Avoid

In an interview you should never be slumped back in your chair, looking around the room as if anything and everything else is more interesting than what the interviewer has to say. Also make sure your arms aren’t crossed, as that will make you seem uninterested in being there. Finally – and this should go without saying – lose the cell phone. If you have a cell phone out at any point during the interview (unless it was asked of you) it automatically sets the tone that the interview you are in is less important to you than your phone.

Having appropriate body language in an interview is not that hard, it is just something you need to be mindful of beforehand. If you come to the interview with respect for the interviewer and the company, then the body language will follow. It’s a small part of the interview to think about, but an important one nonetheless.

Written By: Madison Wilson

When you submit a resume for a position, it is the first impression that the hiring manager will have of you. It’s imperative that you make sure that it reflects the best of what you’ve done, and is clear and easy to read.

Start with Experience

When creating your resume you should begin with all relevant experience. You can choose to place your jobs in order of relevance or recency. Both are acceptable, but you may find that ordering your positions by recency may place your most relevant experience lower down. When hiring managers are glancing over your resume, they may pass over the most relevant experience if it doesn’t show up higher up on your resume. Placing your positions in order of relevance will ensure that hiring managers see them.

Use Bullet Points

The hiring manager will be going through an excessive amount of resumes for the position you apply for. If you’re rambling on in full paragraphs about what you accomplished, your resume will not get read. Be sure to utilize bullet points to discuss responsibilities, outcomes, or data. It’s much easier to read when there are hundreds of resumes that the hiring manager is looking at. It also leaves room for you to expand on the information in your interview. If you tell the hiring manager everything about your position before you’ve interviewed, you’ll sound like you’re just repeating your resume.

Clean Formatting

Gathering all the information that you need on your resume may seem like a lot. But when you break it down into a format, it looks much cleaner. At the very top of your resume, you should have your information: name, address, email, phone number. Then you should go into your experience – in the order that makes sense for you. Following your experience, you should include any education you’ve had – college, high school, or trade school is important to note for your position. At the bottom you should list any awards or achievements you have received or volunteer work that you’ve done.

Whatever you send in will help determine whether or not you get the interview. Keeping your resume organized, relevant, and to the point will help the hiring manager see that you’re someone to interview further.

5 General Tips

  1. Keep it to one page
  2. Use data where you can
  3. Leave yourself talking points for the interview
  4. Keep it relevant
  5. Spell check, spell check, spell check!

Written By: Sarah Poore

I stumbled upon this quote recently, “everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Leo Tolstoy.

What it Means for Me

To become a true leader and overall better person, I have to start making changes for myself. It’s great that I want to do something to try to change the world, or at the very least someone else’s world. However, it should begin with improving myself first. You have to be very self aware to understand that sometimes it is more important to change yourself than to try to change others or their lives. I’ve taken this as a challenge professionally and have begun to teach myself search engine optimization (SEO). Not only will this go toward bettering the company because I have more knowledge, it will also help my career path. I’m working on my professional self because I believe it’s an area I have opportunity for growth in.

What it Means for You

This may mean the same thing for you, or you may already know that sometimes it’s better to work to develop yourself before you start developing others. Maybe this will spark an interest in learning more about your profession or doing something to advance yourself. If it sparks an interest personally, maybe you can take steps to improve your life. Always be thinking about how to advance yourself in this little game called life.

What it Means for Your Company

From a company perspective, it’s something to take under consideration for professional development. Maybe you encourage people to do things that would make them better workers or better prepared for their career path. It doesn’t always have to be done internally, but can be encouraged through flexible schedules to offer time to do such, allowing professional development during the workday, or even paying for any costs associated with professional development. Barracuda Staffing has been incredibly supportive in my efforts to teach myself SEO and they know they’ll see a return on that investment in me. Investing in employees creates a positive culture that will offer benefits for the company in the end.

This quote can truly be taken multiple ways, and I think the thought behind it is going to allow for people to become better leaders so that eventually they may be able to change the world. Just remember, sometimes the only person’s life you need to change is yours.

Written By: Sarah Poore

It may seem self-explanatory that these things are not interview attire, but let’s go over them anyway.

Excessive Perfume or Cologne

Put the bottle down, or else you might suffocate your interviewer. While you don’t want to smell bad, a thorough shower should be enough. There’s no need for seventeen spritzes of your favorite perfume or cologne. If you insist on wearing it, spray it once in front of you and walk through it. Also be sure to do this with enough time for some of it to dissipate so that it’s not strong enough to choke someone.

Low Cut Shirts

Low cut shirts have no place in your interview wardrobe. It’s inappropriate and unprofessional to show up to an interview in a low cut shirt. A slight v-neck or crew neck is much more appropriate for interviews.

Excessively Tight Clothing

Put the leggings and leather pants down. While it’s important to wear form fitting clothes, excessively tight clothing is unnecessary. It’s unprofessional to show up in clothing that looks like it’s cling wrapped to your body.

Leggings

I touched on this in the excessively tight clothing, but it also deserves a category for itself. Leggings are incredibly comfortable and may be the closest thing to black slacks that you own, but don’t wear them to an interview. If you’re still looking for comfort, look for pull on dress pants or ponte pants.

Sweatpants

It’s probably self explanatory that wearing sweatpants to an interview is never appropriate unless it’s a phone interview, but we’ll go through it anyway. Do not wear sweatpants. Sweatpants are for anything but work. Wear them whenever you want except for to an interview or work, please.

T-Shirts

Another comfort item, t-shirts are another unacceptable interview piece. Once you get back from the interview, sure, throw on that t-shirt from 2005. Don’t wear it to your interview. A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t wear it to work generally, don’t wear it to your interview. And if you have questions on that, ask before the interview.

Pajamas

It isn’t a sleepover. Leave the pajamas at home, and get dressed. If you show up to your interview in pajamas, your interviewer will more than likely laugh you out the door if they even let you in.

Anything Too Revealing

It’s inappropriate, distracting, and unprofessional wearing anything that you can see your underwear. No one in the workplace needs to see what you have on underneath your clothes. Keep it underneath and invisible.

Unkempt Hair

You don’t need to look like you have just left a professional salon to avoid having unkempt looking hair. Brush it, style it the way that you like it, put it in a ponytail, put product in it, however you do it to keep your hair looking neat. Don’t show up looking like a yeti.

Over-sized Clothing

Just as much as you shouldn’t wear excessively tight clothing, you shouldn’t wear potato sacks either. Stick to something form fitting, your size, or even tailored for you. A baggy dress shirt is better than a t-shirt, but still doesn’t look good to interviewers.

If you have any specific questions on what you should wear to your interview, ask when you set up the interview. If you can’t get a clear answer, dress a little nicer. It’s never as embarrassing to be a little overdressed than to be underdressed.

Written By: Sarah Poore

Interviews can be rough, draining, and stressful. Between you and me, here are 5 things that I made sure to do in each interview that made me more prepared.

Be Early

It’s very easy to get stressed out when you see minutes ticking away as you sit in your car stuck in traffic. If you plan to leave early, you can avoid the stress of seeing those minutes pass and counting the number you have left before your interview starts. Make sure to leave yourself enough time to get ready for your interview so you can leave early. Showing up early will also show the interviewer that you’re interested and committed. If you find that you’re there a bit too early, take time to sit and calm yourself before the interview. Building your confidence before you walk in will help if you get nervous. So take some time to sit in your car or somewhere outside the business and calm yourself and go over your qualifications. Staying calm and confident and showing up early will help you in your next interview.

Keep the Phone Away

We’re glued to our phones. Young and old, we feel connected to the world via the little (or in some cases large) cellular device in our pocket or purse. It may seem like a big ask, but leaving the phone in your pocket or purse will help you focus on your interview. You can take it out if you need a location or phone number for references if it asks on an application, but if you don’t have to fill anything out – leave it alone.

Body Language

We’ve all heard it, stand up tall, sit up straight, use a firm handshake, make good eye contact. All of these are great things to do in your interview, just be sure to avoid overdoing it or showing negative body language. Crossing your arms may come off as disinterested. Sitting back in your chair may come off as too relaxed. Too much eye contact can be uncomfortable, and too little can be concerning for the interviewer. Finding a happy medium on eye contact is important so that you can show that you’re listening without making the interviewer uncomfortable. Your handshake can help you or hurt you as well. If you have a loose, sloppy handshake it starts the interview off on the wrong note. You don’t want to have a vice grip on your interviewer’s hand either. Have a firm, brief handshake that shows you mean business.

Questions

Asking questions is one of the best ways to show your interest in a company. Having questions prepared about the position, company, and interviewer shows that you’ve prepared for this. Be sure to ask about what the typical day looks like, your responsibilities, how you succeed in the position, what the trajectory for the position is, etc. Asking questions about the company does not mean that you haven’t done any research on the company. Be sure to ask about any awards they have received, how the business is growing, the company culture, etc. Make sure that you don’t forget your interviewer though. Ask where they started, how they’ve progressed in the company, any tips they have for someone starting there, why they continue to work there, what drew them to the company, etc. This shows that you’ve taken a personal interest in the person who sat down to speak with you, and can help you build a professional relationship with that person.

Follow Up/Thank You

Just as asking questions can help you build a professional relationship, so can your follow up. After the interview, take the time to thank your interviewer for their time and for further explaining more about the position and company. Include some things that you spoke about that you believe was unique to your interview and conversation to jog their memory. Be sure to do this within one to two days of the interview – unless you interview on a Friday, then send something on Monday. It will not only remind them of your interview, it will also make them feel appreciated. Reminding them of your interview and showing your appreciation can help you in their decision making process.

These are just five categories where you can improve your interview. Adopting these methods made me feel like I was a better candidate, and helped me land my job today. You can also apply some of these to phone interviews which can be just as important in the hiring process. Use these tips, and you should be good to go on your next interview! Hope it goes well!

Written By: Sarah Poore

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