The memories of graduation are captured in photos and with a new degree in hand, many college grads are seeking their first ‘real’ job. And while technology has changed and benefited our lives in countless ways, there are a few successful tips your parents used that hold up remarkably well in our digital society. In fact, now that they are rarely used, you can stand out from the crowd with these simple actions. It is entirely possible in this hyper-competitive job market, two or three little acts of extra effort can make the hiring difference between two otherwise identical candidates.
A quick Google search will easily provide many good articles sharing advice on how to prepare for your interview by researching the company, examples of intelligent interview questions and even ideas for telling your personal story. The fact remains, we are social creatures and good interpersonal skills can become a casualty of our digital-only connections. Let’s take a look at seven things you can do to get those job offers rolling in:
1. Bring paper resumes
There is nothing more uncomfortable than being asked right at the beginning of the interview for a resume and you are empty-handed. Carry a simple pad folio with 10 paper resumes tucked inside. If they are not needed, there’s no need to mention them. Most recent college graduates should have a one-page resume.
2. Dress one position up
This rule applies in job interviews and in many future job situations. Even if you are interviewing at a company that wears flip flops and torn board shorts, it’s never a bad idea to wear clean, interview-appropriate apparel. Certainly don’t stand out in a suit and tie, as you will be judged to have not done your research or not be a cultural fit. However, hiring managers are always looking for their next super stars, their next person to promote, even in the initial hiring process. If they can envision you in the role, you’ve hit a home run. Try to figure out what your interviewer will be wearing and match that. This is where time invested in some inside networking can go a long way.
3. Turn off and put away all technology
During a job interview, there is simply no reason you need your phone or computer. The interviewer will keep track of the time. Keeping all technology out of sight sends the message that you are 100% present, engaged and able to communicate well in the conversation. The only exception would be demonstrations, such as showing an online creative portfolio.
4. Stand up and extend your hand when you are introduced to ANYONE
One time-honored show of respect is to stand when meeting someone. In business situations, gender should have no bearing on this practice. And when shaking someone’s hand, be sure to look them straight in the eye and say something simple including stating your name, such as, “John Smith, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
5. Politely ask for business cards of all people you interview with
In your natural nervousness, it is easy to forget the full names of each person who interviews you. If you walk away with their business card, you are easily able to take action on tip number 7 below. Additionally, if the interview process continues, you can research them on LinkedIn to get a better understanding of their background and role within the company.
6. Thank everyone, including the admins who greet you and get you settled
Gratitude is free and common displays of appreciation go a long way toward making a positive impression. No need to go over the top, but make certain you are courteous and kind to all you encounter.
7. Send a hand-written thank you within 24 hours
This simple gesture is a lost art. Imagine the busy executive who on a typical day wades through 100+ emails, stacks of unsolicited mail, invoices or reports. Your professional, simple, hand-written thank you note in this pile of noise is guaranteed to be opened on the day its received.
Try these easy old school interview tips and you’ll be well on your way to securing your new parking spot.