Thursday, May 14, 2015

Career Advice: Preparing for the Interview

First Person: Three Important Steps In Preparing for the Interview

Following the Right Steps to Get the Job You Want

For over twenty years as an etiquette professional, I’ve trained countless job seekers.  Not much has changed in those decades, except our expanded use of technology.   Today, we can apply for a job using Social networking sites, such as LinkedIn.  We commonly use an email program to contact an organization’s HR department.  Additionally, we live on our cell phones.  Many times, we use these electronic appendages to reply to those HR departments and recruiters.  Some of those calls and emails could be the difference between a future job and a trip to the unemployment office.   

Hence, it would benefit all job seekers to follow a few of my suggestions.   

Consider how you use your phone. 

Sure, texting is fast and convenient.  However, it’s not the best method to use for answering emails from a recruiter or anyone else who may be trying to assist you in your job hunt.  These replies should appear professional and well thought-out.  Therefore, it is best to reply to those messages with a proper email program on a computer. 

Additionally, consider what impression you are sending those who call you.  It’s a no-brainer to wear your best attire to an interview.  So, why not dress-up your voicemail greeting?  Instead of, “Hey, dude, this is John, shoot me a message.”   It may be better to state, “You’ve reached the phone of John Martinez.  Please leave me a message, including your phone number and best time I may reach you, and I will return your call very soon.” 

Clean up your social media profiles 

Allow me to tell you a little story--true, of course.  One of my young friends interviewed for a position in a top Fortune 500 company.  She was perfect for the job, as her previous position was very similar.  For this type of position, there were a series of interviews, which she sailed through nicely.  However, within a week after her final interview, she received notice that the job was not hers.  Why? The hiring manager searched the Internet for her profiles and found some questionable pictures, some with a negative connotation for someone who would be representing a high-profile company.  

The lesson here?  Review all social media profiles and view them as someone else might. Remove any pictures and posts that include alcohol, partying and anything too personal.  Remove all political and religious posts.  Contact all friends and family informing them of your focus.  Ask them to refrain from “tagging” you in their pictures.  

Remember, your online presence is part of your brand.  Make it work for you, not against you! 

Your email represents who you are

Ask yourself.  Does your email address reflect the image you want an employer to see? probably won’t cut it, unless you want to sell beer.   Therefore, it is vitally important to create a business-like email account address using your first and last name. 
Additionally, send only well-written emails with good grammar and punctuation.   Always remember, everything you do and say reflects who you are. Consider that all your actions speak loudly.  Ask yourself, how you want to be perceived and then work toward making sure you represent that perception.