e-Career

Making a Great Impression

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Employers are observing everything from your appearance to how you interact with support staff to how you conduct yourself in the waiting area (save those phone calls to your best friend Keisha for after the interview!) It is crucial that you make a great impression.

 

Big brother is watching

Let’s say you are going in to interview for an after-school-office assistant position at a local law firm. You walk into the office and you are greeted by a receptionist who asks, “How can I help you?” What do you do?

The first thing you need to remember is that the person interviewing you is not the only one whose opinion matters. In this situation, the receptionist is acting as the eye and ears of the organization. If she reports that you handled yourself inappropriately in the waiting area or were mean and rude to her, this can mess up your chances. That’s why it’s important to be professional and cordial to everyone you meet.

When you walk into an interview you must announce yourself and inform the greeter who it is you are there to see. Do this by saying: “My name is, I have a 6PM appointment with Mr. Johnson.” Then you will be asked to sit down and wait while your interviewer is informed of your arrival. Remember to be professional even while you are waiting. It is best to just sit quietly and wait to be called upon. If you must move around, browse the items in the reception area. Often this is where a company will display is awards and certification, and you may see something that you want to ask about during the interview.

The Handshake

The handshake is part of the first impression that you make. A poor handshake speaks volumes about your confidence level and personality. Avoid these first impression-killing handshakes:

The importance of the handshake:

  • The Fingertip Shake: Shows lack of an ability to engage.
  • The Arm Pump: Suggests insincerity and phoniness, like an overly aggressive salesman.
  • The Squeeze-Till-It-Hurts: Comes across as overly competitive and domineering. Plus, it hurts.

When you meet the interviewer, you will have the opportunity to shake hands. Your handshake should be firm, quick and confident, but not overpowering. The motion of the shake is up-and-down NOT back-and-forth. A handshake should only last between 1-3 seconds. Allow the other person to release hands first.

Making Eye Contact

The interview isn’t just a time to talk about your qualifications for the position. It is also an opportunity to connect with the other person and make them realize that they would enjoy working with you. Eye contact is crucial to making that connection.

The secret to great eye contact is knowing how to give just the right amount. Too much can make you seem confrontational. Too little can make you seem unconfident. You need to find the perfect balance.

Maintain eye contact when you shake the interviewer’s hand. During the interview, stay focused and don’t look away when you are answering tough interview questions. Some people move their eyes toward the ceiling or to the side when they are thinking. Try to avoid looking away from the person during a job interview. This can be misinterpreted as a sign of lying.

If you have trouble maintaining eye contact, try practicing with a friend.

Body Language On The Interview

Body language is a form a non-verbal communication. Many interviews fail because of ineffective nonverbal communication. Here’s what you need to watch out for:

  • Facial Expressions. Before you head to the interview, take a good, long, hard look at yourself in the mirror. Examine how your face looks when it is “at rest.” Sullen, confused, or even mildly hysterical expressions don’t exactly inspire confidence. Don’t forget to add a smile! A genuine smile lets the interviewer know that you are happy to be there.
  • Posture. Stand tall, walk tall, and most of all, sit tall. Posture signals confidence.
  • Gestures. Don’t use artificial gestures to try to heighten the importance of a topic during the interview. When you do use gestures, make sure they are natural and meaningful.

Impress Yourself

Landed your first summer job? Now I’m going to let you know what you need to do to keep it.

We have all experienced the desire to earn our own money so we can buy those shoes at Traffic, the outfit from Seal, that purse from Macy’s without the limits set by our parents. So what is the cure for this? We seek summer employment, and now you’ve landed your first summer job, how do you keep it? In today’s competitive workforce it is best to have the inside scoop on how to keep and maintain a professional working relationship with your employer. From a manager’s point of view here are some key points to help you out.

  • Be on time. There is nothing more important than being on time. If you are assigned to the first shift your day goes smoother when you have time to prepare for the beginning of the day. You don’t rush in hoping someone will cover your responsibility until you get there. If you are working the second shift be considerate of the person you are replacing. They may have an appointment after work.
  • Dress appropriately. Your work attire should be discussed during your interview or hire. Whether you are in uniform or not always, always be clean. Maintain a neat hairstyle or haircut. Never wear anything revealing. Ladies pull your blouses up; Gents pull your pants up.
  • Put those electronic devices away. Cellphones and iPods need to be stored out of your work area and used during your break. There is nothing more annoying than having an employee trying to (WWT) Work While Texting. You loose focus, leave room for mistakes, and it slows down productivity. If you are working in a customer service capacity it makes the customer feel ignored and that could cost you a sale.
  • Keep your business, your business. Don’t discuss your personal life at work. This cuts off the “he say, she say” which could leave room for gossip and uncomfortable feelings down the road. Keep it professional.
  • Hold your head up and be proud. No matter what position you have landed always take pride in every position you hold. When you embrace what you have been hired for you show your ability to move up and take on greater responsibility. This can one day lead to management. Be creative, inspiring, and work hard.
  • Don’t burn your bridges. Always leave a positive impression. If you enjoy your job and it is only for the summer inquire about working part-time during the school year, and request to be hired next summer. This is a summer job try not to call in.(You are working for about six weeks) If you don’t like your job, don’t just walk off. Give a letter of resignation. It will leave the door open for future opportunities. You never know if you have to pass that way again.

Summer employment, with the proper attitude and training, can equip you with the skills to always maintain employment for life.

Resources:
The Importance Of The Handshake
Making Eye Contact
Body Language On The Interview
How to Keep Your Summer Job

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