Valdosta Daily Times

February 3, 2013

Dummy proof job interview tips

Brittany D. McClure
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — The most important aspect of sustaining your finances is establishing a steady source of income. If you’re like me, your steady source was swiftly shut off after you graduated college and got married. Seriously, in the time it took me to change my last name on my driver’s license, my parents bought two Volvos and vacationed in Key West, Fla. It was like they were waiting on it or something!

Thus, I had to enter the real world and get a job. However, I have various friends and relatives who are on the brink of graduation and are starting to send me “911” texts because they are coming into the realization that they are going to be flat broke with $60,000 of student loan debt in about three months. Suckers.

So, because I’m trying to conserve my phone battery and because I’m incredibly lazy and lack any initiative to comply with requests of becoming a mentor, here is my broad-based help on how to get a job.

1. Dress for success.

No, you shouldn’t pull a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and wear the most glamorous outfit in your closet, but you should remain professional.

My advice, for the ladies, keep it simple and sleek. Wear a nice pant suit or a tailored-like dress. Don’t wear statement jewelry, just some stud earrings and maybe a watch. If you got a tore-up purse, buy a new one or don’t take one. Also, make sure your hair is fixed neatly in an updo, or down and out of your face. Polish your nails, wash your face, and most importantly, wear a smile.

For the men, wear a suit if you have one. The quintessential “interview suit” is gray with a sky-blue shirt and red tie, but really, any color combo you have is fine so long as it’s not something wild like purple and green. Keep it clean and simple. Make sure your hair is freshly cut, your  face is freshly shaved and your nails are clean and short.

2. Make sure to mind your Ps and Qs.

You never know who will hear and see you when you approach a business for an interview. Treat every person you interact with as if they were your interviewer. Often times, employers will ask secretaries about your demeanor while you waited. Were you polite? Did you sigh? Did you roll your eyes?

Also, leave your cell phone in the car! Don’t walk in talking or texting, it just gives a red flag and screams: “I will do this on the job.”

3. This is the only time you should brag.

I know your mom has taught you to be humble and not to brag, but this is the one time that you should. Don’t by any means be cocky, but talk yourself up. If you don’t have a lot of work experience, talk about your positive attributes. Are you easy to get along with? Are you organized? Do you have drive and ambition? If you don’t know why you are right for the job, then your employer won’t either. Also, ask questions. It lets the employer know that you have researched the position and that you are interested. However, don’t torture your interviewer with long, rambling, repetitive answers. Remember, your employer actually has a job other than interviewing you.

4. Follow up.

After an interview, you should send the employer a follow-up email. In the email, thank them for the opportunity, review some of the positive points you made about yourself in the interview, and most importantly, at the end, state emphatically that you really want the job.

5. Appear strong.

Not only do you have to talk a big game, but you have to play one, too. Make sure your posture is tall and straight, your eye contact is consistent and always start and end the interview with a handshake. Despite your age, you should always refer to the interview as a Mr. or Ms.

6. Don’t lie or bash.

Sure, you may have had some bumps in the road, but don’t lie. If you were fired from your previous job, have a pre-organized answer to explain yourself. Sometimes, showing how you picked yourself up from defeat is your biggest champion in an interview. Also, when you’re asked why you left a job, never, ever, ever, ever bash your old boss or colleagues. It just makes you look like a difficult person to work with.

For some of you, this seems like common sense, but you would be surprised the horror stories I’ve heard. One time, an employer told me that a person turned a resume in with a picture of a rose on it and with the contact email of hotsugarmama@[edited out for privacy]. Seriously, why shoot yourself in the foot before you even get an interview? Chances are with those credentials, you’re going to have a pretty hard time in there as it is.

Well, budgeteers, I hope this helped some of you or even someone you know. Don’t forget, you can share these articles on Facebook where hopefully, you have liked me by now at Also, follow me on Twitter @VDT_Brittany.

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