It's been no secret that the past few weeks I've been combing through resumes and interviewing possible interns. Honestly, the lack of professional training these people have, most were college graduates, was baffling to me. It could be the whole East Coast versus Texas issue, but I was still in shock that simple things I know to do none of these people were trained on. So, for all of you job seeking, I'm going to give you things you have to do to stick out besides have experience!
1. Be timely. - If you're applying to jobs, you have to respond to emails requesting more information or attempting to schedule an interview with you in a timely manner. For me, this is under 24 hours so be checking your email regularly if you don't have it on your phone.
2. Send follow-up and thank you emails. - If you haven't heard back from someone, sometimes your email might have slipped through the cracks or the time table for hiring has changed, so send a follow-up. These are easy and need to just state you haven't heard from the person and are thoroughly interested in the position so you are following up to see where the hiring process is as you would love to either come in for an in-person interview or whatever. Also, THANK YOU EMAILS ARE ESSENTIAL. If someone conducts any kind of interview whether it be a phone, Skype, in-person or final interview you better send an email thanking that person for their time and the opportunity to show how you are a great fit for the role and company within 48 hours. These are so important. I can't even stress how important these emails are enough.
3. Do NOT show up earlier than 15 minutes. - While it is great to be early, being too early can actually get you negative marks. I always say the earliest you should be is 15 minutes and the latest you should be is five minutes before the scheduled interview time when it is in person. If you have to walk around the lobby or sit in your car and wait in the parking lot to not be overly early, do it.
4. Think before you respond. - I am a fast speaker and tend to not think before I speak unless I'm in a professional setting or in an interview. If your response or statement comes out jumbled, many interviewers will mark that negatively against you so take the time to think about what you want to say. While a few seconds of silence on your part may seem like eternity, your interviewer will appreciate a thoughtful answer and view you in a positive light.
5. Have a firm handshake. - While this might seem silly, it's important. People view handshakes as extensions of personalities so if your handshake is weak, sweaty or limp, you are viewed as not a confident person. This can get you negative marks you really don't want.
6. Have at least four printed copies of your resume. - When you walk into an interview, sometimes it is with more than one person, I always have at least four hard-copies of my resume. If it is with just one person then you have a copy for that person, yourself and two extras. You will almost never have more than three people interviewing you at a time so four is pretty safe number. Having hard copies is important because it shows you're prepared in case the interviewer didn't have time to print or left it somewhere. Being prepared is not only essential, it's part of being professional. People want to hire people who can get the job done and having your resume is a sign you are that kind of person.