In honor of Labor Day weekend and having recently secured a job of my own, I want today’s post to be tips for interviews and jobs that I think are fairly universal no matter where you work. I hope you will find these useful, and you may even have a few of your own.
- Be early– Leave before you need to. You never know what kind of traffic you will encounter. So account for any possible accidents AND be early. It makes a good impression when you’re on time.
- Dress well– Jeans are not appropriate for an interview. Slacks, khakis, a skirt, or a dress are all fine. Wear a nice shirt and a blazer if you have one. Single-colored shoes. How you dress will speak volumes to interviewers.
- Have a firm handshake– Your handshake is your first impression. There is no second chance. Be sure your handshake is firm, but not so much that you hurt the person with whom you are shaking hands. On the other hand, you do not want to be limp either.
- Sit up (or stand) straight– Do not slouch. Your posture speaks.
- No adjustments– Once you find a comfortable position (being mindful of your posture), stay there. I know for me, it is hard to sit still at times, but it needs to be done.
- Make eye contact– Whether you are being interviewed by one person or ten, make eye contact with everyone in the room. My boss told me how another girl they interviewed for the job I have just sat there and avoided eye contact. Be sure you address everyone in the room and understand that they are observing how you react.
- Speak slowly and think before you respond– When I was being interviewed for that big scholarship back in March, I was asked questions that I never knew beforehand. Therefore, I had to think before I responded. The same was true with the interview I had recently. I did not know what to expect. So when asked a question, exhale (and think), and then answer. Be sure to enunciate your words and take your time answering them.
- When asked about yourself, brag but be honest– In my recent interview, my interviewers asked me to “sell myself to them”. In other words, they wanted to know why they should hire me. I talked about all the work I did at the State Museum this summer, but I never said anything that was not true. I told them about setting up for camps, staffing the camps, and preparing for whatever was needed. I also talked about my portion of the summary and the work I did there. However, I did not include the ideas for camps. Why? Well, I had no part in that. I told about what I did, and left out what I had no part in.
Interviews never seem to get easier, no matter how many you do or practice. That being said, just be friendly and polite and thorough.
Tips for on the job:
- Be ambitious– Have goals that you set for yourself and work toward reaching them.
- Take initiative– People, bosses especially, notice when someone steps up for a job that nobody else wants. Everyone has probably heard “Actions speak louder than words” but it is so true. Be willing to do something nobody else is. Trust me, someone will notice eventually.
- Understand that work isn’t everything– People can waste their lives at work because that’s all they do. For me, yes I work part-time, but I’m a student first. I know my employers are understanding of this, because it has already been mentioned to me that I am welcome to take off or leave early to study. I’ve even been invited to study while at work if necessary. Now, I make sure to do my homework first, but it is still nice to have that opportunity. For those not in school, there are still other responsibilities, like family and other things. Work is important, but it is not the only thing that is important in life.
- Leave your work at work– After work, I’m exhausted. I’m on my feet for pretty much four hours at a time, plus a full day of classes. That being said, I usually have things to do after work as well. However, when I clock out, I’m not thinking of what needs to be done the next day. I’m thinking about other things I have to do that night and making sure everything is ready for my classes tomorrow.
- Be proud of the work you do– Whether you work in an office or are on the janitorial staff or whatever you do, work is work. Be proud of any opportunities you have. I make minimum wage, and I’m pretty proud of what I do, because I know it’s something that needs to be done.
- Be on time– Tardiness should not be accepted. I get that things come up. There were days where I was late to the Museum over the summer. One time, I felt kind of sick, so I waited a bit to see if it would get better or worse. Nothing really happened, so I went in. But I had informed my boss that I was going to be late, so it wasn’t an issue. That was a one-time thing. Do not make a habit of being late. It only reflects poorly on you.
- Be willing to learn– You probably are not going to know everything. So, accept help and learn from others.
- Work hard– Be an example! Don’t just show up and do the bare minimum of what’s expected of you. Work ahead. You never know who is watching you, so always do your best. Your work is your signature. If your work is sloppy, it reflects poorly on you.
I hope these tips help, and maybe you can find some of your own to apply to your work place!