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What to Do Before an Interview

Your spiffed-up resume with its relevant experiences, references and educational credentials has done its work and earned you an interview for what looks like an interesting position at a well-regarded company.

But your work has just begun. If you want to stand out in the interview, a little preparation can go a long way.

Take Care of Minor Details

For the interview itself, you should be ready for the different types of questions you’ll likely to be asked. Some might seem tougher than others, but it allows you to show what makes you exceptional. It’s not just your knowledge and motivations that are important. Your personality and characteristics are important indicators of how you will fit into an organization’s culture.

Speaking of your qualifications, bring extra copies of your resume and a cheat sheet with examples of your previous achievements. Most employers want to dig a little deeper for your perspective on what you’ve accomplished as an individual and a team member. (Sometimes they’ll even want to hear about your failures and how you’ve learned from them.)

Finally, map out the interview location and head there beforehand so you know the easiest way to get there and how long it will take for you to arrive. It will help you feel poised and confident when the interview day comes around.

Energize Before an Interview

On the day of the interview, give yourself an infusion of positive energy to carry you through. A quick cardio session can work wonders (leave time to shower afterwards), or a brisk walk around the block can dispel both butterflies and cobwebs. You can also energize with the right kind of sustenance. Say no to coffee – you want neither the dry mouth nor the possible bathroom break caffeine’s diuretic effect can bring about. An apple, followed by a piece of gum or a mint, will maintain your energy level and refresh your breath.

Dress for Success

Put some thought into what you’ll wear for the interview. Wearing black, gray or navy clothing made from cotton, silk or wool is a good idea. Dark colors actually convey some positive personality associations, according to a Harris Interactive survey. Black denotes leadership, while team players wear blue. Logical and analytical people are associated with the color gray. Clothes constructed with natural fibers are breathable and less likely to cling to you, allowing you to keep your cool while in the hot seat of an interview.

Watch Your (Body) Language

A final consideration is your body language. Think about the signals you’re sending and make sure they’re positive. A good posture signals success. If you angle toward the interviewer with your shoulders back and expansive, you’re giving nonverbal respect. A word to the wise: Leave your cell phone in your pocket or purse while waiting. When you hunch over to check your texts, you’re giving off defeated body language.

The job interview is your chance to shine and sell yourself for a job that may launch or advance your career possibilities. Being smart with your preparation may increase your chances of success.

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