Making a GREAT first impression

Whether you are preparing to attend a career fair or getting ready for an interview with a prospective employer, here are a few simple but important tips for making a GREAT first impression:

Be positive (especially about the “not-so-positive” experiences).  One of the biggest mistakes that I have seen throughout my many years of interviewing is when candidates talk negatively about a job and/or employer.  This behavior very quickly sends a message to the interviewer about your attitude and ability to deal with undesirable situations.  If you find yourself frustrated or disgruntled with a past or current situation be sure to either 1) avoid discussing it during your conversations with  employers OR 2) find a way to discuss it in which it shows the employer that you are making the best of the situation and focusing on the positives.

Ask GOOD questions. The type of questions you ask in an interview will send a message to the employer about what is important to you so, in the early stages, it is best to stay away from questions related to benefits (compensation, benefit plans, etc.) and logistics (parking, work hours, etc.).  Instead, you will want to be prepared to ask several good “big picture” questions which are focused on learning more about the company (culture, work environment, mission, leadership team, etc.) , the job (responsibilities, challenges, training, etc.) and the people involved in the interview process.

Listen well.  Preparing and asking GOOD questions is only half the battle.  The other half is listening, both actively and attentively, which is a key quality that employers look for when hiring top talent into their organization.  One way you can quickly begin to improve your listening skills is by, first, understanding what it means to be both an active listener and an attentive listener, and then focus on practicing on the people you come in contact with throughout your day.

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