You made the interview. So how do you make a good first impression?

You made it to the interview. So how do you make a good first impression?

By now you’ve probably realized the importance of making a good impression—especially when it comes to getting a job. It’s astonishing to think your possible future in an organization might be determined in the first few seconds of an interview, but a recent study showed nearly 30% of interviewers made their decision about a candidate within the first five minutes. A simple, professional and personable approach can help you get past the introductions and into the running for the job you want.

Making a good first impression involves more than just having the right qualifications. It includes other things such as timeliness, physical appearance and body language. Your interviewer will most likely expect you to do some basic research about the organization, so you should have an understanding of the type of employment for which you are interviewing. Your responses should be just long enough to convey you are qualified while keeping the interviewer’s attention; remember they only have a limited amount of time to speak with each applicant. Here are a few other tips to make that lasting impression:

  • Arrive to your interview early, if possible.
  • Be prepared and bring a few copies of your resume and a list of references.
  • Dress appropriately and conservatively. An interview is not the time to experiment with your trendiest clothes. Clothing should be clean, free from wrinkles and not distracting.
  • When you meet your interviewer, greet them with your name, give them a smile, make eye contact and provide a firm handshake.
  • Highlight personal skills or experiences you believe make you a qualified candidate, and be prepared to support your claims with specific examples of your past accomplishments.
  • Express your enthusiasm for the position or company. Creating a personal connection with the interviewer is important.
Moving on up: Tips for moving your career forward
The new year is here and 2018 is prime time to work on moving your career forward. Years ago, keeping your head down and doing anything your supervisor requested of you was a likely way to get promoted. However, in this day and age, employers are looking to advance people who are more than just task masters.

 Manage your career, not just your job.

What is your focus for getting a promotion? Don’t get so bogged down in your work you forget to spend time thinking about your future. You should be visible in your company and gain credibility from your peers and supervisors. Devote time to relationship building and let people know what you are accomplishing professionally.

 Know the politics.

“Office politics” are interactions and interpersonal relationships between employees and people in power in the workplace. Although people sometimes assume they have a negative connotation, office politics can benefit you as long as you’re aware and an active participant in the organization. Avoiding engagement means you might not be included in decisions or have access to resources you can greatly benefit from. Do you know how decisions are made in the company? Ask yourself, “How influential am I?” Create a powerful network of decision makers who can help champion you for advancement.

 Know your value.

What value do you bring to your team or organization? You must be able to understand your value proposition in order to move forward. Are you helping others achieve goals or contributing value to your organization?  Observe others in your same position or with similar responsibilities. How do you work differently? Remember you must help an organization achieve the results it seeks in order to truly make yourself indispensable.

2018 could be your year—the year where you write a new story for yourself and start moving your career forward. Focus on your strengths and position. You can’t control every aspect of your life, but you have total control over advancing your career and feeling good about yourself.