The essentials

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ace a job interview

Want to make the best impression possible when communicating with a business professional? Want to nail the job interview or impress college interviewers?

After participating in many professional seminars and talking with Jaime Pennington, a leadership counselor at Flexible Executives, I've come up with some tips that can take you from "We'll call you in a few days" to "When can you start?"

Dress the part. Wear a suit; it won't kill you. Even if it is just a job interview for the convenience store, you must look as though you are somebody. Professionals are impressed with appearance because it shows that you are interested in the position.

Keep distractions to a minimum. During an interview or casual conversation, don't look at your cell phone. Turn it off: It is embarrassing for someone to call and the interviewer hears 50 Cent's In Da Club ringtone. Also, it's offensive to look at your watch, because it gives the impression that you seem to have better things to do. Give all of your attention to the moment at hand.

Be prepared. Have your rÃsumà ready when you are going to an interview. A professional would like to see your work if you are boasting about it. Also, be knowledgeable of the job field or topic of conversation if you are going to be asking questions. Interviewers are looking for more than nice people who sit and nod yes all day long.

Speak with eloquence and confidence . Don't use slang or speak informally. Use "ma'am" or "sir," and try not to use "umm" and "like." It is not necessary to use SAT words, but you shouldn't talk to professionals the same way you would if you were with your friends.

Follow through. Keep in touch after the interview or the conversation. It's polite to thank interviewers for their time. If you really want to impress them, ask for a business card. It shows that you are willing to take initiative. If you want to contact the professional, it is best to do so through e-mail. A thank-you e-mail will brighten their day and will keep you in their memory.

Who knows, that e-mail may lead you to a huge job offer.

Brianna Mack is a senior at the Academy of Richmond County.


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