How to look good at the interview

by Jeannette Salas – March 2013

We’ve reviewed what you need to do to get the first interview and the office interview. Now we need to get down to the really important things:  How you, your resume, and your cover letter should look.  Then maybe someday you can drive that convertible.

What do I wear to an interview?

Alicia Nevins
Alicia Nevins

Think old school. You have one time to make a first impression, as they say. Since key accounts for pro teams are corporate, dress like you belong. Cover up any visible tattoos. No facial jewelry or excessive ear jewelry (ladies).

“Psychologically, we know, ‘As I think, so I am.’ In the same way, we act like we dress! ” explains Alicia Nevins. “Taking pride in our professional appearance correlates with the importance we place on our careers, those we work with, and the respect we receive in return.”

Other tips:

Women

  1. Always wear a suit: Nothing bright or distracting. Clean and pressed.
  2. Skirts: No shorter than 3 in above knee. Not excessively tight. See how high skirt goes up when you sit down. Beware of slits!
  3. Tops: No low-cut blouses. No tank tops or spaghetti straps. Nothing sheer.
  4. Shoes: Close-toed or peep toe, no open toe sandals. Clean and simple. Not bright colored or glittery. No platform shoes. Weather appropriate: Cold outside – no open toed sandals.
  5. Makeup: Casual and mild. No smoky eyes.
  6. Hair: Neat and styled. No wild colors.
  7. Nails: Cleaned and trimmed. No bright colors.
  8. Perfume/Lotion: Don’t shower in it.

Men

  1. Always wear a suit: Nothing bright or distracting. Clean and pressed.
  2. Shoes: Clean and polished.
  3. Hair: Neatly trimmed and short. No wild colors.
  4. Facial hair: Clean shaven is BEST but if not keep it trimmed and short.
  5. Nails: Cleaned and trimmed.
  6. Cologne: Don’t shower in it.

How should the resume and cover letter look?

Resumes

  1. Presentation:  Not necessary to follow cookie-cutter resume format. Word offers various templates.
  2. Formatting: Make sure formatting is uniform! Make sure everything is aligned (dates, titles, etc.). Bolded words should be in same category (title, company name, etc.)
  3. Personal Info:  Include contact info – address, phone & email. No photos. Email address needs to be professional.

Emails 
No → datsexxygurl@yahoo.com
Yes → smalone_12@yahoo.com

  1. Objective:  Optional. Be careful—it can restrict you to a particular position when you may qualify for another in the organization. If you have one, make sure it addresses the right organization, position, etc (e.g. applying for position in NFL but objective states NBA)
  2. Course Section: List courses relevant to the position
  3. Accomplishments
    No → “I developed and executed customer focus…”
    Yes →”Reduced budget to actual variance from 11% to 3.5%.”
  4. Experience: Include dates – month/year. Make sure it is up-to-date (current job). Make sure dates are in order (recent position first). Don’t write “I ….” when listing accomplishments.
  5. Use bullet points.
  6. Quantify : Show results/accomplishments not duties . Show NUMBERS whenever possible.
  7. Length: 2 page maximum.
  8. Review:  Check spelling (spell-check), punctuation, and correct word usage. Have a qualified individual (relative, friend, professor) review and critique resume.

Cover letters

A Manager’s View

Matt Kalister
Matt Kalister

It’s no lie: A first impression can make or break chances of getting hired.

As a leadership team we see potential hires throughout the year. We look for candidates that present themselves well because they will be trusted to meet with key decision makers in our marketplace. Many of these will dismiss you in the first 10 seconds if you are not dressed appropriately.

A suit is key along with a white dress shirt and simple tie. We understand young adults don’t have the means to have high end wardrobes, but a simple suit (that fits) along with a dress shirt and tie is all you need. If you want to be taken seriously in an interview setting then dress and act like it.

We see hundreds of resumes each year. Concise, well-formatted resumes on one page stand out. Save topics for the interview. Keep the cover letter to the point. Make sure you present why you would be a great fit for that specific team and position.’

  1. No blanket cover letters – HR professionals can tell.
  2. Recipe for trashcan: Leave the previous desired employer’s name, location, or position in the letter.
  3. Address to the appropriate person (hiring manager, recruiter, etc.) when possible.
  4. Don’t repeat resume in paragraph form. Mention things not seen on resume related to desired position.
  5. IF applying to a sports team – don’t talk about your family’s history with sports. Tell what you can do for them. What value do you bring to the organization? What sets YOU apart?
  6. Review:  Same as above.

Submitting online

  1. Make sure the document you are attaching is in fact your most up-to-date resume.  A slip of the finger can cause you to attach a private or other document in error.
  2. Make sure you list your professional experience on the online application.  DO NOT write “See Resume.”

Social Media

We cover social media (tip: employees WILL check), networking, and common first-year mistakes here!

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