Ready For A Career Switch? 3 Strategies To Rock Your First Impression When Interviewing

So you've finally taken the plunge - you've gotten additional training, focused on your transferable skills, made connections, sent out your resume and have now landed a job interview. Congratulations! Now that the big day is almost here, you might be wondering about everything you should do in order to perform well in the interview and leave a good first impression. There is a lot of advice out there for how to do this, and most of it's good, but for the most part you want to appear professional and come across as personal - that way, you will not only leave a good impression but also stand out in the hiring manager's mind as a person. Here are three strategies to rock your first impression when interviewing during a career switch.


1. Dress Appropriately

Deciding how to dress and present your appearance in general is one of the first things you need to consider when going in for an interview. For job interviews, it's usually best to dress more formally than less. Only on very rare occasions, such as when you are interviewing at a very laid-back company or startup, might you dress less formally. For all other interviews, you should dress formally in a suit or cute conservative dresses, with minimal jewelry and no aspect that sticks out too much or could be conceived as annoying or overly attention-grabbing. That being said, you can wear little unobtrusive things, like an interesting necklace, that make you stand out and expresses your personality. There are many retailers that sell professional suits for men and women, as well as outlets that sell women's dresses - if you're going to be interviewing, it's a worthwhile investment.


2. Be Nice To Everyone You Meet

Never, ever be rude, mean or dismissive to anyone you come into contact with when you go in to interview. This can even extend to being rude to other drivers on your way to the interview - there have been cases where interviewees cut off their chances of getting the job when they cut off the interviewer in traffic. Word travels around businesses, and frequently receptionists or other employees will tell managers of their own impressions of the prospective employees. If, in your research, you have turned up any information about the hobbies or interests of the people who will be interviewing you, you might find the opportunity to strike up a conversation about it. Don't force this to happen, but if it does, it will help them remember you and create a stronger impression of you when they sit down to review the applicants and make a final decision.


3. Be Knowledgeable

For every job interview, you need to do your homework ahead of time. Start by finding out who is going to be interviewing you and familiarizing yourself enough with them so you can recognize them on sight and greet them warmly by name. This is easier than ever to do now that many businesses post profiles of their employees online. Especially when switching careers, you will want to come with knowledge about your new industry. Other things you should brush up on include any information you can find about the company at which you're interviewing and the position you've applied for. You need to be intricately familiar with your resume and be prepared for any question you might be asked.


Just about every bit of interview coaching advice will tell you that you need to leave a good first impression for a reason. Human beings simply create impressions when they meet others, and in a job interview you have little time for your prospective employer to get to know you better, which usually serves to dissipate first impressions over time. So using the strategies outlined above will go a long way towards creating a great first impression with prospective employers that will help you land a job.

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