Job Interview Tips: How To Showcase Your Skills

How to showcase your skill at a job interview, and other important tips.

Getting an interview for a coveted job opening is an exciting and important step on your career path. As you plan for the special day, keep in mind that you have just one shot to sell yourself to the person who will make the hiring decision. Here are some key things you can do to showcase your skills without coming across as a braggart:

1. Look your best. Select an outfit for the occasion that coordinates with the position you are applying for. In most business offices that means a dark suit with a white shirt and few accessories. Your shoes should be clean and polished, stockings should not have runs, the skirt should fall to the knee or below, and the jacket should fit comfortably around your shoulders and cuffs. Be sure the shirt, or blouse, is not low-cut. Keep makeup to a professional minimum; it should accent, not emphasize, your natural features. Wear a comfortable but up-to-date hairstyle that suits your face.

2. Feel good. Get a good night's sleep before the interview. Bags under your eyes or the inability to concentrate will not help your application. You want to look fresh, bright, and alert. Eat breakfast so your stomach won't get upset, or worse, make rumbling noises. Relax before the interview so you won't come across as stressed or uncertain.

3. Watch your step. Arrive a few minutes early, leaving time to review your notes and questions about the company and the position. Be polite to the secretary or receptionist that greets you. When ushered into the interviewer's office, walk confidently and hold your head up to display good posture. Shake hands if indicated and sit relaxed but not too casual in the chair that is offered.

4. Be careful with body language. Make eye contact for just a few seconds at a time. Males who hold eye contact may be viewed as aggressive, while women who do may be seen as flirtatious. If seated or walking close to the person, remember the three-foot personal circle that many executives like to maintain. Don't fidget or appear apathetic. Face forward and avoid toying with papers, purse, or other objects.

5. Be prepared. Know something about the company so you can offer comments, suggestions, or ask questions. Ask about the job description because you care about making a good fit with the company and want to find a meaningful position. When given the opportunity, explain how your skills will serve the company's interests. Be truthful when asked about your past, but look for ways to turn a potential negative into a positive. For example, when asked why you stayed at a certain job only six months, you can explain that staying longer would not have served the company's interests or advanced your career.

Look and feel enthusiastic, and demonstrate interest in the position to show that you are the most qualified candidate. Thank the interviewer for the meeting, and follow up in a day or two with a mailed card of appreciation. Following steps like these will show the employer that you are the person for the job.

© High Speed Ventures 2011