Make a good first impression at your next job interview

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The Daily Illini File Photo

Engineering students talk to company representatives at the Engineering Career Fair at the ARC on Sept. 11, 2018. Dressing appropriately is crucial to interview success.

By Zainab Qureshi, Longform Editor

Whether it’s a first date, partner project or a job interview, forming a solid first impression can make all the difference. However, in today’s COVID-19 world, that can be a little harder to accomplish. Here are some basic tips to help land that job, grade or “romantic bestie.” 

Be on time

Being punctual doesn’t require any talent and it’s an easy way to avoid stepping off on the wrong foot. For a zoom call, be ready and completely prepared at least 10 minutes before. This can eliminate potential technical difficulties, WiFi issues and this also gives you enough time to contact the other person if you find out you don’t have the link. If it’s an in-person meeting, similar guidelines apply; getting there a little before can eliminate traffic issues and missed turns. Just remember, getting there early makes you on time and getting there on time makes you late. 

Dress to impress

Dressing to impress doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pull out your nicest suit or dress, but it does mean changing out of your sweatpants and that old t-shirt you sometimes go to sleep in. It also means taking care of your personal hygiene; dirt under your nails, greasy hair and bad breath aren’t going to do you any favors. Make sure you’ve gotten the sleep out of your eyes and put on a clean outfit that you feel confident in. 

Put in the work and pay attention

Do your research on a company before the interview. What are their mission statements? What are the projects they’re currently working on? Casually mention their current community endeavors and projects while also aligning your answers with their mission statements. On a date? Pay attention to what the other person likes and talks about and bring it back up in conversation later on. In both instances, take note of the other person’s body language and demeanor. Whether you’re in a professional or social environment, matching the energy of the other person can go a long way. 

Overall, show you care, be passionate about what you do and put your best foot forward. It can be hard to make a lasting impression on someone, especially these days. Hopefully, these pointers give you a good starting place. 

Zainab is a junior in Media.

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