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Things you should know

A big part of getting a job is making a good first impression, and a big part of making a good first impression is how you dress. While you don't have to spend a lot of money on your wardrobe, putting in a little extra effort will pay off in the long run. Before your next interview, make sure you aren't making any interview attire mistakes. Here's what not to wear to an interview.

I once interviewed a woman in a slinky red dress that was so skimpy, she could barely sit down. While everyone knows that short hemlines and plunging necklines aren't acceptable for a job interview, wearing an inappropriate dress that's also a bright, flashy color--like red--simply makes this situation worse.

Employee work history Questions: This is to confirm dates of your past employment, companies you worked for, salary, and titles. This type of information helps employers verify the information on your resume.

Credit Reports: Some companies will want to check your credit score. Often times this is required if you are applying for a financial position in the company. The company will need to send you a request to get your credit score, and you will need to provide them with your written consent. School Records: With your written consent, employers can access your school records. They may be wanting to ensure that you did graduate from the college stated on your resume, and that you did in fact earn the degree you listed.

Criminal History: Access to criminal records varies from state to state. Some states will only allow employers to access information up to a certain point in the past. If the position you are applying for is a security position, your full criminal history may be required.

Sometimes, it can seem that you've done all the right things when it comes to your job search, but you still aren't successful. Although this can be a frustrating situation, the fact of the matter is that there is a large number of unemployed people on the hunt for a job, so competition is high. These days, you need to do more than send in a decent cover letter and arrive on time for the interview. You need to stand out from the crowd.

It seems that everyone has a friend of a friend who scrupulously applied online to over 300 jobs, tracked them all in a spreadsheet, and only heard back from a few employers.

Unfortunately, this isn't an uncommon occurrence, but the solution is straightforward: quality trumps quantity. After all, your time is money, so be discriminating about where you apply. It's okay to take a few risks now and then, but limit the number of "reach" jobs you apply for. Instead, focus your energy on writing personalized cover letters, targeted resumes, and sending them out to companies hiring for position that you are qualified for. The closer a match, the better your chances of getting hired.

Quick Tips

The first impression you make on a potential employer can make a big difference. The first judgement an interviewer makes is going to be based on how you look and what you are wearing. That's why it's always important to dress appropriately for a job interview.
While you're actively job searching, it's important to be prepared for a phone interview on a moment's notice. You never know when a recruiter or a networking contact might call and ask if you have a few minutes to talk. Employers use telephone interviews as a way of identifying and recruiting candidates for employment. Phone interviews are often used to screen candidates in order to narrow the pool of applicants who will be invited for in-person interviews. They are also used as a way to minimize the expenses involved in interviewing out-of-town candidates.
Taking the time to review typical interview questions you will probably be asked during a job interview will help give you a framework for your responses and will help calm your frazzled nerves, because you won't be scrambling for an answer while you're in the interview hot seat. Practice interviewing with a friend or family member ahead of time and it will be much easier when you're actually in a job interview.
Taking the time to say thank you after a job interview not only is good interview etiquette, it reinforces your interest in the position. Use your thank you letter, as well, to address any issues and concerns that came up during the interview.
In a behavioral job interview, the company has decided what skills are needed in the person they hire and will ask questions to find out if the candidate has those skills. Behavioral interview questions will be more focused than traditional interview questions and you'll need to respond with special examples of how you handled situations in the workplace. Review examples of the questions you may be asked during a behavioral job interview and think about how you would answer them. That way you'll be prepared ahead of time, rather than having to think of a response on the spot during the interview.

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