Have a Great First Day!

It only natural to be nervous right before your first day of work!  Your first day of work will help define you in the eyes of your new coworkers. Make a good first impression and you'll soon be viewed as a capable, respected colleague. Unfortunately, a bad first impression could mean months or years of trying to undo the damage.

Here are a few tips to get that day started right:

Prepare your professional dress clothes, lunch and briefcase the night before the big first day.
Set several alarms, get up early and eat a good breakfast.
Don’t be late!

On Your First Day

Bring a Notebook -- and Use It: You'll be meeting new people and trying to remember their names, learning about office procedures, becoming familiar with the work environment and discovering how your work fits in with that of your department and colleagues. All of this information can be overwhelming. It is not possible to remember everything so write it down!

Use the 2/1 rule:  Listen Twice as much as you Talk and Ask Questions: When you were in job search mode, it probably took awhile to adjust to talking about yourself and your many outstanding skills and achievements. Now it's time to listen and ask questions instead.  No one likes a newbie “know-it-all.

Be Ready for Confusion, Indifference or Instant Action: You might be welcomed to the organization in the midst of a firestorm or with apparent indifference: no cubicle, no security badge or even no work to do. Try and keep a smile on your face and go with the flow for a few days. Things will usually get sorted out.

On the other hand, don't be surprised if you're tossed right into the proverbial fire. Your skills might require you to jump in to action to deal with an immediate situation. What a way to start the day and a new job. 

JOb Seeker Tips

Six Crucial Interview Mistakes

It's tough to avoid typical interview traps if you're unsure what they are. Here are six to watch out for.     

1. Confusing an Interview with an Interrogation

Most candidates expect to be interrogated. An interrogation occurs when one person asks all the questions and the other gives the answers. An interview is a business conversation in which both people ask and respond to questions. Candidates who expect to be interrogated avoid asking questions, leaving the interviewer in the role of reluctant interrogator.

2. Making a So-Called Weakness Seem Positive

Interviewers frequently ask candidates, "What are your weaknesses?" Conventional interview wisdom dictates that you highlight a weakness like "I'm a perfectionist," and turn it into a positive. Interviewers are not impressed, because they've probably heard the same answer a hundred times. If you are asked this question, highlight a skill that you wish to improve upon and describe what you are doing to enhance your skill in this area. Interviewers don't care what your weaknesses are. They want to see how you handle the question and what your answer indicates about you.

3. Failing to listen to the interview questions and ask questions of your own.

Listen carefully to the interviewer and the questions being asked.  It does not make a good impression if you have to ask for a question to be repeated. Every interview concludes with the interviewer asking if you have any questions. The worst thing to say is that you have no questions. Having no questions prepared indicates you are not interested and not prepared. Interviewers are more impressed by the questions you ask than the selling points you try to make. Before each interview, make a list of five questions you will ask.  One of the potential questions might be “What do you enjoy most about working here?” Asking this question of the interviewer or the interview panel will engage you in additional conversation to learn more about the organization and your potential supervisor.

4. Researching the Company But Not Yourself

Candidates intellectually prepare by researching the company. Most job seekers do not research themselves by taking inventory of their experience, knowledge and skills. Formulating a list of accomplishments prepares you to immediately respond to any question about your experience. You must be prepared to discuss any part of your background. Creating your talent inventory refreshes your memory and helps you immediately remember experiences you would otherwise have forgotten during the interview.

5. Leaving Your Cell phone On

We may live in a wired, always-available society, but a ringing cell phone is not appropriate for an interview. Turn it off before you enter the company.

6. Waiting for a Call

Time is your enemy after the interview. After you send a thank you letter or email to every interviewer, follow up a couple of days later with either a question or additional information. Try to contact the person who can hire you and assume that everyone you met with has some say in the process. Additional information can be details about your talents, a recent competitor's press release or industry trends. Your intention is to keep everyone's memory of you fresh.

10 Interviewing Rules

In the current job market, you'd better have your act together, or you won't stand a chance against the competition. Check yourself on these 10 basic points before you go on that all-important interview.

1. Do Your Research

Research the company before the interview. Learn as much as possible about its Mission statement, services, products, customers and competition. This will give you an edge in understanding and addressing the company's needs. The more you know about the company and what it stands for, the better chance you have of selling yourself and your skills.

2. Look Sharp

Select what to wear for the interview. Depending on the industry and position, get out your best interview clothes and check them over for spots and wrinkles. Even if the company has a casual environment, you don't want to look like you slept in your outfit. Above all, dress for confidence. If you feel good, others will respond to you accordingly. 

3. Be Prepared

Bring along a folder containing extra copies of your resume, a copy of your references and paper to take notes. You should also have questions prepared to ask at the end of the interview.

4. Be on Time

Never arrive late to an interview. Allow extra time to arrive early in the vicinity, allowing for factors like getting lost or limited parking. Enter the building 10 to 15 minutes before the interview. 

5. Show Enthusiasm

A firm handshake and plenty of eye contact demonstrate confidence. Speak distinctly in a confident voice, even though you may feel shaky. 

6. Listen

One of the most neglected interview skills is listening. Make sure you are not only listening, but also reading between the lines. Sometimes what is not said is just as important as what is said. 

7. Answer the Question Asked

Candidates often don't think about whether they are actually answering the questions their interviewers ask. Make sure you understand what is being asked, and get further clarification if you are unsure. 

8. Give Specific Examples

One specific example of your background is worth 50 vague stories. Prepare your stories before the interview. Give specific examples that highlight your successes and uniqueness. Your past behavior can indicate your future performance. 

9. Ask Questions

Many interviewees don't ask questions and miss the opportunity to find out valuable information. The questions you ask indicate your interest in the company or job. 

10. Follow Up

Whether it's through email or regular mail, the interview follow up and thank you is one more chance to remind the interviewer of all the valuable traits you bring to the job and company. Don't miss this last chance to market yourself.

It is important to appear confident and cool for the interview. One way to do that is to be prepared to the best of your ability. There is no way to predict what an interview holds, but by following these important rules you will feel less anxious and will be ready to positively present yourself.

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