Your confidence says it all!

Interviews are scary. Whether you’re applying for an internship or a position in a prestigious organization, you have a big impression to make under a small amount of time. I have spent the last week in a suit interviewing and reviewing literally hundreds of applications for a position in the Student Government division I am Assistant Director for. Here’s what I learned about resumes, professionalism, interviews and getting the position.

Be impressive on paper.
Polish your resume, and proof read any written material you submit. Having grammatical and spelling mistakes in your application materials is the worst first impression you can make. Interviewers often review you application materials before you walk in the door, and seeing a sloppy and erroneous resume immediately turns the interviewers off to you. Take advantage of your university’s career services office. These people are trained to tailor your resume to whatever position you’re applying for.

Be even more impressive in person.
A neat and professional appearance sets the mood for your interview. Interviewers who see someone in a too-short skirt, too-tight suit or, even worse, a person in casual attire are immediately forced to think of the person as unprofessional. Attire for interviews is usually business professional (that means a suit), sometimes you can get away with business casual (simply a trouser/ skirt and a blouse), but donning a sharp blazer and a well-tailored bottom can impress.

 If you choose to wear a skirt make sure it hits just above, at, or just below the knee. You’re not going to the club, so, this time, tighter and shorter does not equate to better. Another tip if you’re wearing a skirt—don’t cross your legs! I thought crossing your legs was completely fine, but sometimes this gives a panel of interviewers even a better angle of your underwear. Even worst, crossing your legs can expose unsightly cellulite on your thighs if your skirt rides up. I’ve seen even the skinniest girls reveal these flaws by crossing their legs. Cross your ankles instead.

Remember to keep you appearance very neat—no loud nail polish colors or crazy hairstyles, unless, of course, you’re applying for a position in an artsy field. Be genuine, but never forget your professionalism. You have already managed to impress them with your appearance, but this does not make you memorable. Impress them with your firm handshake, but, most importantly, impress them with you! Show then your personality while keeping in mind that you are in a professional setting—that means so cuss words, or stories about your drunken nights. Let your passions show in your answers.

Let the interviewers know what’s different about you in your answers. Avoid cliché responses, because, while they may be appropriate, guess what? The person before and after you said the exact same answer. So many people get so caught up in their nerves that they sit in for a decent, yet completely forgettable interview. Be THAT person the interviewers remember at the end of the day. You don’t have to be extraordinary; you just have to show them the intricacies to your personality.

It’s okay to be nervous, but play on your nerves; let them be your drive to impress in your interview. That being said, don’t get too comfortable, remember you are there to convince these people you are the best person for the position, not to be their best friend.

It’s okay not to have any questions for your interviewers. Don’t force any questions because they sound exactly like that—forced. Simply tell them they have been very clear and very helpful in their website, informational sessions, literature, etc. If they haven’t had any of these available, do your homework and make sure the question you’re asking cannot be answered through any material available to the public. Ask smart questions! Remember their names, and thank them for their time as you leave the room.

But if you remember one, and only one thing, remember to be yourself. Faking takes took much energy and is never nearly as effective as you hope it to be.