There is nothing worse than job hunting. OK, that's a slight exaggeration. The stomach flu on a hot day is worse, as are presidential election-year commercials. But job hunting is an unpleasant activity, so I'm going to tell you a little secret about it:
The person who is interviewing you really, really, really wants to hire you.
Well, not you, specifically. What they want is to hire the person they are interviewing right now because they can then quit interviewing people and get back to work. So, that gives you a distinct advantage—all you have to be is the right person.
I know, easier said than done. How do you become the right person?
1. Make sure you know why you want this job. What is it about this company and this job that would make you a good fit and it a good fit for you?
2. Make sure you can articulate the reasons why you are the right person. By the time you reach the interview stage, you should have a thorough understanding of the company and the job description. Let the interviewer know you can not only do this job, but excel in it.
3. Dress appropriately. Unless you are applying for a job someplace where tattoos and micro-miniskirts are prevalent, cover yours (your tattoos and your thighs) up. Dress one step above what you see other employees wearing. (Yes, this may mean a drive by the office prior to the interview date.) That is, if it's a business casual office, you wear a suit. If it's a jeans and T-shirt type of place, you wear nice pants and a button-down shirt. The only time this doesn't apply is if this is a formal place where everyone is in a suit already. You can't wear a ball gown or tuxedo, so stick with the suit.
4. Demonstrate how you can do the job. Prior to the interview, ask if there is some problem the company is working on that you can present a solution for. This is somewhat radical, but imagine how well you'll be received if you walk into the interview with a proposal for the company's biggest problem. This just shouts, "Hey, this guy can do this job!"
I hope this will make your next job hunt a little less painful. Unfortunately, there's nothing I can do to shorten the presidential campaign. Sorry.
Suzanne Lucas has nine years of Human Resources experience, most of which has been in a Fortune 500-company setting. She holds a Professional in Human Resources Certificate from the Society for Human Resource Management. She blogs at Evil HR Lady.