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January 14, 2009 > Counseling Corner: Ace That Interview and Get Yourself That Dream Job!

Counseling Corner: Ace That Interview and Get Yourself That Dream Job!

By Anne Chan, PhD, MFT

Happy New Year to all of you in the Tri-Cities! Some of you will be making a fresh start in your lives, whether it is to eat more healthily, exercise more, or just get a better life. I know many of you will be out there looking for a job, so I thought I'd compile my top ten list of Do's and Don'ts when interviewing for that dream job.

Whatever you do, please DON'T:

1. Wear too much perfume, cologne, or aftershave.
2. Arrive late for the interview. Be sure to leave plenty of time for traffic and parking.
3. Give a limp handshake.
4. Chew gum during the interview.
5. Answer your cell phone or text during the interview.
6. Slouch, yawn and/or look bored.
7. Respond with just a "Yes" or "No" when asked a question. Instead, try to use my PAR (Problem/Action/Result) formula - state the Problem (P), describe the action (A) you took to fix the problem, then close by explaining the results (R) of your action.
8. Lie about what you've done or not done.
9. Say nothing when the interviewer asks: "Do you have any questions for us?"
10. Overanalyze your performance after the interview. What's done is done - no point beating yourself up over what might have been.

1. Research the company you are interviewing for and come prepared with intelligent questions about the company, the department you will be working for, and the position.
2. Practice interviewing beforehand. Go to a career counselor for interview coaching. Or ask friends to help you practice and give you feedback.
3. Review your resume before the interview. It doesn't look good if you respond with a blank look when asked about something you wrote in your resume.
4. Dress professionally and tastefully, even if the interview is for a minimum wage or part-time job. Your clothing choice signals how serious you are about the job.
5. Bring extra copies of your resume with you.
6. Maintain good eye contact with the person(s) you are interviewing with.
7. Be enthusiastic and interested - nothing is worse than a person who is lukewarm about working.
8. Do ask good questions when appropriate. Remember that an interview is a two-way process and asking intelligent questions shows your interest and motivation.
9. Ask for the business card of each person you meet so you can contact them in the future as well as write thank-you notes to them (see #10).
10. Send a thank-you note to each person who interviewed you. This is one way to show your interest and leave one last positive impression.

Chalk each interview up as a round of practice. Even if you don't get the job, tell yourself it was excellent practice for the next (and better) job to come.

Interviews do not have to be torturous. Most people dread interviews because they are unprepared or uneducated about interviews. If you are well prepared and have the right frame of mind, you will find that interviews can actually be fun and even enjoyable.

I wish you all great success this New Year, especially for those of you who are out looking for jobs!

Anne Chan is a career counselor and licensed psychotherapist in Union City ( She specializes in helping people find maximum satisfaction in their careers and relationships. She can be reached at 510-565-5706.

(c) Anne Chan, 2009.

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