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Hopefully, many of you are breaking through the morass of substandard resumes and cover letters out there and getting hiring managers to schedule an interview with you.

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind as you prepare for that first interview.

Do Your Research

Research the position and the company. Make sure you thoroughly understand what the potential employer is looking for and what they offer their clients, market and customers. They’ll notice you haven’t done your homework.

Keep a Low Profile

Watch what you’re advertising about yourself in the public domain of the internet. It’s been said before; make sure your wild ventures and pictures are not out there for public consumption.

Image is Everything

Make sure your image projects professionalism. That means staying away from anything too casual, too outside the box, wearing too much perfume or jewelry, etc. Dress the part for the position you want. Help your future employer see you in the position.

Avoid Being Too Familiar

Until your interviewer says you can call her Sally, address the interviewer formally. If your interviewer is like me and detests formal monikers, they’ll give you the go ahead to use their first name when they introduce themselves, “Hi, I’m Sally Jenkins.” Voila! You can use their first name. But if your interviewer never gives you the go ahead, stick to formality.

What to Say

An interviewer wants more than a “yes” or “no” to an answer but they don’t want a chatterbox either. Make sure your answers are relevant to the questions and include examples of past accomplishments and solutions you provided your past employers.

What to Ask

If you’ve done your research you’ve got some questions. Think about how the company works, what their philosophy is, corporate culture, future projects, promotion, etc.

What About the Weakness Question?

“What is your greatest weakness?” Or “In what areas do you think you could improve?” This is a great opportunity to show your interviewer you recognize that you aren’t perfect. Frame it in the positive though. “I’m a bit of a bull in a china shop. I have been working on softening my approach and like to think that I’ll break less china. However there is always room for improvement.”

Now you’re ready to go out an ace that interview! I know with excellent self-marketing tools, like a resume and cover letter, you’ll be getting interviews. Make the most of them!