Dress for Success
This old adage is not something that should be glossed over and locked in a briefcase. The reason it is repeated so often is because looking good with a briefcase is very important yet it is one of the easiest and most often overlooked ways of making a good impression. If you’re just about to finish college, forget about other graduation gifts and ask for some new threads and a briefcase. To tell you the truth though, the dress for success and carry a briefcase thing has actually always bugged me. Why won’t I be able to produce the same caliber of work wearing my pajamas as when wearing a three piece suit and carrying a briefcase? However, after many days of ugly shirts, bad hair days, and a funny looking briefcase, I finally decided to try out this out after a friend of mine swore by it – and it turned out to work wonders.
It boils down to the importance of appearance. It would be nice if things were different, but we can’t help but to judge a book by its cover. A shaggy haired person with wrinkly clothes and their dad’s briefcase from the Carter administration exudes an air about them that says, “Whatever.” This is not the message you want to convey. A sharply dressed person carrying a briefcase says, “I’m organized and responsible,” two of the most important things to get right for an interview.
There are also other steps you can take past just a nice suit, briefcase, and a good haircut or hairstyle. Leather padfolios or a briefcase are great for interviews because they tell the employer that you already have your own methods of organization and work ethic. Even if they aren’t consciously aware, this has a subconscious effect on the interviewer; sort of like a fresh coat of paint. If you are interviewing for more of an executive job, bring a nice briefcase into the interview. This shows that this is not your first rodeo and you have a lot of quality experience with important things (hence the briefcase), even before they have looked at your resume.
Hold your Head High
You have every reason to convey confidence with your body language and to hold that briefcase proudly. You made the interview! Hundreds of applicants don’t even get that far. Going into an interview with a healthy dose of confidence and a nice briefcase is critical for success. In fact, being as close to cocky without actually crossing the line is about the zone you want to go for. Your body language and tone of voice will change if you carry this attitude along with your briefcase – whether you realize it or not. Maybe you don’t have the experience of other candidates but what you do have is that intangible quality that the employer has a gut feeling about – and a nice briefcase. Confidence in yourself will help to instill this in the interviewer and get you one step closer to getting that job and filling your briefcase with more than just resumes. Oh, and don’t forget: MAKE EYE CONTACT!
Hunter becomes the Hunted
The interview process is not just about whether or not the employer likes you – it’s also about whether you like the employer. When you arrive at the interview, put down your briefcase and take a look around. Are you in a shady part of town? Is the building falling apart? How’s the lobby? Are the couches worn out? These simple things can reveal a lot about a potential employer. If everything in the office is run-down, tired looking, and your briefcase is handcuffed to your wrist, then they probably aren’t doing too well. It also reveals something about how they conduct business. Just like how a ragged person with a tattered briefcase conveys upheaval and disorganization, so goes a business.
There is no such thing as a slam dunk when it comes to job interviews. However, by following these tips you can maximize your potential and chances for getting hired and putting that briefcase to some good use. So pick up your briefcase, go out and make yourself a professional today!