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Five Ways to Make a Winning First Impression

On all new series Tamar & Vince, Tamar is on the search for an assistant. While she spends her time trying to find the right employee, the majority of us tend to find ourselves on the opposite side of the desk. It’s no secret that a first impression can make or break someone’s opinion, but what does it take to make a positive first impression on a job interview?

“Keep in mind that the resume gets you the interview, but it’s how you handle yourself during the interview that lands you the job,” states Barbara Pachter, a leading expert on business etiquette and communications and author of the book, “Greet! Eat! Tweet! 52 Business Etiquette Postings To Avoid Pitfalls and Boost Your Career.” (For more info, click here).

Here, Pachter shares five tips on how anyone can impress a potential boss.

Be Prepared: “Top on the list is to do your homework about the company,” says Pachter. For example, check out the company’s website, Facebook page and Twitter feed. If the company produces products, look up information about some of their best-selling items; if they publish newsletters or pamphlets, read their latest materials. This research will also help you formulate a question or two to ask during the interview. “It’s also a good idea to reach out to your contact in the human resource department or your potential new boss on LinkedIn,” advises Pachter. “And no, it’s not stalking! The site serves as a great networking tool, and this connection will help you discover the people you may know in common.”

Have Extra Info On Hand: Pachter suggests bringing along additional copies of your resume and, if possible, extra copies of the most outstanding samples from your portfolio. “The truth is that you don’t know who may be joining you during the interview, and this person may want his or her own copy of your resume to look over,” explains Pachter. “Everyone wants to work with an organized person who’s always thinking one step ahead.”

Dress the Part: “When in doubt, wear a suit,” states Pachter. “Even if you know that the company has established a business casual atmosphere, take the extra step and put on the suit.” She points out that there is one exception to this rule: “If, for some reason, the person you are meeting with specifically tells you not to wear a suit, then follow their instructions.” Pachter has an additional piece of advice for women. “No seductive clothes, like short skirts or anything that shows cleavage.”

Act Like You Belong: “Think about it—no one walks into their job with a nervous or uncomfortable look on their face,” says Pachter. “So walk in the front door with a pleasant facial expression while standing up straight.” And if there is a front desk receptionist, say hello and make small talk with him or her. “A client of mine found out that she received a job offer because she was the only candidate who greeted the receptionist—and the boss asked the receptionist for her opinion.”

Say Thank You: “Always, always write a thank you note after the interview,” emphasizes Pachter. “In general, a thank you email is perfectly acceptable since we live in a fast-paced world. If time is of the essence, meaning if you know that a decision will be made within the week, sending the note over email is necessary. A hand-written thank you note is more personal, but this strategy only works when you know it’s going to be a lengthy process.”