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First Interview Checklist

You've done your homework, created an amazing cover letter and resume, and now it's time to use this first interview checklist to score the job of your dreams.

You've created and submitted a terrific cover letter and resume and caught the attention of the hiring manager. You may have already had a phone or video interview, and now it's time to prepare for your first face-to-face interview. This is crucial juncture of the interviewing process, as it's your first chance to showcase your charisma, people skills, and personality. With this first interview checklist, you can be prepared for anything that comes your way.

Preparation is essential during any part of the interview process, but practice is especially important before your first interview. Everything from what you should wear to a first interview how you should respond to certain interview questions must be addressed in advance to ensure that you are calm, collected, and prepared to make a killer impression. Use this checklist to cross the final items off your list and feel certain that you are totally prepared for your first interview.

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1. Do a Dry Run

Do you know the address of the interview? Have you actually visited the building, or do you just have a general idea where it is? Research where the office is located, how long it takes to get there and where you should park to avoid any last minute problems. If you plan to take public transportation to the interview, make a practice run a day or two before the interview to ensure you aren't late.

2. Decide on Your Attire

While dressing professionally is a must, the definition of "professional"Â can differ from industry to industry. Do your research to determine what is appropriate for a first interview in this particular job. If you have a contact within the company, don't be afraid to reach out and ask their advice. If all else fails, call the person who scheduled the interview to ask about the company culture. When in doubt, be overdressed rather than underdressed.

Generally, avoid the following:

  • •Wrinkled clothing
  • •Clothing that is tight or too revealing
  • •Gaudy jewelry or accessories
  • •Jeans or shorts
  • •Heavy makeup

Your first interview checklist should involve laying out your outfit several days before, being sure to check for spots, holes or anything else that makes you look less professional.

3. Practice to Be Prepared

You've researched common interview questions and have some good examples of times when you've really shined on the job. But have you practiced them with someone you trust? Call a friend, mentor or career counselor to run through a few simple questions and give feedback. If you don't have someone to practice with, record yourself on your phone answering questions, or practice in the mirror. Watch for any problematic habits or body language, such as fidgeting, nail biting or looking at the floor.

4. Review Your Resume and Bring Copies

Just because you wrote your resume doesn't mean you have everything in it memorized. Before your first interview, study your resume one last time to refresh your memory about dates and job responsibilities. Also, look for problem areas like gaps in employment, low GPA or unexpected leave from a job and think about how you will address those in a first interview. Also, bring extra copies of your resume, just in case.

5. Get Your Rest and Take Care of Your Hygiene

It's a simple concept, but one that many miss during a first interview. Get a good night's sleep before the interview so that your brain is alert and ready to shine during the meeting. Always brush your teeth and shower before a first interview, and wear deodorant. Also, if you wear cologne or perfume, remember that some people are sensitive to scents so either skip it or apply it with a light touch.

6. Create an Emergency Kit

You might also consider packing an emergency kit for unforeseen glitches before your first interview. Include gel or hairspray, touch-up makeup, an umbrella, breath mints, a brush or comb, tissues or wipes, a small sewing kit and spot remover. This allows you to address any minor problems that arise without adding to your stress level right before your first interview.

7. Practice Positive Thinking and Visualization

The power of positive thinking is a very real thing; how you expect to do during the interview may affect your ultimate performance. Visualize yourself sailing through the interview successfully, and avoid negative thinking before your first interview. This will give you confidence and help you to avoid the small problems and mistakes that may come from expecting the worst.

Once you've run through the first interview checklist, you should be prepared and confident during your first interview.

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