Interviewing for a new job ranks right up there with root-canal work when it comes to the things we dread.
In today's tough job market, a winning approach is more important than ever and has three components: research, qualifications and, most important, self-presentation.
* Research: Check your library's database for newspaper clips about the company to which you're applying.
* Qualifications: Are you really qualified to handle the job for which you're applying? If you think you are, prove it to yourself by reviewing your education, experience and training, then document these qualifications in an easy-to-read fashion.
* Self-presentation: Prepare for an interview by visualizing yourself as poised, articulate, mature, attractive, confident and knowledgeable.
"Can you tell me something about yourself?" is the most often asked -- and most dreaded -- first question from job interviewers. Be ready for it!
Concentrate on how your work experience qualifies you for the job in question. Be specific, and stop at regular intervals to ask if the interviewer would like to hear more.
Watch your speech patterns. Banish forever from your vocabulary the words "you know," "cool," "totally," "neat," "OK, "uh," and "umm."
Check your body language in front of a full-length mirror. If you habitually slump, fidget, twitch or chew your nails, plan to leave these habits at home on the day of your interview.
Be sure your handshake is firm but not bone-crushing. Do not crowd an interviewer's space or shrink away from him or her.
Be sure your clothes, shoes, makeup and jewelry show you as a sensible, mature person who's serious about her work.
Finally, keep in mind that any job is an exchange of work for money -- value for value -- not a gift or a handout. Speak as if you recognize your own value, and expect the person who's interviewing you to recognize it as well.