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To continue our series of life after college, we have Jon McDonald here from The Meyocks Group. Jon recently graduated from Drake University with a degree in marketing and advertising. He now works at an ad agency in West Des Moines. In his spare time he enjoys exploring Des Moines and making music. Here are his thoughts on how to approach the interview.
When going to an interview, it is important to dress the part. Try and learn the most you can about the culture and regular attire in the workplace. You can even ask the receptionist at some offices. My grandpa says you should always dress your best and I generally agree. I prefer to wear a suit because it gives me confidence and shows that I respect the opportunity and company.
Depending on your personality, professional attire may be a bit restricting. For the gentleman, self-expression should be demonstrated through a tie or wristwatch. Something that stands out and shows there’s something more about you. It shouldn’t be too crazy, but have a bit of fun with it! For the lady, close-toed shoes are your best bet with an outfit that isn’t too loud. Jewelry is a great self-expression tool, but don’t overdo it.
It is sometimes acceptable to be more liberal with your attire, but it’s always best to play it safe. For a good visual, check out this Pinterest board.
Regarding what to bring to an interview, you’ll need something to write notes on and something to write notes with. Even if you don’t have a lot to take notes on, use it! This shows that you are engaged and are interested in what the person is saying. This works very well for specifics and also to acknowledge the answers to the questions you ask them. I bring a simple 8.5×11 memo pad with a slim, black leather cover. Avoid anything that is too big or full of other materials.

Most importantly, always be ready for a handshake at any time! Keep your notepad in your left hand so your right hand is available.

I try to bring only a notepad when going to an interview. When a bag is necessary, it’s important to bring the right one. Women should choose an appropriate bag large enough to carry the materials for the interview. Avoid anything noisy or flashy, understated is always better. Guys should have a professional bag used for these situations.

You also need some leave-behinds. Your resumé should definitely make the trip. Bring 3-5 copies because you never know who you’ll run into! I would suggest printing some on nice paper at a Kinko’s or OfficeMax to keep in your folder.

Business cards are the icing on the cake. You’ve probably heard it before, but they are a must! You can order free (or incredibly cheap) cards from sites such as www.vistaprint.com, or you can go for something out of the ordinary using www.moo.com. Your business card is the lasting impression they will have of you. These are also great for networking and could possibly lead you to a job interview so always have at least 3-5 cards with you!

Finally, don’t forget a smile! Smiling shows openness, allowing people to warm up to you. If it is a phone interview, this can be your greatest asset as smiling while on the phone will enrich a conversation by adding trust and confidence!

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Dressing the part
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