Featured Q&A: Can I Really Be Too “Over Dressed” For A Job Interview?

LANDON LONG 1 Comment;

***Question From Reader***

Hey landon,
I read your book and it was a very good read, couldnt put it down. One question, what would a person wear for an interview for a trades job? I am applying for a job that Midwest Energy Coop posted for an Apprentice Lineman. I am not a person who likes to dress up much but I will if it means a job.

Thank You for trying to help those who are trying to help themselves.
Dan J.

(Name changed to initials for privacy)

>>>My Comments:

Hey Dan,

I’m glad you enjoyed my book! Thanks for the kind words, it means a lot 🙂

To get to your question, here’s what I recommend for your situation: Always dress 1 level above what everyone else wears in the company. In almost all instances I’d suggest wearing a suit & tie. You can never really be too “over dressed” for a job interview unless you’re wearing a tux. Even if you’re applying for a trades job, you need every little advantage to set you apart from your competition. If you’re afraid of looking stupid by being too “over dressed” for your industry – don’t be, because employers KNOW that its hard out there for job seekers and they’ll look favorably on you for putting the extra bit of effort that other tradesmen neglect.

(Take my word on this, I used to work in the construction industry for 3 years and I can tell you it doesn’t make a difference what industry you’re in… Employers appreciate professionalism and effort. Period.)

Keep in mind also that its not just about how you’re dressed but how you’ve demonstrated your value during the interview. And remember to “naked proof” your accomplishments. Dressing nice is only the icing on the cake. If you really want to STAND OUT, “translate your contribution” just like how you learned in my book.

Hope that helps! Let me know how your interview goes 🙂


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Does Your Previous Work Experience Turn Employers Off?

LANDON LONG 8 Comments;

upset26256257Have you ever wondered how to apply for jobs that are related to your major but don’t have anything to do with your previous work experience?

If so, you’re not alone. I’m going to teach you a concept that’ll not only help you gain more control and popularity in your job interviews, but it will also help you avoid looking like every other clueless candidate that walks in through their door.

I call this concept, Experience Alignment”.

So first things first, what is Alignment anyway? If you visit Wikipedia.org, it’ll define Alignment as the adjustment of an object in relation with other objects. So in other words Alignment means to “line up”.

Well in the context of interviewing and getting hired, “Experience Alignment” means to align your previous work experience with the kind of relevant experience that your prospective employer is looking for.

For example, if you want to work for a marketing firm, and your studying sales and marketing in college, but the only kind of experience you have is a part-time job being an insurance intern for 2 years, what do you think would be going on in the head of the hiring manager who’s interviewing you?

Do you think they’re going to see you as being very aligned with wanting to be in the marketing industry? What do you think you’d ideally like to see from a candidate?

Maybe someone who’s had some work experience in the field of marketing perhaps? Even if the position was an unpaid volunteer position for a non-profit marketing organization, wouldn’t you think that would look better than having work experience in a totally unrelated field? Or even worse, no experience at all?

“So how can I get my experience Aligned?

STEP 1: Take a look at your past experience and ask yourself, “Is there anything I can salvage from my already existing work experience?”

So if we take the example above, and lets say you happened to help your insurance employer hand out some flyers to unsuspecting people at a busy intersection to build a little local brand awareness. On your resume, you may want to consider putting an emphasis on the ”marketing” experience you gained instead of talking about answering phones or pushing insurance papers…

Are you following me?

You want to stay in alignment. Once you’ve broken down all of your existing previous work experience, and sucked all of your relevant experience dry, you’ll want to move on to the next step…

STEP 2: Focus on GETTING MORE EXPERIENCE… in your field of study.

I know. Painfully obvious isn’t it? But why don’t people ever do anything about this? Well for one, people will always gravitate towards the path of least resistance. Its just human nature. On one hand it might SEEM like it requires a lot of effort. But in reality its not all that difficult. It just requires a little WILL POWER and MOTIVATION.

I remember a few years ago, I had a friend in college who I gave this advice to and he was like, “Yeah, but that sounds like a lot of work… Maybe I’ll get to it someday in the future…” And low and behold, a few house parties later, he had completely drank away any memory about this advice and never did anything different. He just continued on with his life, totally unaware that his experience wasn’t aligned, and he dug himself deeper and deeper until one day he found out he’d have to move back in with his parents and give up his freedom for an entire year all because he didn’t have any relevant experience regardless of his major.

So if you don’t want that kind of future for yourself, ask yourself this, “What can I do to start getting more relevant experience?”

If you’re drawing a blank, how about switching part-time jobs if you’re currently employed? There’s some food for thought… Other things you might want to try are volunteering at industry-held charities or attending an event held by industry associations.

Think for a moment and try to come up with a list of some of your own ideas.

Once you’ve made your list, you can move onto the final step…

STEP 3: Get off your butt and TAKE ACTION.

Depending on how bad you want the job…  this can be a walk in the park, or it can be like pulling teeth with pliers if you’re not 100% committed to getting a job RIGHT NOW.  My advice? Get outside of your comfort zone and implement at least 1 item from your list TODAY! If you start CHANGING YOUR BEHAVIORS by actually doing something different than what you’ve been doing in the past, I guarantee you’ll start seeing result IMMEDIATELY.

So in the comments area below, let everyone know what YOUR experience has been, and maybe we can all help each other get some Alignment on our job search.

Happy hunting!


To learn more about how to get an "unfair advantage" over your competitors, grab a FREE copy of my new resume course that can help you succeed where other job seekers have failed. Click here to discover my FREE, newly released Resume Rebel video series.


Weird Job Interview Tips: (2009) Psychology Study Reveals Truth Behind First Impressions

LANDON LONG 3 Comments;

job interview tips

Psychology actually reveals some really helpful job interview tips.

Did you know that a potential employer forms an opinion about you within the first 15 seconds of meeting you?  You’re so nervous as you prepare for interviews- worrying about what to wear, what to say when asked this or that and making sure that you’re able to  prove what a catch you are that you often neglect the most IMPORTANT part of the interview process and fail to brush up on helpful job interview tips that matter.

In order to get an interview, you have to show them a good resume.  Resume wizards are helpful tools to get you started, but they’re so blah and boring and they’re not going to make someone say “WOW, I need to hire this person NOW!”

If you don’t make the right first impression with your resume, you’re not even going to be asked to come in for an interview so you need to make sure that you know what you’re saying with your resume as well as brushing up on job interview tips that are psychologically based.

Ultimately, your resume needs to say what you can’t since you’re not sitting on the employer’s desk singing your own praises.  At least I hope not… ha ha!

More importantly, you have to know what job interview tips work when trying to impress potential employers.

When it comes to finding the best job interview tips, first impressions are everything.  A 2009 Oregon University study delved into the topic of first impressions and proved that they really do mean everything when it comes to landing a job- and your resume may be the most important first impression you will ever make.  It doesn’t matter if you follow all of the best job interview tips in the book because if you’re resume sucks, you’re not going to get an interview anyways.

The study showed that after only a few seconds, we all take what the professor who oversaw the study, Professor  Bernieri, calls a “thin slice” impression of everyone we meet.  In an intial interview, you want to makes you’re sending the right signals and have honed in on the best job interview tips so you give a great first, “think slice” impression.  This also applies to resumes because after skimming through one, an employer gets a “thin slice” of who you are as a potential job candidate.

You know those times when you just get a gut feeling about someone?  You shouldn’t be surprised when you later find out that your first impression is right- you were just using the “thin slice” impression that Bernieri is talking about.  You take in everything that you notice in the first few seconds and come to a quick conclusion based on what you see.  I think we can all relate to that.

Most of the time you already know if you’re going to like someone or not before they even open their mouth to speak.  That’s why one of the best job interview tips is to keeps that thin slice perception in mind right from the get-go.

Sometimes you even let your initial assumptions about someone make you more apt to notice things about them that support your theories.  For example, if you sense before your friend’s new girlfriend even opens her mouth to speak that she’s kind of a ditz, you’re going to be on the lookout for signs of her acting like an airhead.  So when she asks you for the time, you’re going to think she doesn’t even know how to tell time rather than noticing the fact that she doesn’t wear a watch.  We look for things to support our initial impressions, even if they aren’t always right.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure that your resume is going to give potential employers the right first impression about you and that you’re following smart job interview tips during the interview.

If you say even one wrong thing, it could form the basis of the employer’s opinion about you, so you want to make sure you say everything right.

There was another study that took place at Tufts University in Massachusetts where the Professor, Nalini Ambady, asked her students to fill out an evaluation form of their first lecturer.  They had to tell her if they liked him, thought he was open and what their initial impressions were.

Two years later, after being tutored by the lecturer the entire time, Professor Ambady surveyed her students again.  It was no surprise to her that those initial impressions from two years earlier hadn’t changed at all.  They’d already pre-judged and had their minds made up before the tutoring even began, all based on the first time they met.  One of the most neglected job interview tips is to remember that the first time the employer lays eyes on you, they’re sizing you up and you need to be on top of your game.

These are non-conscious decisions that we all make- employers obviously do too.  It’s the human reaction.  If you start to think about it when you’re making these snap judgments, you’re less likely to make them, however an employer isn’t going to be thinking about that when they’re perusing your resume.  You’ve got one piece of paper to convince them of what type of worker you’re going to be, so you better make it good.  And you’ve got one opportunity to put these job interview tips into action, so you better make the most of it.

There is another study that demonstrates how sometimes our initial impressions can be wrong, but it’s much less likely that they will be.  Participants in this tried and true study are shown a short movie of a woman returning from work.  In one version of the movie she was labeled as a waitress, while in another she was labeled a librarian- even though she looked the same in each presentation.  People recalled things about her associated with the job title she was given even if it wasn’t true.  For example, those that saw the librarian video said that she was wearing glasses, even though she wasn’t.  It’s not that they were hallucinating, this just demonstrates how the thin slice first impression theory works.

You want to make sure that you’re not giving off the wrong impression with your resume and choosing job interview tips to follow along these same lines.  For example, don’t be remembered for the wrong reasons on your resume.  If it stands out because you spilled coffee on it, the initial impression the employer is going to get is that you’re messy.

So even if you do still have a decent resume and get called in for an interview, they may think your appearance is sloppy, even if it’s not.  Every shirt wrinkle could be shouting at them and you wouldn’t even see it coming.  It’s one of the best psychological job interview tips you could ever follow to make sure that you’re neat and tidy in appearance.

Believe it or not, you can control the way people perceive you.  If you come across as bubbly, energetic and friendly, they’re most likely going to like you.  This is why people who smile a lot, talk with their hands, and always seem upbeat are so well liked, while people who speak more mellow and don’t make a lot of facial expressions are usually not.  It’s common sense that following job interview tips that tell you to be friendly, open and happy are going to have a positive psychological impact on employers.

If you do fail to make a good impression on someone by choosing the right resume and job interview tips, it’s not necessarily too late.  We all know someone who we used to despise who we later find out is all right, but think about how long it probably took them to convince you of that.

So think about your job searching experience.  Have you sent out dozens of resumes and not received a single call back?  Your resume is most likely not giving out the right first impression about you.  Make the RIGHT statement with your resume- your livelihood depends on it.

Think of it as an introduction to a story.

The story is the interview and you have to preface your audience, or employer, so that they know what to expect when they meet you.  Don’t steer them wrong and you’ll guarantee yourself the job you want- it’s a scientific fact as proven in some of the studies mentioned above that the first impression you give is going to act as a guide to who you are on the job.  So make it a good one and put these job interview tips into motion.


To learn more about how to get an "unfair advantage" over your competitors, grab a FREE copy of my new resume course that can help you succeed where other job seekers have failed. Click here to discover my FREE, newly released Resume Rebel video series.


Job Interview Tips: 5 Tips For Wowing Prospective Employers

LANDON LONG 1 Comment;

job interview tipsInterviewing is such a social game, really.  The whole idea is to go in there and impress the hell out of someone, and that’s really the key.  You aren’t there to meet someone new.  You aren’t there to say, “Hey, can I have a job?”  You’re there to be the cool guy in the room and impress them long enough to hire you, and then hopefully you’ll live up to that impression and have a solid career for the long-run.

Here are 5 job interview tips to get you started on being that person and impressing your prospective employers.

1. Demonstrate Value

What it all really comes down to in any job interview tips is demonstrating and communicating value.  The thing that most clueless job hunters don’t realize is that this has more to do with your persona than with your credentials.

A demonstration of value is a state.  You don’t want to go in there like you desperately need a job or will take whatever you can get; you want to present yourself as if you are in your element, as if you could start the job that day and easily adapt.

The trick is to be confident, calm and centered.  Relaxed, but with a professional and sophisticated air.

2. Begin With the End in Mind

This famous piece of advice, originally presented by Stephen Covey, author of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” is just as applicable to job interview tips as anything else in life.  What do you want to communicate most in your interview?  What are your key messages, and what do you want the employer to be crystal clear about?

If you just go in there thinking you’ll just wing it and take anything they throw at you, you might pull it off if you’re a quick thinker, but you’re still going to be all over the place.  Determining your main communication goals beforehand gives you an overlying theme for your interview that will form as a foundation for any answers you give, even for completely off-the wall questions.

3. Get Clued-in

There is nothing more impressive in a job interview setting than a candidate who walks in the door knowing the company’s top issues, who key planners are, and what is going on in the industry.  This gives the interviewer a sense you are ready to get going right out of the gate.  Do extensive research beforehand, and be ready to talk like a professional.

4. Popping Out the Props

Employers love the candidate who walks in with props.  That doesn’t mean you should come in wearing a purple wig and making out with a mannequin, but come in like the super-employee with all the props that go with that role.

Bring the file you’ve collected about the company.  A notepad with questions you have brainstormed beforehand.  A couple extra copies of your resume and a portfolio.

Your portfolio can contain work samples, a writing example, a spreadsheet analysis, photographs of you in action, a specifically impressive letter of recommendation, and an “atta boy” letter from a satisfied boss or client.

Stick this all in a nice looking bag or briefcase and you have just become candidate of the year.

5. Image is Everything

Making the right choices for what gear to wear to a job interview is a finer balance than you might think.  Sure, you want to dress nice, but never dress nicer, or above, the interviewer.

That said, your clothes and appearance should be immaculate.  Take your outfit to the cleaners so your suit is crisp and spotless.  Shoes should be polished with no tatty heels. Get a fresh haircut and make sure to have a nice shave.

If you even choose to wear perfume or cologne, keep it subtle— this job interview tips is not for you to seduce someone here.  Subtlety is best for jewelry and makeup as well.

These basic job interview tips will get you started on the right foot and hopefully into a job.

Do you have any other job interview tips to share with your fellow readers?  In this economy, people can use all the help they can get.


To learn more about how to get an "unfair advantage" over your competitors, grab a FREE copy of my new resume course that can help you succeed where other job seekers have failed. Click here to discover my FREE, newly released Resume Rebel video series.