(ARA) - Whether you are a new graduate or recently unemployed, competition remains fierce in the current job market. Things you may never guess could be eliminating you as a candidate. Are you making some major interview mistakes without even knowing it?
In fact, your first impression may be eliminating you as a candidate before you even get started.
To put your best foot forward, avoid these critical mistakes:
Mistake: Unprofessional online presence
In today's modern world where sharing personal information happens 24/7/365 on the Internet, it's very important to monitor your online presence when applying for jobs. That means even before you submit a resume, you should do an Internet search on your name to see the results, update your social media pages, and make sure your activity on photo and video sites is appropriate.
Start by cleaning up your online profiles, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. Delete inactive accounts and update the privacy settings on current ones. With Facebook's recent timeline switch, it's important to look back at old activity, since the new format makes it simple to see information even from years ago. Inappropriate posts, photos or videos from you or your contacts can be enough to land your resume in the trash. In a tough job market, employers want responsible, trustworthy employees, or at the very least, someone who can keep their personal life out of the public domain.
Mistake: Not smiling and crooked teeth
Nearly one-third of Americans say the first aspect of someone's face they typically notice is his or her teeth, according to a recent Kelton study. Teeth also influence perceptions regarding an individual's potential for professional and financial success. The study found that, when looking at images, Americans perceive those with straight teeth to be 45 percent more likely than those with crooked teeth to get a job when competing against someone with a similar skill set and experience.
The importance of a nice smile and straight teeth cannot be overlooked when trying to get a job. A smile can convey friendliness, and having straight teeth can project trustworthiness, success, wealth and more. Given the emphasis placed on straight teeth, it may be worth investing in an increasingly popular treatment option for adults and teens such as Invisalign. These clear aligners straighten teeth like metal braces, yet are nearly invisible, more comfortable, and make maintaining good hygiene simple because they are removable.
"In recent years I've had many patients requesting Invisalign treatment to straighten their teeth so that they have an edge in the job market," says Dr. Ken Fischer in Villa Park, CA. "My job-seeking adult patients really appreciate being able to improve their smile without 'railroad tracks' on their teeth. This is a worthwhile investment because straight teeth help give you confidence. A healthy, beautiful smile always makes a positive first impression."
Mistake: Bad posture and body language
During an interview, it's not just your experience and answers to questions that gets noticed. Within the first few minutes of an interview, your body language provides many different cues to the hiring manager. Every interview is stressful, but how you respond to this stress gives the interviewer a taste of how you perform under pressure and how you may conduct yourself as a future employee.
Be confident, yet relaxed. Remember to make eye contact and have good posture. If you have a briefcase, purse or jacket, find an appropriate place to put them, not on your lap. Don't cross your arms or hide your hands, it makes you appear passive and nervous. Gestures can be a good way to convey your enthusiasm for the job, but don't overdo it. Practice makes perfect, so run through the interview process with someone in advance and have him or her critique your nonverbal cues. You might have a nervous tic or other bad habit of which you're not even aware.
Avoiding these mistakes and heeding advice like updating your online profiles and straightening your teeth with Invisalign will help you make a great first impression, opening the door for your experience and skills to truly take the spotlight.