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Shaking the cobwebs off your job interview skills

Feb 23, 2012, 8:14 a.m.

Maybe you're bored with your current job, want to start a new career or just feel like working. If you're lucky in your job hunt, you're going to end up with that thing called an interview. Even if the last time you had a job interview was when gas cost $1.12 per gallon or Nixon was president, you surely remember job interview advice from the past -- your skills just need a little dusting off. Don't forget these important tips before you head in to face your future:

Revamp your resume. You could pull out that yellowed paper that was once a resume, or you could create a new one altogether -- paying particular attention to your background and skills that match the job for which you're interviewing. Reminding yourself of your past achievements and performance can help pump you with the confidence that can help you net the new position.

Kill off desperation. Just like dogs can smell fear and mothers can smell cigarette smoke on their teens, job interviewers can smell desperation. Don't exude it. Calm yourself before the interview with meditation, deep breathing and yet another review of your stellar qualifications on your updated resume.

Listen and let the interviewer lead. Listening more than you talk lets you fully answer the question being asked rather than spewing out a rehashed response you practiced in the mirror 72 times. Not that practicing in the mirror is bad, but you don't want to provide a pat, rehearsed answer when a question requires deeper thinking and a more spontaneous response. Letting the interviewer lead lets you match her tone and style of speech, which can help her to remember you as someone aligned with her way of thinking.

Be cautious with the casual. Although workplaces are typically more casual now than ever before, treat the interview as a formal event. Dress to match an interview, not the working environment. Also refrain from being too familiar with the interviewer, replacing the "Hiya Jane," with "Thank you for the interview, Ms. Doe." Being too casual with your information is another faux pas, as too much information can sour your chances. Jane doesn't need to know the pain of childbirth and raising two kids while you were out of the job market, but she may be interested in how successfully running the family budget adds to your bookkeeping background. And you don't need to mention your last interview happened when Nixon was president.

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