What employer wouldn’t want someone sharp working for his or her organization? In any profession, there’s a lot to be gained by presenting yourself in as thoughtful and intelligent a manner as possible.
1. Dress like the boss.
Unless you’re trying to get a job at Disney, leave the Mickey Mouse tie at home and stick to a more traditional pattern. Choose the same type of clothing you’d expect the boss to wear. Unless you’re in a very creative field, err on the side of conservative clothing that quietly speaks to your intelligence and good taste.
2. Speak the lingo.
Before your interview, learn the talk of the industry. Get up to speed on the jargon of the industry—then use the terms appropriately in the interview.
3. Get rid of non-words.
Want to instantly seem more articulate? Get rid of filler words in your speech. Start with the most glaring non-words, such as “um,” “er” and “like.” Drop them, and you’ll come across intelligent and professional.
4. Practice your stories.
The more confidently you can speak about your experiences, the smarter you’ll come across to your prospective employer. Review the important points of your career, and rehearse them several times in the days before the interview.
5. Ask questions.
Have a question or two prepared for when the employer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” Asking intelligent questions shows you’ve done your research and you’re interested in learning more. The responses you get also will help you decide if you truly want to pursue the position.