It is summer job hunting season. That means applications and job interviews.

The topic has come up frequently around me lately, so here’s my top 10 list. This is simply getting a foot in the door, and maybe getting that first crappy job to tell your kids about some day. We all need that experience. But it is also good advice for the seasoned searcher. Things change, so you need to as well.

Most schools do not give great advice in this area, so you are reliant on failing at real life, talking to managers (as I do), or really doing your homework.

So, in no particular order (somewhat), here are my top 10 that I am telling people about. (When they listen…and even when they don’t)

  1. Do your homework. Look the place up online, talk to staff, know how they make money. Know how they like receive information.
  2. Do not go for the ‘Help Wanted’ sign. Some places have that sign as a permanent fixture for a reason. Look to places you would frequent and with whom you could at least start a conversation.
  3. Shorten your resumé. One page. Key details, no cool fonts, no WordArt. Don’t even put your references on there. Get rid of flowery language. Just the facts, ma’am.
  4. Objectives and attributes…sigh, they know you want a job. A good interviewer will know what you bring to the table in 10 minutes, so don’t get lost in the shuffle before you get there. One or two lines at most.
  5. Valuable applicable information. Small work history? Then highlight something key that you did and required effort and fortitude. Not every moment you got out of your chair, but consider what would be considered an experience to share.
  6. Wear something a little nicer than you might normally. No slogans, ripped jeans, or a dirty hat. Don’t draw attention away from your charm and ability by your clothing choices.
  7. Smile and make eye contact.
  8. Have a conversation. Practice on people that know how to. Repeatedly. Show care in your words even if you may not. Ask questions, even if you know everything about the place already. Show interest in the person and the place.
  9. Show up on time.
  10. Put your phone away. Turn it off before you get there. You have nowhere else to be.

Ok, I will have to add an 11… Share your best self, but don’t sell yourself. Neither you or the potential employer will be happy with big promises or constant schedule adjustments because you are not as available as stated. If they want more of you than you are able or willing to give, then think about whether this is the place for you.

There you have it! I’m sure there are more items to add and more detail to go into on the matter. No, I can’t get a job for you, but this should help you get started.

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