Hey, almost-grad, if you’re about to head out into the working world, here are a few interview tips to improve your odds of getting hired: 

  • #1: Ditch your cell phone. Gladys Stone wrote the book Goal! Your 30-Day Game Plan for Career Success. And she says that a lot of us treat cell phones as fashion accessories – like watches. So, it’s common for job applicants to walk into an interview and plop their phone on the desk. But that sends the message “I might get a text or call that’s more important to me than getting this job.” You’re much better off putting your phone on silent, and leaving it in your pocket.

  • Another interview tip: Sell yourself. Management expert Fred Whelan says most first-time job seekers don’t elaborate enough on their summer jobs and volunteer activities. So, if you’re asked about your volunteer work at the animal shelter, don’t say something basic, like “I answered the phones and showed people dogs.” Instead, talk yourself up by saying something like: “I communicated with clients. And helped them decide which animals were a good fit for their lifestyle.”  Of course, you don’t want to stretch the truth. Just be specific about the ways your skills benefitted the organization.

  • Also: Be enthusiastic. Let the interviewer know you’re excited about the company, the job, and the people you’ve met so far. And that you appreciate their time. 

  • And the final interview tip: Ask for the interviewer’s business card. That way, you’ve got the correct address for a thank-you note. And if you get a second interview, you’ll be able to tell the people you meet with exactly who you’ve already talked to.