How to Get a Job.

Copyright© RitaSue Siegel Resources Inc. (New York City)


"You Don't get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression..."

P r e p a r e :

[1] Learn, in advance, as much as you can about a potential employer's
lines of business and how they are managing the design work they are
doing. Think about the best way to describe your experiences in order to
interest, relate to and influence the people you are going to meet. Develop
ways to describe the projects you select to show them with the same
purposes in mind. They want to know what it is about your work and
experiences that are relevant to their needs.

[2] Some of the people you will meet and show your work to will not be
designers, like human resource people. Develop metaphors to help them
understand the value of what you do. Also be prepared with the "business
reasons" for why a concept, design or system was a success. Show that you
understand that design is one element in the success of a product,
communication, service or environment by discussing how your work
increased sales, provided more value to the customer, opened new markets,
helped establish a brand or whatever is relevant. These things are
important if you do not have work to show that was done to solve design
problems in the same type of business/industry they are in.

[3] Think carefully about the appropriateness of showing examples of design
work done much earlier in your career. To many potential employers,
especially those who are not designers, older work simply looks outdated
and this may work against you. An interview is not the time for a history

[4] Be nice to everyone, including parking lot attendants,
receptionists and
telephone operators. Make as many friends as you can throughout the
interviewing process. Say "please" and "thank you" more frequently than

[5] An interview is a give-and-take situation. Establish a balance between
talking and listening. Don't try to dominate the conversation. Don't
over-explain, pontificate or "lecture" to the people you are
interviewing with.

[6] Do not reveal confidential information.

[7] Be a sympathetic listener. Ask open-ended questions designed to draw
out people so you can learn about them and how you may meet their needs.

[8] Respond with genuine interest and enthusiasm to the people you are
speaking with. Be lively and expressive. Never speak in a monotone. Don't
be afraid to laugh and SMILE. Make eye contact continually. Get
comfortable with the people you are interviewing with and meeting as soon
as you can. One of the most important criteria you are being evaluated
by is
whether or not you will fit into the group.

[9] Be prepared to discuss a variety of subjects people are interested
in --
music, sports, mystery novels, etc., especially if you are spending the day
with a potential employer or sharing a meal with them. Remind yourself to
be open, candid, direct and friendly.

[10] Always use simple language that is easy to understand. This is
especially important in multi-lingual situations. Speak slowly and
clearly but
in a natural manner to ensure that you are understood. Avoid jargon, trite
expressions and cliches.

[11] Rehearse: Ask your friends, associates or co-workers whose judgment
you trust, how you can improve the way you communicate. Ask them what
they would want to know about people who are looking for positions with
their companies. Anticipate questions from the people who will be
interviewing you and prepare appropriate answers.

[12] Be enthusiastic about the work in your portfolio or no one else
will be.
Do not show anything in your portfolio that you have to make excuses for.
Make sure your presentation is neat and well-organized and that you are
showing some of the process you go through in order to arrive at solutions.
Excellent design concept sketches are magical. Show examples of well-done
research, proposals, contact reports, etc.

[13] Be enthusiastic about the position you are interviewing for if you are
interested in it. Say that you are interested. Ask about next steps.

P e r s o n a l - P r e s e n t a t i o n :

[1] On the morning of the interview:

Take a shower or bath.
Wash your hair.
Play music that's uplifting and makes you feel good.
Brush your teeth. Use mouthwash and breath spray if necessary.
Carry breath spray with you in case you need it before your
Clean your nails. Women's nails should be short or moderate in length.
Use deodorant.
If using after-shave or perfume, use it sparingly.

[2] For men, suits are always appropriate. If you're not sure about what is
considered proper interviewing attire, call the secretary or assistant
to the
person you are going to meet to check local custom, especially in Southern
California. Also, shoes and socks, no sneakers.

[3] For women, business-like suits, dresses or skirts and blouses are best.
The color black, which is considered quite fashionable for every
occasion in
New York, does not always look correct in other parts of the world. Pants
are usually not the best choice for a first meeting. Wear stockings. Shoes
should be simple and closed -- no sandals or very high heels.
Exceptions can
of course be made in the entertainment or fashion industry. In most
situations, clothing should be neat and natural and not attention-grabbing.
You want the focus to be on your mind and work, not your outfit.

[4] Use jewelry sparingly. Don't wear anything that makes noise or will get
in the way of any motion you might make.

[5] A few days before your scheduled appointment, ask the recruiter for
driving or any other type of travel directions if necessary, even if
you are
taking a taxi. If there is any extreme of weather -- heat, rain, cold
and snow
-- prepare your schedule and yourself accordingly. Also get the location of
recommended parking and if you need a parking permit. If flying to an
appointment at the request of the client, inquire about whether or not you
will be picked up or are expected to rent a car, take a taxi or bus.
Also ask if
the client can buy the ticket and Fed Ex it to you.

[6] Be early. Plan to arrive at the site of your appointment between 15 and
30 minutes before the scheduled time. Planes and trains can be late, and
traffic, especially in extremes of weather, can be unpredictable. You
or the
taxi may have difficulty finding the address, parking, or the
particular office
once you are in a building or building complex. If it is very hot, you will
welcome the extra time to get cool in the reception area or the rest
room. If
it is raining, you will be able to unwrap the protection on the slide
and/or portfolio you are carrying, remove wet clothing and footgear and
have time to re-groom yourself. If it is cold and snowy, you will have time
to remove the protective gear you are wearing, change from boots to shoes,
and hide all of the wet stuff in a closet.

[7] If you must wait for the person with whom you will be meeting, use the
time wisely. Refresh your memory: read your resume and the materials the
company provides about themselves in the waiting area. Be interested in
your surroundings. Do not listen to a walkman.

Copyright© RitaSue Siegel Resources Inc. (New York City)