Becoming the Job Candidate Every Employer Wants
By Thiyagarajakumar Ramaswamy, CEO/Director/Coach/Mentor/Think Tank

In a competitive job market, first impressions count more than ever. Here are a few pointers for selling yourself and your skills - and avoiding common pitfalls - in any interview.

1. Don't just say you're creative. Show the interviewer what you've done and the results. How did you solve a problem, save your company money, or create a new department? Be specific.

2. Avoid meaningless name-dropping. If you don't know the influential people well enough to make a difference to your new employer, don't mention them.

3. Describe exactly how you can add value. Know your prospective employer well enough to know how you can solve a problem for them, and then tell them how you can do it.

4. Avoid discussing your current boss. This one's a no-brainer. People talk, and this is not in your best interest now or in the future.

5. Avoid anything with political overtones. Every company has its own climate and culture. Politics are present everywhere, and you don't want to be identified with a particular view or issue unless it's part of what you're being hired to do.

6. Educate about your authorships, presentations and associations. This identifies your ability to network and create influence, and that's definitely an added value to your prospective employer.

7. Practice your interview skills before you get there. Being confident in your talents, skills, and abilities is great. But do your homework on the prospective employer and new boss. Anticipate the questions, and be ready with your answers. Winging your interview can cost you.

8. Talk about team projects you have done. Focus on the challenging projects you've done with others, not on controlling. You want to be identified as a team player, not a bully.

9. Be computer-literate and Internet-savvy. Being a dinosaur when it comes to technology is not a value-add. Show you can access information you need to get the job done.

10. Emphasize your high-level experience and your results. Demonstrate your ability to get results and manage people well by motivating them and creating cohesive teams.