It’s the Small Things

Yesterday morning, I met with a human resources professional for coffee.  Being that I’m in the field of professional development, I have to stay abreast of changes in hiring practices so she and I discussed the impact that small things make.  So, here are a few jewels that I picked up from her to share with you all.

1 – Arrive at an interview early enough to step into the men’s or ladies’ room and freshen up.  And actually freshen up.  If your hair is long enough to comb, comb it.  The wind may have hit it in an unflattering way.  Make sure you have chapstick on so that people are more focused on what is coming out of your mouth than on how chapped your lips are.  Pop a mint real quick.  You only have one chance to make a first impression.  Do all you can to make it great.

2 – Polish your shoes ahead of time.  Nothing takes away from your appearance like a nice outfit with terribly scuffed shoes.  Sure, you might brush up on the sidewalk when walking into the building but one scuff isn’t so bad.  People can tell when your shoes haven’t been polished in years though.  That could be the difference in you getting or not getting the job.

3 – Wear clothes that are made for your body type.  That is a whole post in itself but that is what professional development consultants (like myself) are for.  You need someone who is going to tell you the truth if you don’t know it.  For instance, I cannot wear every brand of shirt or suit right off the rack.  Actually, I had to go get a suit tailored just yesterday because my arms are longer than my torso and I always purchase a 40 Regular and get it tailored when I really  need a 40 Short based on my height (but if I buy a 40 Short, my sleeves are too short. #VerticallyChallengedPeopleProblems).  But you don’t know what you don’t know, right?  Which is why, before I learned, I was wearing jackets that were coming down to my mid-thigh.

4 (my addition) – Always follow up after an interview.  Even if you find out that you’re not as interested in the position as you thought you were at the time you applied, drop off a Thank You card or, if you can’t drop off a card for some reason, at least send a Thank You e-mail the following business day.  And personalize it.  It is imperative that they remember you, even if you don’t want the job.  You never know when you may need to be remembered by that person again.  It’s a small world and the internet makes it even smaller.

Are there any other small things that make a big difference that you want to remind people of?  Toss it in the comments section.


Make professional development a priority.



  1. These are great tips. I think part of what is so great about these ideas is that they also make you feel more confident. Yes, freshening up improves the way others perceive you, but it ALSO improves the way you feel about yourself. Same with the clothes. A great outfit can make for a great day!


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