A person sets a cup of coffee next to a laptop computer, journal and pen, and potted plant.Video conferencing platforms such as Skype offer the ability to speak with people around town or around the world from the comfort of your own home or office. It is a great tool for job or informational interviews. Here are seven tips on how to maximize virtual meetings as a career tool.

Video conferencing platforms such as Skype and Google Hangouts are great tools for job interviewing – they let you speak with professionals from around the world and often make interviews easier to arrange, since meetings can occur amid people’s everyday activities, wherever they are in the world. Yet users need to be aware of the unique concerns of virtual interviewing.

Following are seven tips to maximize your virtual meeting, based on information from Kuru.com and TheMuse.

  1. Pick a Good Location

An interview shouldn’t be held in your clutter-filled garage or your messy bedroom. Find a view that will exude confidence and professionalism and won’t distract from the interview. Make sure the area behind you is uncluttered and clean because this will be a clear focal point of the people interviewing you and you don’t want any distractions.  Choose a well-lit area where plenty of light hits both the wall behind you and your face, avoiding any shadows.  Definitely pick somewhere quiet to avoid any unwanted noise.

  1. Dress Professionally

Remember, a video interview is still an in-person interview. Choose attire that matches the occasion. If you are looking for a professional job, that will likely mean a suit and tie. Also, make sure your whole body is dressed professionally, to avoid any embarrassing moments.

  1. Make Sure Your Technology is Working Properly

Nothing can spoil a virtual interview faster than malfunctioning technology. Avoid mishaps or interruptions by testing your computer first.  Plug in your laptop so you have no power issues and be sure you know how Skype or iChat works.  Turn off any email alerts or anything that could make any noise while you are being interviewed.

  1. Rehearse with a Friend or Colleague

While you’re checking your equipment, you might also want to practice an interview with someone you know and trust, just as you would for a traditional interview. It always helps to have another pair of eyes and ears examining your interview behavior and to let you know how the overall setting you’ve created comes off on camera.

  1. Use a Professional Username

It is always best to use your personal name as your username for whatever video conferencing platform you are using. Avoid nicknames and numbers.  You want to come across as professional.  Don’t let an immature or distracting handle get in the way of impressing your interviewers.

  1. Maintain Eye Contact

Looking directly at the webcam will ensure that you are looking straight at your interviewer. If you are using a laptop, it might help to prop up your computer to make this position comfortable for you.  But don’t overdo the eye contact, just as you wouldn’t in real life–the important thing is to keep it natural and not have it appear that you are reading from a piece of paper or are distracted by something in your apartment.

  1. Have a Great Close

Just as you would with a traditional interview, thank the interviewer for his or her time, briefly restate your interest in the job, and send a thank you email.

For more career advice, visit Mihaylo Career Services at SGMH 1409. For more information, visit them online, call 657-278-8738 or email MihayloCareers@fullerton.edu.

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