There are other ways you can stand out as well...
Practice talking about the company and pretend you are presenting to the board of directors or the managers who will be interviewing you - this is a visualization exercise that can draw upon during the actual interview. Describe your observations in your own words in a clear manner and it's okay to use graphs and charts if you can explain what they mean and how they are relevant to your interview.
Employers want to know that you understand their issues and that you can articulate solutions. They want to feel confident in your ability to represent their company and message.
Make a good first impression by arriving on time and dressing appropriately for the specific environment.
When you are introduced make eye contact and have a firm handshake.
Be aware that you are being interviewed from the moment you arrive at the front door until you complete all the tasks. What this means is that the front desk is interviewing you, the assistants are interviewing you, the manager is interviewing you, etc. Be polite to everyone because everyone will be comparing notes when you leave.
Before and once you get the job, treat everyone with respect and professionalism from the guards, the housekeepers, to the cooks, to the supervisors, to your peers, to the board of directors. Everyone has an important job and contributes to the overall success of the organization at every level. Everyone has something to teach you.
Try to learn something about the corporate culture ahead of time if you can. While many companies appear to be similar or do the same thing, cultures can be very different. You might gravitate to start-ups or prefer traditional environments. Think of company culture as the glue that holds the company together: it is intangible but a big part of the company's identity - kind of like a personality. You might see clues in their marketing, commercials, or websites. A good example is the difference between Southwest Airlines and American Airlines. They both fly planes but look at their mission statements and you will see they have very different approaches to how to run a company. Both are excellent companies but the company culture is truly unique in each case.
Be prepared to ask good questions. You are interviewing the companies as much as they are interviewing you. Be polite and listen carefully to each question. Make eye contact during the interview and have a firm handshake before and after. Make sure your resume is spell checked. Practice a variety of interview questions about your skills as well as how you react to different situations.
Thank you notes are really important because they give you the opportunity to stand out, communicate one more time with the interviewer, and show that you are professional.
Good luck and keep us posted!
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