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No matter which sectors you target, employers can afford to be pickier than ever because there are so many applicants for each available opening. To maximize your advantage, Boyer suggests you bring the following four assets with you to interviews:
Flexibility. This year even more than in the past, it's essential that you be available to work whenever you're needed, including nights, weekends, and what retailers call Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) - or even, in a restaurant, catering, or movie theater job, on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Warns Boyer: "If you aren't willing to take on inconvenient hours, the person behind you in line will be."
Enthusiasm. "You need to show a genuine upbeat attitude," says Boyer, "because interviewers want you to pass that along to customers and co-workers."
Knowledge. Study up on each company and its products or services, especially if the job requires you to deal directly with customers. "Around the holidays, with the crowds and the stress, customers tend to get impatient, and if you can't answer their questions, they get even more irritated than at other times of the year," notes Boyer. Job interviewers are well aware of this, so go in knowing your stuff.
Experience. As with any other job interview, applying for a job you've done before gives you a real leg up. If not, look back over your work history and try to find something similar. That part-time job waiting tables that you had in college, for instance, might have taught you a thing or two about mollifying dissatisfied customers, so be ready to talk a bit about that.