Whether you’re getting ready to shoot your video resume or preparing for your next job interview, if you’re like me, you’re probably keeping yourself occupied with restless thoughts about what you’re going to say and reassuring yourself that you’re not going to freeze up.
What you’re going to say is obviously important for these two events, but recall that more than half of your communication is nonverbal. This means that you could be conveying quite a bit of unwanted information to a potential employer through your body language if you’re not careful. Awareness of your personal body language mishaps is essential to making your video resume and interviewing skills as successful as possible!
Although we all know the obvious body language faux pas, such as not fidgeting with our hands or twirling our hair, there are some additional body language guidelines that you may not have consciously considered before. Read them and see what you think:
1. Your arms belong on the edge of the desk or arms of the chair. I used to sit on my hands during interviews as a way to keep myself from fidgeting. Experts say, however, that hiding your hands on your lap or under the table doesn’t make you appear as open to the interviewer. Also, remember to keep your hands out of your pockets and off of your hair and to avoid fidgeting at all costs! Lastly, don’t attempt to make wild gestures or “talk with your hands” to emphasize certain words or sentences. Gesturing can actually make you look nervous. It will also interrupt the space between you and the interviewer.
2. Sit upright and slightly forward in your chair. As you probably already know, leaning back makes you look too relaxed and unengaged, but leaning too far forward makes you look too aggressive and intense. According to experts, leaning slightly more forward than neutral makes you look engaged without making you look overly assertive.
3. No arm-folding! This one is a given. It screams unapproachable and unfriendly.
4. If you need to hold a prop to keep your hands still and feel more comfortable, then do so! Some people feel better when they’re holding a pen, saying that it makes them feel grounded and helps to prevent them from fidgeting. Give it a try if you haven’t done so. Just be sure that you only hold the pen – not fidget with it.
5. Don’t stare. Yes, maintaining good eye contact is the way to go, but don’t take this to the extreme and intensely stare in an unnatural (and creepy!) way. You don’t want the interviewer to feel like prey being watched by an eagle. It is natural to break eye contact every so often. Also, if there are two or more interviewers in the room, be sure that you are maintaining consistent eye contact with all of them.
6. You’re not a bobble head. While nodding can confirm that you are listening to and engaging with what the interviewer is saying, avoid excessive nodding. It makes you look ridiculous! Experts note that women are especially prone to making this mistake.
Armed with these tips, you’re all set to make a video resume with polished and perfected body language. Create a free Jobma profile today, upload your video resume, and start applying for jobs immediately!
Note: Special thanks to Business Insider and Forbes for providing the inspiration for this blog post.