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7 Helpful Do's and Don'ts When Interviewing for a Job

#3. Don't Act Like a Jerk

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Are you a jerk? We certainly hope not, but on the off chance that you are, try to dial down the diva behavior for at least the duration of the interview. We already explained that incessant bragging about your past career accomplishments is a no-no. That goes double for talk of that free-throw contest you "totally dominated" last week. While you should use the interview to showcase your talents and strengths, make sure you don't go overboard on the self-praise.

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"So with 152 Twitter followers, I'd say I'm a pretty big deal on the Internet."

Boorish behavior isn't restricted to things you say. Acting like you have better places to be is one of the many ways you're keeping yourself unemployed. Don't drape yourself over your chair like you're settling in to watch a Judge Judy marathon. Avoid checking your cellphone and sending texts during the interview. Even if you'd rather be home playing Minecraft, at least feign polite interest when you're told about the company plans for adding a new snack machine to the break room.

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"Junior Mints and Chunkys? What's wrong with these people."

Tip: Be polite. Keep your focus on the interviewer and the conversation at hand. Make sure your posture and overall body language project a positive image.

#2. Don't Be Desperate

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We get it. You've been out of work so long that you are willing to say or do almost anything to get that job. But remember, everyone likes to align themselves with a winner. When you ooze desperation like a stray cat, you may elicit sympathy, but you'll do nothing to further your career. Make sure to avoid the following:

1. Overly fawning behavior. Of course, as we mentioned above, you should be polite. But when you start complimenting everything from the lobby carpet to the interviewer's tasteful choice of necktie knot, you dilute any authentic enthusiasm you have for the job.

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"These are the cube-iest cubicles I've ever seen!"

2. Oversharing. In the age of reality TV, where disclosing an odd proclivity is celebrated with a TLC series deal, it's hard to remember that offering up personal turmoil isn't going to help land you work in the real world. You may gain some pity points if you reveal your struggles with lactose, but this will not get you a job.

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"No pizza *sob*, no ice cream *sob* ... sooooo what's your benefits package like?"

3. Begging for work. This job may be the difference between eating yet another pack of Top Ramen or finally having the financial power to introduce the vastly superior Cup o' Noodles to your diet. Whatever threshold you're at, keep your dignity intact and do not beg for the job.

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"Just saying, hire me and you've got your pick of two perfectly healthy kidneys to choose from."

Tip: Dial back the fawning behavior. Be sincere in your praise and keep conversations as professional as possible.

#1. Do Clean Up Your Online Presence

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Your friends may have enjoyed viewing your mud-covered human pyramid at Burning Man via the filtered magic of Instagram, but your future employer may have other thoughts on your hard-partying apres-work persona. To really be ready for an interview, you have to make sure your online social media accounts don't contain anything harmful to your professional image. And don't forget old accounts. Is that Myspace page you haven't thought about in years a photo essay of that Mardi Gras trip in 2006?

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"How did they even get that much gumbo?"

Tip: Look through your accounts with the eye of a judgmental employer and get rid of anything that seems questionable. Remember: The Internet has a long memory. Make sure to hit up long-forgotten sites where you may have a presence.

Follow these tips and avoid the potential pitfalls and before you know it, you'll be punching the clock in no time -- or at least be in the queue for a second interview.

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Diana Cook

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