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Tips on Preparing for a Job Interview for the Homeless (click anywhere on this bar)

Your living situation will determine how you will deal with preparing for your interview. If you are living in a camper it will be easy. If however you are in a van, car, or tent, it will take some planning. You need to make a good impression with your clothing and hygiene.

1. First thing is to make a resume and have a few copies of with you. You can easily make a free resume here: Be sure you have references on it. For each person include their name, title, organization, division or department, telephone number, and email address, and give a sentence explaining the relationship. Have your resume ready. Make sure you have a pen and some paper with you in case you need to jot down a note.

2. Find a place to clean up. You can shower, change clothing, and groom at the YMCA (they have low income discounted memberships), fitness gyms (Planet Fitness has a $10 a month plan), truck stops, camp grounds, homeless shelters, and public pools. College and University locker rooms are easy to slip in if you don’t attract attention. If those options are not available, you can clean with “Wet Ones” baby wipes. Another way to clean up is use a spray bottle. Wet your skin and apply soap lightly. Camp soap works well and is easy to remove. After soaping, up wipe off with a paper or cloth towel. Micro-fiber towels are super light and dry very fast and easy to clean and reuse. Be sure to check the little things such as clean and trimmed fingernails, nose hair, etc.

3. Wear clean cloths that are not wrinkled, make sure your shoes are clean. Good appearance is essential. It is a good practice to keep some clean clothes in a friend’s house, in a locker, or in a vehicle if you have one.

4. Study the company where you are applying. Check out their website, Facebook, Google them. Know what they do. Have knowledge of the position you are applying for. If you know who you will be meeting, try to find out a little about them. Many companies have a list with photos of their employees on their website.

5. Be a good listener as the interviewer explains anything about the company and the position.

6. Spend some time prior to the interview reflecting on your past jobs so you can speak about them if asked.

7. Know what your abilities are and be prepared to state them simply and honestly. Example: I have ten years’ experience as a forklift operator and know how to safely operate almost any model”. If you have had positive affect at previous jobs you may want to talk about that. For instance: When I worked for —– I was able to increase the efficiency of their shipping department by —–.

8. A typical question you will be asked is: “Tell me about yourself”. Be ready to have an answer to that. It can make or break getting hired.

9. Have a few thoughtful questions when it is your turn to ask. This will show that you have been paying attention and have done your homework. Do not go “off-topic”.

10. Make a cheat sheet to have with you of the names of the people you will be speaking to. Questions you will ask, background on the company. Have your checklist on it for anything you will bring such as ID, special permits such as equipment operator license.

11. Use good body language. Sit up straight, do not cross your arms or legs. Think about how you will present yourself ahead of time.

12. Get a good night’s sleep before the interview. Being tired will lessen the overall quality of your presence and alertness.

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