…. that just so happens to be administered by your ex-girlfriend!

Congratulations! You’ve been selected from a competitive pool of qualified applicants for a job interview, but now what? I’m here to help you gain an advantage in today’s ultra-competitive job market by providing you with tips I collected during my last job interview — which just so happened to be with my ex-girlfriend Lilly (Lilly and I dated for fifteen months and she’s a textbook Pisces. She’s pretty great.). Here are the do’s and don’ts you need to know to nail that job interview!

Do: Provide a firm handshake!
Don’t: Bring flowers to your job interview!

It’s reasonable to conclude that presenting flowers to someone might make them think, “This person is really serious about the job and is probably dating a plethora of fun new sexy people,” but it mostly just results in furrowed brows and the elongation of the word okay.

Do: Bring along multiple copies of your resume to the job interview.
Don’t: Lie on your resume when the person interviewing you knows for a fact you have no idea how Microsoft Excel works.

Noting that a calculator was “good enough for former president Lyndon B. Johnson” is a good, but not great, way to conceal your attempt at deception.

Do: Ask questions and take detailed notes.
Don’t: Bring your cat, Detective Pajamas, with you to the job interview.

Even if you and your interviewer co-owned an adorable Norwegian Forest cat for fifteen wonderful months, it’s unprofessional to bring a pet, even one as adorable as Detective Pajamas, to a job interview.

Do: Respond to inquiries with specific instances that highlight your credentials.
Don’t: Fabricate your relationship with television’s Melissa Joan Hart.

Alluding to the fact that you may be in a romantic relationship with Drive Me Crazy star Melissa Joan Hart is frowned upon in most modern job interviews. Melissa Joan Hart is happily married with three children. If you feel as though you need to embellish your romantic escapades so you can exit the room with a modicum of dignity, I suggest keeping your dishonesty as vague as possible. Perhaps mention you recently met an actress from the hit series Pretty Little Liars for drinks but you two are “keepin’ it casual.”

Do: Make eye contact.
Don’t: Make prolonged eye contact while repeatedly whisper singing “I’m never gonna dance again. Guilty feet have got no rhythm.”

Even if the person interviewing you “should have known better than to cheat a friend,” this is not socially acceptable behavior for a professional forum.

Do: Highlight relevant job experience on your resume that promotes your unique brand of expertise.
Don’t: Attach a personalized sonnet to the back of your resume.

I’ve found that it’s best to stick with a traditional resume and cover letter. Despite the fact that you composed a luminous piece of art that divinely juxtaposes the university your interviewer attended (Colorado) with the way her hair smells in the autumn (avocado).

Do: Send a follow-up “thank you” email.
Don’t: Text your interviewer lyrics from the Oasis single “Wonderwall.”

This also applies to Jewel’s game-changing classic “You Were Meant For Me,” Billie Myers’ seminal ‘90s anthem “Kiss the Rain,” and every other song ever written. If you absolutely must send a text message, do not follow-up said message three hours later with a statement like, “That’s what I was afraid of” followed by a frowny emoticon, another frowny emoticon, an accidental semicolon, and a frowny emoticon.

Remember, the perfect job interview, much like the notion of love or happiness, is a myth. Arrive early, express your distinct personality, and don’t send an “I’m ‘beary’ sorry” bear along with a box of chocolates to the office before a three-day weekend. The chocolate will melt. It always does.

Josh Sorokach is a freelance writer living in New York City who will almost always compliment you on your hoodie. You can follow him on Twitter at @Joshsorokach.

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