You're dressed to the nines, your palm's a bit sweaty and you're about to meet up with someone very important to you. You could be on a first date or you could be headed into that big interview. The fact is, these two vital social rituals are not so different from each other, and that can help you shine in either situation. Here are five ways to impress your date – or your prospective boss. (Ace your interview by learning how to break down the most common questions asked, in Top 9 Venture Capital Interview Questions.)

In Pictures: 6 Ways To Save Money This Summer

  1. Dress to Impress
    How you look is a crucial factor in first impressions – it might seem shallow, but it's true. An interviewer has scant time to form an opinion about you, so presenting the right image should be a priority. Not only should your appearance be neat and tidy; consider the position you are applying for and use that as a guideline for how you dress. If the position is corporate, business dress is the way to go. When in doubt, dressier is usually better than under dressed since the latter may unintentionally suggest that you don't care about the meeting or the job.

  2. Put Your Best Foot Forward
    When you start dating someone, you want that person to see the best version of yourself you can present – let them find out that you hate doing dishes further down the road. In an interview, and on a date, you'll want to appear calm and confident, even if you are nervous. Preparing answers to common interview questions (or at least considering them) will help with your nerves and keep you from blanking and answering with a less-than-charming series of "ums".

    Don't be afraid to express your personality where appropriate. Interviews aren't generally just question and answer periods – if that's all the company wanted, they could have you fill in a survey. They want to get a sense of you as a worker and as a person. Small talk about your hobbies or experiences, or even using them as evidence of your positive character traits (leadership, goal setting, dedication) can do a lot to establish your character as a well-balanced individual and it will help you be more memorable later on. (Ditch your ego; prove that you'll work hard and don't settle for the wrong company. Read on, in Trying On Potential Employers.)

  3. Boast but don't Brag
    You want the other person to know about your accomplishments. While you will certainly get away with more self-inflation in an interview than on a date, you want to talk yourself up without seeming full of yourself. Be sure to detail the concrete, measurable achievements as much as possible, and save the bragging for when you're with your buddies. Think "I achieved the highest sales in the fourth quarter on our team," rather than, "I was so much better than the rest of our sales team."

  4. Take an Interest
    Just like a first date, an interview isn't just about you. You should get a sense of the company that may be hiring you. Make sure to do your homework ahead of time; you should know what the company does, its position in the field, how big it is, and any relevant recent news. Don't be afraid to ask questions (when it is appropriate to do so, of course) about the company's goals, processes and how employees are treated. Showing an interest shows you are serious about obtaining the position.

  5. Follow Up
    This step is about demonstrating your commitment and professional monogamy. It's also about setting yourself apart from the other candidates. A follow-up call to provide any additional information you promised, or even just to thank them for the opportunity, may be the key to standing out among the crowd. (Learn the steps that will help lead you to a new career, in Taking The Lead In The Interview Dance.)

The Bottom Line
In your career and your love life, it is equally important to take the time and effort to make each encounter special. The number one attribute recruiters are looking for is confidence, so make sure you look, act and speak the part, and your love story will no doubt have a happy ending.

Catch up on the latest financial news in Water Cooler Finance: The iPhone Launch, Buffett's Lunch And BP's Lashing.

Related Articles
  1. Professionals

    Broker Or Trader: Which Career Is Right For You?

    Both brokers and traders buy and sell securities, but there are some subtle differences between the two careers.
  2. Professionals

    Financial Career Options For Professionals

    A career in finance can take a business professional down many different paths.
  3. FA

    The Basics of The Series 79 Exam

    Passing the Series 79 exam is usually necessary for anyone who wants to work in investment banking.
  4. Professionals

    10 Steps To A Career In Hedge Funds

    The first step to getting your hedge fund career started is to be sure you really want to work for a hedge fund. If you do, it’ll show in your actions.
  5. Professionals

    Business Analyst: Job Description & Average Salary

    Learn the different types of business analyst careers available; understand the skills and education needed and the salary you can expect to make.
  6. Entrepreneurship

    How To Make Money With Domain Names

    Domain names are hot commodities in today’s tech-centric world, and for good reason.
  7. Professionals

    How To Get A Job On Wall Street

    Although Wall Street has its share of problems, finding people who want to become traders isn’t one of them.
  8. Professionals

    Financial Analyst: Job Description & Average Salary

    Understand the types of career paths you can take as a financial analyst, and learn the education and skills you need to launch a career in this field.
  9. Entrepreneurship

    Top Resume Strategies For New Grads In Finance

    Your resume is the key to getting that first great job out of college. Here’s how to get it noticed.
  10. Executive Compensation

    Treasurer: Job Description & Average Salary

    Discover more about the responsibilities of a treasurer and the skills needed for this position, as well as the average annual salary of a treasurer.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Does a financial advisor need an MBA?

    Obtaining a license as a financial adviser does not require an Master's of Business Administration (MBA) degree. The Certified ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How can an investment banker switch to a career in corporate finance?

    It's pretty easy for an investment banker to switch to a career in corporate finance. The career skills are easily transferable, ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do I get started with a career in asset management?

    The asset management industry has a variety of different career paths. Depending on what asset management area you would ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. For which kind of jobs is having Magnum Cum Laude most important?

    Having a magna cum laude degree is most important for jobs in the fields of finance, management consulting and engineering. ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Other than accounting, what does a corporate finance job involve?

    While a corporate finance job almost always involves accounting in some capacity, there are many additional job duties and ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What are some common questions an interviewer may ask during an interview for a position ...

    When interviewing for a job at an investment bank, a candidate is likely to answer questions about his career and education ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
  2. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
  3. Discouraged Worker

    A person who is eligible for employment and is able to work, but is currently unemployed and has not attempted to find employment ...
  4. Ponzimonium

    After Bernard Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme was revealed, many new (smaller-scale) Ponzi schemers became exposed. Ponzimonium ...
  5. Quarterly Earnings Report

    A quarterly filing made by public companies to report their performance. Included in earnings reports are items such as net ...
Trading Center