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job seekers

Your goal during the interview is to stand out from the competition – in a good way – so why follow outdated fashion tips designed to make you blend in with the crowd?

Landing that coveted in-person meeting is already pretty difficult. So, when you do, you’ll totally want to dress to impress.  And, it might help – at least, visually speaking – if you interview outfit doesn’t put people to sleep before you even open your mouth.

Of course, there will always be some careers – like law – were playing it safe when it comes to style is probably the right way to go. But consider ignoring these five old-school fashion tips if the company culture of job you’re seeking encourages a touch of fashion flair.   

5 Fashion Tips Jobs Seekers Should Ignore:

Wear A Suit

You should always up the style ante when you’re interviewing, but that doesn’t mean you have to wear a boring basic solid suit. You want to look polished and professionally and also comfortable and confident. If wearing a suit makes you feel uneasy or the company has more of business casual vibe (which you can find out by checking out its website and social media profiles) then opt for coordinated separates with a bit of personality.    Topshop Embellished Midi Pencil Dress – $180 and Zara Double Breasted Blazer – $99

Wear Neutral Colors

Black, navy, brown and gray are fine colors, but you might want to leave an impression that you are more than just a “fine” candidate. A strategic color pop can give off a feeling of friendliness and/or confidence, amplifying the profile of an interviewee who knows their stuff.   

Macy’s Calvin Klein Embellished Sheath Dress – $109 

Wear Pantyhose or Tights

Yes, you should totally wear pantyhose or tights if the company you’re interviewing with is conservative, if you feel more comfortable having your legs covered or if it is just cold outside. However, cramming your legs in nylon casings should be an optional interview outfit addition when you’re already wearing pants, a knee-length – or longer – skirt or dress. Do it if it makes you feel more ready to conquer the day. Skip it if it doesn’t.         

Wear a Black or Brown Handbag

Nothing completes an interview outfit better than a clean-lined, structured handbag, but black and brown shouldn’t be your only color choices. A smartly pattern purse or tote in a complimentary color to your outfit can hint to a personality that knows how to pull things together.

Amazon MMK Collection Fashion Padlock Satchel – $42.99

Wear High Heels

I love a pair of good heels. They literally make me taller and I find I stand up straight more when I wear them. But I also love my ballerina flats and that I can move faster than a New York minute in them. Opt for whichever polished pair of close-toe pumps, ballerina flats, loafers or boots make you feel more confident to complete your interview outfit. There’s no sense in wearing a killer looking pair of heels if you’re going to worry about tripping in the company’s reception area.

Aerosoles Spin Off Flats – $69 and Ann Taylor Skyler Patent Leather Pumps – $128

– XOXO Charell Star | Not Just A Girl In A Dress

There’s no doubt that starting an internship program within your company has a lot of great benefits. Not only is it a way for a company to test out future potential employees, but it’s also a way for students to gain experience and establish business connections. Plus, the best programs gain a positive reputation within the academic communities, ensuring that your organization is always on the radar of top talent.

If internships is something that you and/or your company offers or is considering, here are some very important tips that will help you build a successful one that benefits all parties involved.

Tip #1 – Always Make Sure That You Set a Beginning Date and an End Date

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Companies that offer specific start and end dates for students will find a lot more success in attracting good talent. Setting these dates will allow students to manage their busy school schedule a lot more easily. While you are setting the dates, you should always take into consideration the various important dates of the colleges or high schools that you are associating yourself with. For example: the school’s mid-term or finals dates, graduation dates, and observed holidays should be top of mind.

 

canstockphoto0517117Tip #2 – Pay Your Interns

If you are really looking for the cream of the crop for future potential employees, and if your budget allows for it, you should definitely consider paying your interns. There are two good reasons for this:

  1. Your interns will be a lot more motivated knowing that they are receiving cash benefits for this job.
  2. There is a very fine line between unpaid interns and paid interns. If you do not want to risk crossing that line, then you should pay them and avoid any potential controversy.

 

canstockphoto13061139Tip #3 – Give Your Interns Meaningful Work to Do

An intern wants responsibilities; not just tasks. Tasks are more like one time gigs or short assignments, like making copies of something or organizing the filing cabinet. Give your interns special responsibilities instead, like coordinating an event, or organizing a special program that your company will follow. This will prove to be a lot more successful for the student, and you will have an easier time in determining whether they would be the right fit in your company or not.

 

 

Always remember that the final objective of an intern is to get a glowing letter of recommendation from you and your company. If you they do their job well, then make sure that you return the favor with a very well written recommendation.

Interviewing for a job can be one of the scariest things that a person can do during their job hunt. From  researching the company to arriving on time to sending the right type of follow up note, there is so much anxiety that surrounds a job interview. It can be easy to lose focus on your main goal: looking and sounding your best, so you can land that job.  Here are some job interview tips that will help you stand out from the rest.

 

Tip #1 – Be Ready for Every Type of Interview

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Believe it or not, there is more than one type of interview that you may be subjected to for a job. It is important that you are as prepared for all of them as much as possible. For example, you have the standard interview, you have a group interview, and you have the roleplay interview. Each interview style requires you to alter your approach. When heading to an interview, be ready to showcase your skills in multiple ways.

 

 

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Tip #2 – Always Dress Your Best

The first impression that you present during a job interview goes a lot further than you realize. If you do not make a great first impression, the chances of you getting a second interview, let alone a job, is unlikely. If you are wearing a suit, make sure that it is freshly pressed. And, leave any gaudy jewelry at home. Choose a light perfume or cologne, and for women, a minimum amount of make-up and a modest heel.

 

Tip #3 – Be Well Researched Before You Walk in the Door

RESEARCH! RESEARCH! RESEARCH! We cannot say it enough how important this is. The amount of research you do, or the amount of research you do not do, will ultimately researchdetermine your fate in the job interview. Think of it this way … who do you think a company will hire as an employee: a person who knows about the company’s history and goals, or the candidate that can’t speak to the company’s mission?

 

Tip # 4 – Focus on the Employer

Sure, the person interviewing you is going to be all smiles and compliments, but all they care about is what you bring to the table. Make sure that they know exactly what you have to offer and how you can help them in reaching the brand goals. The goal is to showcase your expertise as an asset that the company will be able to leverage. If you can demonstrate that, then you will definitely stand out from the rest of the potential hires.

What other interview tips to you recommend to job seekers?

Fashion is kind of my thing. My blog is called a ‘Girl In A Dress’ after-all. As a woman I know, dressing your part for work can be a difficult task. Whether it is business casual or business professional, you always want to make sure you dress in a way that shows you are serious about your career. Yes, hard work and a friendly, competitive attitude will aid you in getting that big promotion, but if you really want to step up your game, then you need to step up your overall appearance. Here are some styling tips that will help you give an even better impression at your office.

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Hem your pants. When it comes to dress pants, you should never be able to wear the same pants with your flats as you wear with your heels. That is a major fashion sin. If your dress pants are not tailored correctly to your body, then they can look very sloppy, especially if they are too short or if they are dragging on the ground. If you are wearing flats, your pants should cover most of your shoe. If you are wearing heels, the hem of your dress pants should be about a half inch off of the ground in the back.

 

cn5475416Get a button-up shirt that fits you. Nothing can ruin your image more than wearing a button-up shirt that is way too small or way too large and shows off all of your undergarments. If you have a larger chest, then buy a button-up shirt that is big enough to reach all the way across your chest without any gaping exposure. Take your shirt to the tailor to have it sized just right.

If your belt loops are showing, you should wear a belt. A lot of woman feel that they are excused from wearing belts for their pants, especially if they fit nice and snug. This is so NOT the case. This rule is nice and simple: if you are wearing pants with belt loops and your shirt is tucked in, then you should wear a belt. The belt does not have to be used for keeping your pants up, but it should be used for visual purposes. Exposed, empty belt holes will make you look careless and even forgetful.

DO NOT overdo the accessories. You may think that this is an obvious tip, but a lot of people break this rule on a daily basis without even realizing it. All of your earrings, rings, and necklaces should be as simple as possible, especially if you work in professional fields such as banking or real estate.

 

Other Important Tips to Follow:

  • Buy yourself a good pair of shoes.
  • Keep a good manicure at all times.
  • Make sure your hair is dry when you walk into the office.
  • Don’t put on too much perform.
  • Always brighten up your eyes.

Do you agree with these work fashion tips?

 

Handshakes are a lot more important than people realize. A good handshake is one of the most important skills you can work on as a person. If you want to make sure that each person that you meet has a pleasant and positive experience during your first greet, then having a nice, firm handshake is a great start. So to help you improve your handshake for those important first encounters, here are some tips and pointers that will always ensure that you are giving a great first impression on your handshake.

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Keep your hand mentally warm. I know this may sound a little weird, but it is very helpful. While you are approaching the person that you are about to shake hands with, imagine that there is a shot of electricity flowing through your arm and your hand. By doing this, you are mentally warming up your hand for a firm handshake.

 

Try to make sure that your hand isn’t too sweaty. Nobody wants to shake a sweaty hand, right? Have you every shook a sweaty hand and felt completely disgusted afterwards? Well, make sure that your hand will not give a similar experience. If you know that your hand gets sweaty often, try carrying a tissue on you at all times, making sure that you are able to wipe your hands before a handshake.  You might even consider wiping just a little underarm deodorant onto your palms to help prevent nasty sweating.

 

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Always make sure that you are smiling and making good eye contact. If you are looking to establish a feeling of trust, then good eye contact is very important. Though,you should be careful, by staring into the other person’s eyes for too long, it can be mistaken as an attempt to gain physical intimacy or to express an attraction.  Eye contact should be held for a maximum of three seconds, nothing more.

 

 

Give the pressure that you are receiving. You do not want to overcompensate the handshake. While shaking hands, try to apply the same amount of pressure that you are receiving from the other person. Things can get really awkward if you are squeezing very firmly, and the other person is not, or vice versa. You must be able to adjust your handshake pressure quickly and smartly without making things too weird or awkward.

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Pump the hands up and down, then hold briefly, then let go. On average, a handshake will allow up to three or four pumps before letting go. If the other person shakes your hand with more than four pumps, which will signal that the other person likes you.

Finish the handshake with one more tiny, extra squeeze. Do not think of this final squeeze as something that must be very tight, think of it as one more pulse or surge of energy in the handshake, and then immediately let go. Doing this will signal that you are ready to end the handshake and that you are about to let go.

Follow these important handshake tips and you will be well on your way to offering better handshakes and improving your overall first impression.

Have you ever encountered a person with an awful handshake? What impression did they leave on you?

English is a difficult language to master and no one  (myself included) is perfect at it. However, perfection is not the same thing as proficiency. If your resume doesn’t demonstrate that you are a proficient communicator, then you shouldn’t bother applying.

Here is another way applicants shoot themselves in the foot:

4 – Ignoring the basis rules of writing

Your Vs YoureThis is one of the fastest ways to get your resume tossed. Hiring managers don’t have time to decipher poor writing. Proper grammar (i.e. punctuation and capitalization) is not optional. Spelling mistakes are not forgivable.  A resume and cover letter serves two purposes. The first is to demonstrate your work history. The second is to demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively. If your documents do not show that you can write clearly and concisely than you won’t be contacted.

There is no excuse for not having your resume spell checked and proofread. the-elements-of-styleTake the initiative and have a third party (someone that is proficient at resume editing) review your documents. This will help catch any errors you might have missed. Also, investing in a grammar book is a good idea especially, if you need to brush up on your writing skills or English is not your native language. A highly rated and affordable book is The Elements of Style by E.B White and William Strunk.

One grammatical error may not get your resume deleted.  But, it will make the hiring manager second guess bringing you in for an interview. Don’t take the chance.

What are some of the resume writing errors you’ve made or come across?

-À bientôt

Landing an interview is difficult these days, but applicants continue to sabotage themselves by not putting their best foot forward. Hiring managers are evaluating you not only on the skills you claim to have on your resume, but also on the skills you should have.

Here is the another mistake that causes your resume to be ignored:

2 – Demonstrating a lack of mastery of Microsoft Office

MS Word Error

There are plenty of word processors in the marketplace, but the person reviewing your resume is using Microsoft Word. This means your resume should be formatted in that program. And, your resume should show you clearly know how to use it.

Here are some ways applicants come across of MS Word illiterate:

  • Having basic typos – spell check is your friend
  • Using a font size less than 10 – making your resume too small to read
  • Moving page margins excessively to fit your too long resume on one page
  • Leaving blank pages in your file – shows you either don’t know how to delete them or are too lazy to do it
  • Presenting a sloppy document (i.e. unaligned bullets, random spacing, sporadic formatting)

Your resume is your calling card and it’s all a hiring manager has to evaluate you without meeting you.

Blogger Booger Image editedThey won’t bother reaching out to you if it doesn’t appear you can master a necessary business program like Microsoft Word.

Caveat–Creatives (i.e. graphic designers, producers, arts) may have some leeway here, but remember an HR Director isn’t likely to have Photoshop or any other creative program loaded on their computer. Also, they will not be able to open anything larger that a 1MB file. If they can’t open it, they will not contact you. Submit a resume in a Word document and add a link to your online portfolio–either on your resume or within your cover letter).

What are some major MS Word blunders you’ve seen in resumes? What are some of the faux pas you’ve made in your resume submissions?

-À bientôt

resolutions-2013

To celebrate 2013, I’ve created a new “Professional Help” category on my blog.” These post are focused on providing useful knowledge that can help you improve, grow, or alter your professional career. The start of the new year also ushers in the start of the fiscal year for many companies. And, with that comes new job opportunities. Job seekers will be applying for these positions in record numbers.

As the founder of a temp and full time employment agency in NYC, my team spends a lot of time reviewing resumes (more than 400 a week) and matching clients with potential candidates in various fields. We all know it’s really difficult to find a job this days, so I am always shocked to see how many job hunters sabotage themselves (many times inadvertently). There are lots of qualified candidates out there and you need to make sure hiring managers know you are one of them.

Here is the first of four avoidable mistakes that will get your resume ignored or deleted in a heartbeat:

1 — Not following directions

If the job posting lists steps on how a resume or cover letter is to be submitted (or formatted)…follow them.

I know a HR Director at a reputable company who at the end of every job description asks candidates to list their favorite color and why they selected it in their cover letter. This may seem silly, but it gives her the opportunity to weed out those that are mass applying to positions. It also allows her to focus on those that appear to be truly interested in her opening. Any resume (no matter how qualified the applicant might appear) will be ignored if it doesn’t include that information.

Following directions Age 4-6

Before you get riled up and balk that this is an unfair request; know that this information is actually used in the company’s New Hire announcements. Their announcement email will actually read, “We have a new hire staring on Monday. His name is xxx and favorite color is blue.”

By not following the post’s directions you are telling the hiring manager that you are not a good fit for the company. They assume that if you can’t or won’t follow simple directions now; you won’t be able to as a new hire.

Don’t give the impression that you are a difficult person to work with, even before someone speaks with you. Follow the posting instructions always.

Here are some other examples of applicants not heeding directions:

  • Submitting a PDF file when the listing ask for a Word document or vice versa
  • Not including the listed job id number or your documents at all or on the correct document
  • Not including your salary range in a cover letter or email, when requested
  • Calling to inquire about a position when the posting says don’t
  • Not including writing samples/portfolio when the posting request one

There are many other ways applicants disregard posting instructions. What are some the big one’s you’ve encountered? What are some of the directions you’ve chosen to flout (right or wrong)?

-À bientôt

 

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