What Not to Wear- to an interview

April 27, 2010

The other day I had a conversation with a hiring manager about how people dress for interviews.  He stated that if an applicant didn’t wear a suit they were automatically out. I laughed and said that most companies I have worked with see wearing a suit as a disqualifier.

Many articles on interviewing talk about dressing professionally, right down to wearing a suit- for men and women.  However, this is misleading.  It completely depends on the culture of the company at which you are interviewing.

If you are interviewing with a Fortune 500 company, a law firm, a bank, etc., then yes, suits are required.  If, though, you are interviewing with a 10 person start up made up of mostly engineers, chances are you’ll appear too stuffy or conservative in a suit.  You will differentiate yourself in a negative way.  This is not what you want.

Regardless of where you interview, you want the way you dress to accentuate the fact you are a great fit.  If you are not sure what to wear, call your contact and ask before the interview.   Once you know, veer slightly towards more conservative.  This means, if they say they wear t-shirts and jeans every day, you could wear khakis and a casual button-down.  If they wear khakis and button-down shirts, then wear your nicest button-down.

Here is a sample of  ”what not to wear” items regardless of the company:

  • Wrinkled clothes
  • Clothes with holes (intentional or not)
  • Clothes that show an inappropriate amount of skin, such as shorts, short skirts, tank tops, halter tops, etc.
  • Stained clothes
  • Dirty (smelly) clothes
  • Cologne/perfume (the scent may be too strong, your interviewer may have allergies or may have a negative association with the scent you choose)

Above all, you want to show that you fit the culture- and appearance is a piece of the pie.

 

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Job Market Competition

April 27, 2010

 

Indeed.com provides a chart with the ratio of job postings to number of unemployed for 50 metropolitan areas.  While I am not sure how accurate the data is (job postings for staffing agencies, etc), the chart does give a good idea of what competition looks like.

Below are the top 10 for April 2010.  (Click here for the entire list)

Are you in a heavily competitive area?  What are you doing to differentiate yourself?

Revising your resume and sending out mass applications won’t get you what you want.  Getting the job you want, especially in a down economy is almost an art form.

We understand that art form and have the tools to help.  Instead of just submitting a generic resume, we can work with you to create a profile that will make a potential employer put you on the top of the list.  Until May 15th, we are offering an incredible deal on our services- there is no time like the present to do it right!

Click here for our Resume Overhaul services and take advantage of our current special rates!

 

Rank Change Metropolitian Area Job posting icon Job Postings vs. Unemployment icon Unemployed Persons Ratio
1 Washington, DC Job posting icon Unemployment icon 1:1
2 1 San Jose, CA Job posting icon Unemployment iconUnemployment icon 1:2
3 -1 Baltimore, MD Job posting icon Unemployment iconUnemployment icon 1:2
4 New York, NY Job posting icon Unemployment iconUnemployment icon 1:2
5 Salt Lake City, UT Job posting icon Unemployment iconUnemployment icon 1:2
6 3 Boston, MA Job posting icon Unemployment iconUnemployment iconUnemployment icon 1:3
7 1 Hartford, CT Job posting icon Unemployment iconUnemployment iconUnemployment icon 1:3
8 -2 Oklahoma City, OK Job posting icon Unemployment iconUnemployment iconUnemployment icon 1:3
9 -2 Denver, CO Job posting icon Unemployment iconUnemployment iconUnemployment icon 1:3
10 2 Austin, TX Job posting icon Unemployment iconUnemployment iconUnemployment icon 1:3

 

 


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Your Uniqueness

April 26, 2010

I recently saw a post on twitter that referred back to an article on the AMA site about Peter Drucker’s teachings on personal growth.  It is an older article, but it’s relevance is timeless.  What stood out specifically was his statement about figure out your own uniqueness and applying it to both your personal and professional life.

Consider what’s unique about what you do, and in what areas you excel and contribute the most, both at work and outside of work. Focus on those strengths—your own core competencies—and find new ways to value and cultivate them. Odds are you can apply them to a variety of jobs, volunteer positions, and more.

Think about your life, both as it is now and where you’d like to be. Consider not just your work, but also your family, friends, interests, activities, and pursuits. Assess what’s working, what’s not, and what you might want to add or subtract to create more satisfaction and fulfillment.

This is one of the core ideas in Forget The Parachute, Let Me Fly The Plane.  There is something you were meant to do, something at which you excel.  There is a career out there that will fulfill you.  You just have to figure out what it is.

Many people spend their lives wishing they were doing something that mattered, something that made them happy, something that made a difference, or any other number of somethings.  Don’t spend your life wishing you were doing something else.  Figure out what that something is, and start towards it today.  There is no time like the present.

If you aren’t sure what career applies to your unique skills and characteristics, check out our e-book.  The information and exercises are designed to set you on a path to career fulfillment.

 

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Catch your Dream Date- Tonight!

April 20, 2010

 

Got your attention, did I?

Does your resume grab attention like this?  Will one quick glance at your name, cover letter and/or resume make the reader think, “I HAVE to call this person NOW”?

For the majority of you, I’ll be that’s not the case.  But it needs to be.

You are competing in a huge sea of other people. Assuming there is no one profusely vouching for you at any specific company, something about you needs to “WOW” whoever first sees your resume.

Here is an example of an extreme “wow”.  Below is a highlight, check out the post for more.

“… I co-owned and participate in the executive level management of 120 people worldwide in a successfull pot smuggling venture with revenues in excess of 100 million annualy...”; “I am well-traveled and I speak English, French and Spanish“; “References available from friends, family, US District Attorney, etc“.

While I don’t recommend highlighting your history of criminal activity, this is a very clever way of saying “look at me, I’m unique!”.  It does show how you can attempt to turn a negative into a positive.

What can you do that makes you shine through the sea of people?

(hint, promising dates is not a good idea)

I really can’t help you with dating right now- other than to suggest finding a job and recruiting are a lot like dating.

However, I CAN show you how to add in the “WOW” factor to your resume.  For those of you who have the perfect job, are ready to apply, but worry you’ll be stuck at the bottom of the pile, check our our Resume Overhaul services.  We’ll work with you to get you to the top of the pile!

 

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Highlights

April 15, 2010

Yesterday I attended the NAB Career Day through an invite from PinkSlipMixers.  The set up was much like speed dating. A line of job seekers waited (patiently) for 5-15 minute sessions with Career Coaches and Advisors.

Most of the people I spoke with were seeking advice on their resumes and one theme was common across the board.

- Highlight your achievements -

So many resumes follow the “list your duties” format for current and past positions.  While it’s fine to list what you did in general, your achievements are what will stand out more than anything.  You want to show a prospective employer that your work contributed to the success of your past employer in some way.  Perhaps you efforts brought in more customers, or you were able to reduce expenses, or you developed a new product that helped the company.  Your potential highlights are limitless, but vital to proving you are a valuable team member.  It’s even better when what you achieved relates to the needs of the job you want.

Go through your resume and make sure you add in highlights- it could be the thing that gets you in the door.

 

(if you want more resume tips, check out our 10 Secrets of Successful Resumes)

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Resume Madness

April 14, 2010

Resumes seem to be on people’s minds a lot lately. It keeps coming up in conversations, not only from clients, but friends and family too.

One of the most common questions is “Is my resume really that important?”. My answer, it depends on the company and how you “got in” with the company, but in general, a strong yes. Regardless of if you are submitting your resume blindly or through a contact, it is a representation of you, your skills and background.

As an example- while Sarah, the Director of Sales, recommended you for the opening in Operations, it’s Sam, the head of Ops, and Pat, HR, who will actually see your resume. They like what Sarah had to say about you, but if you send them a resume that lacks relevant information, has typos, etc., it could hurt your chances of progressing.  You want to come across as professional and capable as possible. Every piece of communication should relay why you are the person they need- from your phone calls, to your emails, to your resume, and on through the interview process.

There are a few things to pay attention to when writing your resume, and we’ve put together a list of the top 10 to help you get through the madness of creating/editing your resume.

It’s free, so go ahead and check it out!

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Any Job

April 9, 2010

A few months ago I met someone who asked me about my career.  I talked about the Connected Career and described our goal- to help people figure out their dream career and how to get it.

I had barely finished my sentence when he asked me to help him get a job.

Here is how the conversation unfolded:

_________

Stranger: So, can you help me get a job?

Me: I can help you figure out how to get the job you really want. What do you want to do?

Stranger: Anything

Me: I’m sorry, that’s too broad.  What do you enjoy?  What have you enjoyed in the past or even something you’ve always wanted to try?

Stranger: Too many questions, I just want a job.

Me: How about you at least tell me your skillsets.

Stranger: I don’t know.  Nothing comes to mind.

Me: If you don’t know what you want to do, what interests you or what your skillsets are, how do you plan on finding a job?

Stranger: Isn’t that what you do?

_____

While this conversation was an extreme version of what we often hear, it is relatively common to hear of people wanting a change, wanting something different, but not knowing what that something looks like.  And for that reason, we wrote “Forget the Parachute, Let Me Fly The Plane”.

Figuring out what you really, really, really want to do, are meant to do, doesn’t always come easy.  Having a guide to help you through the process can take you out of what you know and push you.   A little bit or a lot.

 

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