Dress for Success

Revive Your Job Search: Dress for Success

Dress for SuccessHave you been looking for a job for quite some time? If you’re beginning to feel discouraged about your prospects, take heart – you can improve your odds of landing a good job quickly by following the tips below.

Let your appearance make a positive first impression.
Appearances matter. To compete in today’s job market you need to consider what your look is saying about you. When was the last time you updated your hairstyle and wardrobe? If it’s been more than five years, it’s time to get a makeover. Sporting a dated look makes employers wonder if your skills and ideas may be old news as well.

If you’re not sure what’s in style, turn on the TV or flip through some magazines to get a few ideas. Then go to your local department stores and look for bargains on classic business garments such as button down shirts, tailored jackets and black trousers and skirts.

Once you’ve got the clothes, it’s time to take a look at your hair. Your hairstyle is one of the first things people notice about your appearance, so make an appointment at a reputable hair salon to get an updated look. Hair stylists can also help groom unruly beards, sideburns and mustaches in a fashionable way.

Parts 2 and 3 of this series will touch on keeping your skills up-to-date and expanding your job search.

9 Tips to a Smooth Start at a New Job

Your first few weeks at a new job are crucial because your co-workers are developing their first impressions of you, and you’re forming work habits that will stay with you for the long haul. During this time, your behavior, attitude and actions will set your work pace and form your reputation, so starting off on the right foot is important. Here are nine tips to help you ensure a smooth start at your new job.

1. Ask questions. If you don’t have the answer to a question or problem you are working on, ask someone to help you out. It’s better to avoid a mistake than to make an irreversible one, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.

2. Take notes. Write down everyday tasks and important information that you will need to know later, such as logins and how to operate the phone system. Keep these in a notebook or folder that you can get to at any time. Also, jot down information you learn about the company during training and interacting with your co-workers.

3. Avoid surfing. Stay off of the Internet, and don’t be tempted to check your personal e-mail. If you feel like you have downtime, find company materials you can read to increase your knowledge of the organization, industry and job processes.

4. Turn off your phone. Don’t be a disturbance to yourself and others by answering your cell phone at work. Turn your cell phone off, and let incoming calls go to voicemail. Wait until a break or lunch time to check your voicemail and return personal calls.

5. Complete your tasks. Doing your best work and completing each task on time is critical, because you want your supervisor and peers to see what you are capable of. But, make sure you are also not falling behind. If you find you have too much on your plate, talk to your supervisor and see how you can prioritize your time better.

6. Listen and observe. You can learn more by listening than you can by talking, so be attentive and don’t interrupt others when they are speaking. You’ll be able to learn about company culture, work flow and company policy by paying attention to your co-workers and observing their behavior in the workplace.

7. Be positive. Your attitude shows if you care to be at your new job or not, so be positive and enthusiastic about your new opportunity. Be friendly and courteous to your co-workers while showing them that you are confident and eager to learn.

8. Earn respect. This is your only chance to create a first impression, so demonstrate your work ethic, and give 110% to all of your duties. Be humble about needing help, and make sure to thank your co-workers when they do help you out. Then, they’ll show you respect, because you’ve earned it.

9. Be a team player. Make time to collaborate with your co-workers, especially if they need help. Work together with your new co-workers instead of trying to compete against them. You’re on the same team now, and you’ll get more done working together than you will working alone.

Being successful in a new job takes effort, so put these nine tips to use from day one. Work on a positive image and start your job off right. Your first impression is usually a lasting impression, so make it a good one.

What advice do you have for others starting a new job?

7 Tips to a Successful First Day at a New Job

Imagine you’ve recently received a job offer, and you decided to accept it. The job search is over, but now your first day at your new job is just around the corner. Are you a nervous wreck, overwhelmed thinking about all of the changes you’re making, or are you ready? Do you know how to prepare for this challenge? Here are seven tips to help you have a successful first day at a new job.

1. Refresh your memory. Look again at the company’s website and refresh your memory about all of the company’s information you discovered before your first interview. Review any information you may have been given during the interview process. Also, look over the job description and review what is required. If you have time before you start, you may want to polish a skill or two.

2. Get your rest. No one wants to start off their first day tired, so make sure you get a full night’s sleep. If you are feeling sluggish, drink a glass of water in the morning to help wake up your body. Then, you’ll be ready to tackle the tasks at your new job because you’ll be awake and alert.

3. Dress appropriately. Set out your work attire the night before, making sure to follow the company’s dress code. Scrambling around trying to figure out what you are going to wear will only stress you out and probably make you late.

4. Know the route. Chances are, you interviewed where you will be working. But if not, make sure you know how to get there and how long it will take, and plan accordingly so you arrive on time. Remember to factor in traffic if your previous trips to your interviews weren’t during rush hour.

5. Make a good first impression. Be polite and friendly to everyone you meet at your new job. Make good eye contact as you introduce yourself to others. If you need to, write down people’s names so you can remember them later when you pass them in the hall.

6. Be flexible. Although you may want to meet friends for lunch, keep your schedule open. Your new co-workers might offer to take you out to welcome you to the team. In case this doesn’t happen, take a few dollars with you and find a place nearby so you can treat yourself to lunch.

7. Ask questions. Your co-workers understand that you are new to the job and might need help, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Take notes on helpful information you will need later, such as routine tasks and access codes. It’s better to be seen as someone that accepts help than to be a know-it-all that refuses help.

You made it through the application and interview process, so relax and try to enjoy your first day. Remember, the company hired you for a reason. You’re the right person for the position, and you’ve earned this opportunity.

Have you started a new job recently? What suggestions do you have for others that are nervous or overwhelmed about starting a new job?

Age Discrimination – Does This Affect You?

Age discrimination in the workforce is an issue that is not often addressed; however, there are ways to get your foot in the door if you’re a seasoned employee. According to a survey of 168 executives with a median age of 50 conducted by Execunet, a referral network, 74% surveyed are concerned they will be discriminated against because of their age, and 58% believe they have experienced age discrimination in the past. Although age discrimination does exist, it is one of the hardest discriminations to prove, according to research by AARP.

If you find yourself struggling to find a job and think that your age might be a factor, here are a few tips to aide you in your job search.

Start with your résumé. When searching for a job, make sure your résumé offers the most recent and relevant information. Experts advise mature job applicants to reference only the last 10 or 15 years of your job experience. Often times, candidates are overlooked because they have too much experience. Try taking some classes that educate you on the latest technology or trends in your industry, and make sure to list them on your résumé. Also, avoid listing dates such as high school or college graduation, as these can reveal your age.

Update your wardrobe. In an AARP survey, nearly half of the respondents surveyed felt that older workers cannot adapt to change. When you go in for an interview, make sure that not only your résumé reflects your knowledge of current work trends, but your attire reflects current styles as well. This doesn’t mean you have to dress in the latest trends or fashion, but ensuring your wardrobe and hairstyle aren’t aging you unnecessarily is always helpful when searching for a job. This boosts your self confidence, and allows the employer to see that you are up-to-date with what is going on around you.

Sell yourself. Don’t let the age factor get you down. If you show you’re confident and skilled, potential employers will be less likely to consider your age a factor when making hiring decisions. You may feel that younger people are hired to replace older workers, but keep in mind that younger workers feel most jobs are held by people with experience. Instead of focusing on this remember to sell your skills and abilities. Let the interviewer know you are open to training and learning new things. Make sure they know why you’re there and why you’re qualified for the position. Research the company before you interview so you can offer insight on how your past experience can benefit their company. Show enthusiasm and eagerness to learn, but don’t sound desperate.

Network with peers in your industry. You might feel as though you’re too old to network, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Find a local organization that specializes in your desired industry. Get involved within your community and make contacts with individuals that can help you get your foot in the door with companies. By getting your name and face out there with people in your industry, you will not only increase your chances of getting a job, but you will develop valuable and up-to-date information on what is going on in the field.

Age doesn’t have to be a negative factor when searching for a job. It can actually work for you if you follow these tips. Mature workers have confidence and knowledge in a time when we need it the most. With so many workers reaching retirement age, there is a gap in the knowledge between seasoned workers and younger workers just entering the workforce. Utilize your expertise and show how you can be an added value to the company.

Reinvent Yourself – Developing the New You

Now that you have started your reinvention process and repackaged yourself for your new career, you’re ready to start your journey.

Remember, changing your thought process takes time and practice, but if you can stick with it, the result can be a bright new career. Here are a few tips that will prepare you for some of the obstacles that can send individuals running back to the comfort of their old habits.

Take your time. Reinventing yourself doesn’t happen overnight. If you want to be successful in your transition, go slowly. Test the waters to see if a new career really suits you. For example, if you work in accounting but want to transfer to event planning, try taking a part-time job as an assistant to see if it’s really the exciting job you’ve always dreamed of.

Be prepared. Don’t expect to be an instant pro at your new job. Even if you’re staying in your current position and learning new skills, understand that it’s OK to make mistakes. And, don’t be afraid to ask questions, it is often encouraged. Also, be willing to take a pay cut. Often times, when you’re venturing out on a new career, it may be a lateral move or even a step down at first.

Enjoy the ride. Be proud of your transition. It takes hard work, dedication, strength and courage to get the best results and become the best you. If you want to see a difference in your career, you must change your behavior. Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Reinventing yourself and trying something new just might take you on an adventure you never dreamed.

The world is constantly evolving – from the environment to our jobs. If you allow yourself to change with it, you’ll continue to grow and prosper. Focus on the positives of change and keep your goal in mind.

Reinvent Yourself – Repackage Yourself

Yesterday, I talked about starting the process of reinventing yourself for a new career, or rejuvenating yourself in your current job. Today, I want to talk about what to do after you have found your new direction – repackaging yourself.

Even after individuals find their true passion, they still sometimes find it difficult to shed the old image and be perceived by others in a new way. By following these tips, you can showcase the new you to employers, as well as to yourself.

Tweak your résumé. Rewrite your résumé to reflect your new image. Regardless of whether you are venturing out on a new direction or just reigniting your passion in your old job, refreshing your résumé will help you stay focused with who you want to be and the direction you want to go. When updating your résumé, use a functional résumé format. This type of résumé focuses on specific skills you possess, instead of the progression of jobs that a chronological résumé format focuses on. Write your résumé with an emphasis on your new career goal. The point is to make sure potential employers can see who you are now, not who you were.

Change inside and out. If you list on your résumé that you’re an outgoing and innovative salesperson, make sure your appearance reflects the attitude. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. If you have an outdated hairstyle or are in need of a new wardrobe, search online, peruse through current magazines or contact an image consultant for what’s in style in your particular field of work and region. Improving your outward appearance will project confidence to employers.

Make the connection. You have pinpointed your new career goal. Your résumé is updated, and your looks reflect the inner you. Now, you’re ready to start making connections with prospective employers to boost your current career track. When searching for jobs in your market, try attending job fairs and networking with friends to find out what jobs are out there. This will help you test the waters and get the inside track on companies without having to make a commitment. Staying in your current position? Try scheduling a one-on-one meeting with your boss. You can use this time to inform your boss that you’d love to try some new projects or learn new skills.

Creating a new image can be a tough process, but by following these tips, you can make the transition a positive experience.

Tomorrow, I’ll offer tips that will help you sustain the new you.

Reinvent Yourself – Take the First Step

We recently received a question from a reader inquiring whether or not she wasted her time working in a specific industry for too long. She wants to get into a new field of work but feels as though future employers look at her past employment history and typecast her in to one role. Many workers seeking new direction face this issue. So what’s a job seeker to do? This series will highlight general strategies for reinventing your career self.

Whether you’re new to the workforce, considering a career change, or just trying to stay ahead of the competition, reinventing yourself just might help you land or keep your dream job. Reinvention is simply the process of re-examining yourself, taking what you’ve learned over time, evaluating who you are as a person and committing to a positive course of action. Over the next few days I’ll offer several tips on reinventing yourself and starting a new career!

Go back to the beginning. Take a moment to re-evaluate yourself and reconnect with what gets you excited. Assess yourself. Look at the things that you loved to do as a child. If you have a hard time figuring out your passions, ask your friends or colleagues what they think you excel at, or what they believe your strengths are.

Unite the old with the new. Once you have figured out your passions, match them to the skills and experience that you have gained throughout the years, whether during school, at work or through a hobby. This process will help you determine what jobs and careers will best utilize your strengths. Matching your skills and experience with your passions will show you what career choices are most suitable for you. Even if you want to stay on your current career track, this exercise will help you re-energize and focus on what you like best about your job.

Research your findings. Look at what you’ve learned so far in the process to discover the career path that complements your strengths. Ask questions of other individuals within that field. For example, ask those in your desired field about what they would change about their jobs, the pros and cons and tasks they perform on a day-to-day basis. Their answers will help you get a better understanding of what might be expected of you if you picked that career path. If you’re trying to rejuvenate yourself in your current job, ask yourself or someone in your field or company the same questions. This will help pinpoint what it is that you truly love about your job.

Tomorrow, I’ll discuss tips on how to repackage yourself from updating your résumé to putting yourself in the right position to move into a new career.