Tag Archives: attire

How a Lack of Planning May Be Costing You the Job

lack_of_planning_webWhen job searching, planning is an important step that can make or break your chances of success. A good resume and application may land you an interview, but planning is necessary to ace it and get the job offer.

Is your lack of planning costing you? We’ve put together some resources to help you pick out serious errors and interview flaws due to a lack of planning. These mistakes can destroy what could have been a great interview and result in a lost job opportunity.

  1. Not Preparing to Be on Time

Before the day of your interview, plan out your drive to the location. Always allow extra travel time for accidents, bad traffic, or car trouble. If you can drive to the business location a day or two before your interview, you’ll have a better idea of how long the trip will take.

  1. Not Being Properly Dressed

Showing up at a job interview in inappropriate attire or in clothes that are wrinkled is another deadly sin. If you haven’t planned ahead of time to iron your clothes or explore the company culture, you could end up looking shabby and embarrassing. If you have a chance to drive by your potential employer’s office to see how other employees are dressed, do so. At the very least, pick out your interview outfit the night before, try it on, iron or clean as necessary, and set the pieces out for easy dressing.

  1. Not Preparing for Your Interview

Have you practiced answering interview questions? Have you read the company’s website and annual report if available? Have you looked up news about the company? Preparing for an interview takes effort, but that effort pays off when you have rehearsed answers to difficult questions and can have an intelligent conversation about the company itself. Not preparing for the interview may leave you looking nervous and uninformed.

  1. Not Preparing Extra Copies

The company already has your resume, but you should plan to bring extra copies. While you’re at it, bring extra copies of any portfolio items, references, awards, and anything else a recruiter may be interested in. Never walk in empty-handed. By planning ahead, you can present yourself in a strong light by having extra copies of important documents.

  1. Not Having a Follow-Up Plan

After the interview is over, do you have a plan for following up? The lack of follow-up can hurt your chance to be hired. Instead, make a plan to send thank-you cards and professional follow-up emails. Write the thank-you cards as soon as the interview is over and craft an email asking if the company needs additional information from you to send in a week or two. Not having a plan to contact the company after the interview may take you out of the running.

It’s tempting to leave your career to chance and not plan, but the people who are most successful are prepared ahead of time for any job search opportunity. Take time to put together your plan, and stop letting lack of planning cost you.

How do you plan ahead of time for job interviews? Share your tips with us in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Instant Makeover: Look More Professional In Minutes

professional_in_an_instant_webLooking your best in job interviews is an essential part of showing potential employers that you’re professional and serious about the opportunity. The same goes for maintaining a level of professionalism and success in the workplace. And, doing so doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, there are a number of things you can do right now to make your professional image look even more professional. Here are nine tips for an instant professional make-over.

Embrace the power of a neck tie
Gentlemen, if you’re heading to a job interview, don’t forget to throw on a nice tie. Wearing a tie instantly shows professionalism and lets the interviewer know you’re taking this opportunity seriously. If you aren’t sure how to tie a tie, don’t worry! Check out these how-to tips and you’ll be an expert in no time.

Polish your shoes
It’s amazing how a freshly-polished pair of nice shoes can pull together an interview outfit. Though it’s a step often missed, polishing your shoes is an important part of looking professional in interviews or at work. If you don’t have the extra time or money to have your shoes shined professionally, invest in some inexpensive polish and get to work yourself. GQ has some tips for do-it-yourself shoe polishing to help you step up your interview game.

Make sure you’re well-groomed
It may seem obvious, but it’s important to look your best during interviews or while on the job. This includes your overall personal hygiene, too. You can dress well, prepare for the interview, and speak professionally, but neglecting personal hygiene can instantly ruin the image you want to project. If you have an interview scheduled, make sure you’re ready by showering, fixing your hair, and maintaining a clean-shaven appearance.

Dress to impress
Whether at work or in a job interview, the way you dress says a lot about you. If you’re going to an interview, what you wear can make or break your chances of landing the job. Before you head out of the house, make sure you’re dressed in clean, unwrinkled clothes. Take your interview outfit to the dry cleaners a few days before if you need to, and be sure to use a lint roller if you have animals that shed in your home. To help you understand what to wear to an interview, research the company’s culture before you arrive.

Invest in comfortable shoes
With any job, chances are you’ll spend a good deal of time on your feet. So, invest in a pair of comfortable, work-appropriate shoes to get you through the day. If your shoes are old, worn, and damaged, you could not only be hurting your image, but also your feet and posture.

Practice your speech
Speaking in front of others can be nerve-racking, which may lead you to use words like “um,” or “uh” far more frequently than interviewers would like to hear. To help you eliminate such words and gain better control over your speech, try speaking into a recording device and playing it back. When you listen to the recording, take notes on your natural speaking habits and try to adjust. Do this as much as you need to until you’ve gained better control and confidence over your speech.

Be positive, respectful, and reliable
Being professional isn’t just about how you look or speak. The way you behave can also play a big role in how you appear to interviewers, managers, or co-workers. Especially in interviews, it’s important to maintain a positive attitude and be respectful. Be courteous to everyone you meet during an interview, from the person at the front desk to the interviewer. And, focus on being reliable from the start. Show up on time and perform any job-related interview assignments requested of you afterwards. At work, showing up on time, working diligently, and completing projects with accuracy and efficiency can help boost your professional image instantly.

Stay organized
If you have a workspace at your job, it’s important to keep it neat. Professionalism doesn’t look like a messy, disorganized desk, but rather a tidy, clean space conducive to learning and working. When you clean your desk, don’t forget about your computer. Keeping your desktop clean and organized can show a level of professionalism that is sometimes overlooked.

Make your private life private again
Social media is beneficial for many reasons, including helping you in your job search. But, your online presence can also cost you the interview or the job. It’s important to keep your social media profiles clean and professional in case an interviewer, manager, or co-worker finds them. To take greater control of your personal life, be sure to adjust your social media privacy settings and maintain a professional look on all of your accounts. Need help? Check out these tips for detoxing your social media.

How do you make sure you look as professional as possible on the job or in interviews? Share your tips in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Fall Fashion Tips for Your Work Wardrobe

stk325045rknAs summer draws to a close, it’s time to think about what to wear to the office during the cooler fall months. Staying stylish while watching your wallet can be a challenge, but looking your best for the office or on job interviews is important. So, how can you take your existing wardrobe and transition it into new fall styles?

To answer this question, we sat down with Grace Gordon, fashion correspondent for Savoir Flair fashion magazine, to get her advice. Here are three tips to look your best for job interviews and in the workplace this fall.

Go With the Flow – Women’s Wardrobe Tips
While blouses and sweater dresses are big this year, going with the flow is key. According to Grace, “This fall, everything has a flowing, casual feel.” Women’s fashion will incorporate a nice, loose flow to formerly structured suits. Suit and skirt ensembles will be more relaxed, and while the style is loose, it’s also trendy. “We’re looking at wide-legged trousers, but no high waists. Everything sits low on the hip this year,” Gordon said.

Women’s fashion is all about feminine accents this fall. Turtlenecks and layering are back in a big way, and pairing a soft sweater dress with a colorful jacket is a comfortable yet professional look.

According to Gordon, jewel tones are the color of the season. Try pairing emerald blouses with neutral skirts or jackets for color that stands out. “If you are at a desk for most of the day, look for knit-wear and looser shapes for comfort,” Gordon said. “For interviews, a loosely-tailored suit with a metallic blouse will show power.”

Statement necklaces are still in, and Art Deco is coming back in style. “Sculpture jewelry looks like art,” Grace said. And, handbags and purses reflect the jewel tones of fall with lots of hand beading in vibrant colors and even colored feathers. This fall, little details pack a big statement.

Trendy Tailored Look – Men’s Wardrobe Tips
Mix fabrics like wool with embellished trim or find unique color blocking patterns to stay trendy this fall. And, don’t forget the importance of tailored clothing. Instead of getting stuck with an ill-fitting dress shirt, invest in custom-cut work shirts. Though they can be pricey, companies like ShirtsMyWay let men create their own shirt designs and measurement profiles so that they can get exactly what they need.

Gingham shirts are always a popular choice for fall and can be used at smart, casual work environments,” Gordon said.

If your workplace requires ties, or you just like to step up your wardrobe, go for knit ties this fall. And, classic leather accessories like messenger bags add that extra touch of class to any work outfit.

Remember the Dress Code
As with every season, the set guidelines for dress in your office are the ultimate say-so in choosing a nice fall fashion. If your office is more traditional, you may want to stick with neutrals and classic cuts even if the runways are all abuzz about leather and loose-fitting suits. Just because it’s listed in this article doesn’t mean your boss will agree.

Always strive to look your best and represent your workplace the way it intends to be represented. There are ways to look good, no matter what the policies dictate! And, since trends tend to change year-by-year, the more timeless you can keep your outfit, the more money it will save you in the long run. Stay modest, stay colorful, and stay professional!

Do you have any tips for transitioning into a fall wardrobe? Are there more fall trends that we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Cheer Up Your LinkedIn Profile

cheer_up_March2014We all spend time reading other peoples’ posts and updates on social media, but when is the last time you skimmed over your own profile and updated your information? Do you need to refresh your profile by adding new skills and work history, or do you need to delete some old things from your profile? Here are a few quick tips to cheer up your LinkedIn Profile.

What is Your LinkedIn Profile Saying About You?
Is your LinkedIn profile leaving an accurate and good impression on those who view it? A CareerBuilder study shows hiring managers are using social media to evaluate candidates’ character and personality traits outside the confines of the traditional interview process. When asked why they use social networks to conduct background research, hiring managers stated the following: 65% wanted to see if the candidate presents himself/herself professionally, 51% wanted to see if the candidate is a good fit for the company culture, 45% wanted to learn more about the candidate’s qualifications, 35% wanted to see if the candidate is well-rounded, and 12% wanted to look for reasons not to hire the candidate.

LinkedIn is a great social media tool for letting people in the professional arena learn more about you, your skills, and your work experience. So, where do you start?

Update Your Profile Picture
First things first, start with updating your profile picture. If your picture is more than five years old, it’s time for a new one. Make sure your photo is a head shot of you in business attire, not a picture of you with other people. Don’t forget to smile!

Freshen Up Your Summary
If you don’t have a professional summary, you need to write one. Don’t ever leave your summary blank. In fact, don’t leave any field blank on your profile. Your summary is one of the first things an employer sees when they look at your profile, which is a great way to introduce and present yourself. Take a quick look through your profile and professional summary to make sure you’re showcasing yourself and your abilities. Your summary doesn’t need to be long or in-depth, but it does need to point employers in the right direction. Keep in mind, your skills and information are searchable so you’ll want to use key words and descriptions that align with your industry.

Clean Up Your Group Lists
Joining groups on LinkedIn is a great way to grow your network. If your interests have changed since you first joined LinkedIn and you’d like to learn more about a different industry or company don’t hesitate to join their LinkedIn group. Cleaning up your old groups and add new ones can help you cheer up your LinkedIn profile.

Follow New People
Do you have professional role models that you look up to? See if those people have LinkedIn accounts and request to follow them. Following those you look up to and seeing their updates on your LinkedIn feed can help encourage you in your job search and keep you motivated during your career journey.

Cheering up your LinkedIn and other social media profiles might be just what you need to get noticed. These edits and updates can be done in a short amount of time, so cheer up your LinkedIn profile today. Have you landed a job by using LinkedIn? Let us know in the comments section below!

Best Colors to Wear for an Interview

Best_Colors_Interview_Jan2014_webWhen it comes to dressing for an interview, conservative is always the best way to go. With today’s ever-changing trends, it’s important to wear proper attire and appropriate colors to allow your interviewer to see you in a good light. Making a positive first impression is vital to getting the job you’ve been waiting for, so keep your attire simple.

What do the colors you wear say about you? Harris Interactive, one of the world’s leading market research firms, recently performed a national study with 2,099 hiring managers and human resource professionals from various industries and company sizes. These professionals were asked to advise job seekers on the best colors to wear to an interview and here are their recommendations provide valuable insight for job seekers.

Dress for Interview Success
Responses show the most recommended colors to wear to an interview are black or blue because these colors show leadership and professionalism. You don’t have to stick to a plain color of blouse and it’s okay to wear small prints, but keep in mind you don’t want the interviewer to be distracted by your wardrobe.

What Not to Wear
Bright orange topped the charts for being the worst color to wear to an interview, because it is the color that is mostly associated with unprofessionalism.

On the other hand, gray portrays a logical and analytical attitude. White shows organization, brown shows dependability, red shows power, and green, yellow, and purple show a creative side.

CareerBuilder offers these tips on dressing for success when preparing your interview wardrobe:

Don’t ever go to an interview too casual, be sure to dress for the environment, and always look polished. Before your interview, do your research on businesses that are interviewing you so you’ll know what their environments are like. For instance, you wouldn’t want to wear shorts and flip flops to a strictly professional business and you wouldn’t want to interview in slacks and a dress coat at a business that is laid back and less professional or you may not come across as the right fit for the job.

Have you been job searching and recently been asked to come in for an interview? Keep these interview wardrobe tips in mind as you’re preparing for your next job interview.

For more advice on interview wardrobes check out these blogs:

Men’s Work Attire That Never Goes Out of Style
Women’s Work Attire That Never Goes Out of Style
Dress For Success: What to Wear for an Interview
Putting Together a Work Wardrobe

Save Money by Thrift Store Shopping For What to Wear For a Job Interview

Interview AttireWhen it comes to finding appropriate professional attire for a job interview, the cost of what you need could be a challenge. Shopping online or in person at malls and suit stores can rack up the dollar signs and quickly go beyond most moderate budgets.

Luckily, that doesn’t have to be an issue. In a news segment from Triad Area North Carolina news station Fox 8, fashion designer and motivational speaker Craig Stokes gave an overview of classic job interview attire and how he was able to find a professional wardrobe in a thrift store for less than $20.

Depending on your area, you might not be able to find perfectly fitted attire at your local thrift store. But if you consider some of his advice, you might be able to save a pretty penny for your next job interview while still looking fashionable and professional.

Choosing the Right Attire for Your First Day

People in UniformIf you’re about to start your first day at a new job you’ve probably given a lot of thought to what you’re going to wear, but have you figured it out yet? Check with your employer to make sure you know what the company dress code is. Do you know what they mean by professional or casual dress? Do you wear something like what you wore to your interview, or should you dress more casual? Does the attire you have in mind fit into the dress code? Knowing exactly what to wear can be confusing, but it’s important to dress to impress from day one to reassure your employer that you’re the right person for the job. Here are some guidelines for five common dress codes to help you figure it out.

Professional
This is the most formal dress code, and it’s usually reserved for business environments. It includes suits, button-down shirts, ties, and dress shoes for men. For women, this attire includes blouses and pant suits or skirt suits with nylons and high-heeled dress shoes. Some professions require this type of dress on a daily basis, while others require it only on certain occasions, such as business meetings, presentations, or sales calls. Suit jackets are typically a must for the professional dress code, so don’t leave home on your first day without one.

Business Casual
The business casual environment is professional yet relaxed. Men wear dress slacks and button-down shirts but often leave their ties at home, and women wear skirts or dress slacks with blouses. Jackets are optional, but are an easy way to dress-up your attire, so it might be a good idea to keep one handy just in case. Wearing khakis and a polo shirt embroidered with the company logo is also usually appropriate for this dress code for both men and women. For men, casual loafers and dress shoes are acceptable, but sneakers and sandals need to be left at home. Women can wear high-heeled shoes or flats, but sneakers, flip-flops, and beach sandals are not appropriate.

Casual
For some offices, a casual dress code is only allowed on Fridays. For workplaces with an every day casual attire, khakis, jeans, polo shirts, casual shoes, and clean sneakers are generally appropriate. Make sure to leave jogging suits, worn-out attire, sandals, and revealing clothing at home. If your new workplace allows casual attire but you’re not sure how much to dress up or down for your first day, khakis and a polo shirt are a safe bet to start off with until you learn what’s acceptable.

Industrial
There is no set standard for an industrial dress code because jobs within the industry require different attire for safety and necessity. For example, construction sites may require steel-toed boots while other businesses simply require closed-toed shoes. Jewelry or baggy clothing may be prohibited for safety precautions. Shorts may even be acceptable for some positions, while others might require long pants. So, check with your employer to ask for specific details about the dress code to show your professionalism and safety awareness.

Uniform
If your new position requires a uniform or special attire, make sure you know the guidelines for how to wear it. Depending on the company and type of position, you might be required to iron your uniform or wear additional accessories such as a belt. You might also be limited to what you can wear in addition to your wardrobe, so ask about whether or not it’s OK to wear jewelry or hats. Check with your employer to see if you’ll be provided with a uniform or if you’re required to purchase all or part of it yourself, and whether you’ll need to pick it up prior to your start date or during your first day on the job.

With these guidelines you can choose the right dress code for your first day. Whatever type of dress code your new work environment requires, you can demonstrate your respect for the employer and your professionalism in the workplace by following these guidelines.