Monthly Archives: December 2008

Putting Together a Work Wardrobe

Work WardrobeAn investment in a professional wardrobe is an investment in your career and your future. A well put-together wardrobe not only helps garner respect and credibility in the workplace, but it also boosts your confidence. When you dress professionally, you’ll be viewed in a more positive light, feel more professional, and be more productive.

While a nice wardrobe isn’t always cheap to put together, keeping these few tips in mind can help you strategically build a stylish, yet professional, wardrobe while spending your dollars wisely.

Keep it Classic. While you may be tempted to purchase the latest fashion trends, these items generally cost more and go out of style quicker. Stick to classic styles that will last season after season, such as a simple black suit. With classics, you can always update your look by adding an accessory, such as a new tie or scarf, or mixing and matching with other pieces.

Stick to Neutral Colors. When purchasing foundation pieces – slacks, skirts, and suits for example – avoid loud colors and patterns. Neutral colors, such as blacks, browns, and tans, mix and match much easier, and allows you to wear the item over and over again.

Make Quality Purchases. The pieces in your wardrobe will be worn many times, so don’t skimp on quality. If you opt for less expensive clothes, you might end up spending more in the long run by replacing worn-out clothing. Determine if the item’s fabric will stand up to the wear of repeated use. This doesn’t mean you have to spend $1,200 on a designer suit, but choosing a stronger fabric will allow you to wear it longer. Even if you pay a few more dollars for a suit, the price per wear will be less expensive as you wear it over time.

Know What You Want.  Before you head to the store, figure out what you want or need to complete your wardrobe. This will help you avoid impulsive purchases. Having your clothes organized at home can help you identify the missing pieces in your wardrobe and help you buy items that will complement or complete an outfit. This will also help you avoid buying something you don’t need or something that won’t go with what you currently own.

Unless you have an unlimited budget, a work wardrobe isn’t something you can put together overnight. However, by making good choices, you can gradually build a professional, yet cost effective, wardrobe you can wear long term.

How Does Your Attitude Portray You?

Attitude at WorkMuch like a first impression, your workplace attitude can leave a long-term image in others’ minds. Your attitude at work can create a reflects not only on you but also on the work that you do. And, it’s not easy to shake a bad reputation, if you’re known to complain, be arrogant, act lazy, or slack off.

Your attitude can play a large part in determining how your colleagues feel about you as a co-worker. So, make sure you have the right attitude to be seen as a productive member of your team.

Negativity in the workplace only breeds more negativity. It’s never too late for an attitude adjustment. Workers with positive attitudes are a joy to be around. They can be relied upon during important situations and don’t bad mouth the company or co-workers. People with can-do attitudes regularly produce good work because they realize that their thumbprints are on all that they do. So, no matter what the situation, look at it with a positive light. It will go a long way in reflecting the image you want to portray. Check out our five tips to start your day on a positive note. A positive attitude can help you become a worker people look forward to working with. And if you’re a joy to work with, everyone will be happier and more productive.

What image are you portraying at work? Do others with a bad attitude make your job a pain? How does attitude affect your work life?

Want to Get Featured on this Blog?

We’re looking for your ideas about the worst career mistakes a person can make – or even one that you have made yourself.

We’re asking on Twitter, Facebook, and this blog. Then, we’ll select the top mistakes our readers share – along with our advice on how to avoid them (the mistakes, not the readers!)

To enter your idea, simply leave a comment to this post, including at least your first name so we can give you credit! Please limit your submission to 200 words.

If you want credit to your blog, Twitter, or Facebook profile, just include a link along with your name and idea.

Bloggers can also write a post about this topic and send a trackback to this post. Then, just come leave us a comment letting us know about your post, and we’ll include it as a submission.

Please submit your ideas by Monday, December 29.

We’re looking forward to your stories and ideas! 

Gen Y: Casual Communication and What it Says About You

I recently read a post on Careerealism that talked about a grad who wanted a promotion at his current job but was denied due to his lack of verbal and written communication skills. He was smart, resourceful, and had lots of great ideas, but the way he presented them to others made his co-workers wonder if he was actually a college graduate.

According to recent surveys, hiring managers from across the nation are seeing more casual conversation among 20-somethings, like text messaging and e-mails using shorthand or text lingo. While using these types of communication among certain social networks is OK, it’s not acceptable among more mature workers. Typically, those in a position of authority are older and perceive these types of communication as disrespectful.

Sometimes, I wonder if Generation Y has been stunted by the extreme speed of technology and text messaging capabilities and have lost the invaluable skills and patience needed to communicate clearly with the older generations who still play a vital role in today’s job market. You may not realize it, but OMG, LOL, and other shorthand acronyms for everyday communication among your peers will not pass with everyone in the workplace.

With many different generations in today’s workforce, it’s important to adapt to and learn a variety of communication styles in order to effectively communicate, get the promotion you want, or even land a job. And, when dealing with the older workforce, it’s best to stick with traditional methods of communication.

Instead of relying on e-mail or texting on your phone, try handwriting a thank you note to a potential boss. Write a short, clear message and avoid acronyms or emoticons.

If you’re already in the workplace and use e-mail to communicate with others at work, clearly state your message and try proofreading it before you send it. This will help reduce confusion and miscommunication among you and your co-workers. Also, try these nine simple tips to write an effective e-mail.

So, the next time you think about sending your boss, co-worker, or even a potential employer a text or an e-mail with text lingo or emoticons, think about how you might be perceived and try some traditional approaches instead.

How to Work Through an Ice Storm

Work Through an Ice StormDecember is here, and for most parts of the country, winter is arriving in full force. The best way to avoid a wreck on the ice is to not drive at all. But, many people must drive through icy conditions just to make it to work. When you head to work in winter weather, keep these few tips in mind to ensure your commute is a safe one.

Plan for Inclement Weather.
If the forecast calls for bad weather overnight, plan for bad road conditions even if your local meteorologist has a reputation for not always being on the money. If you park outside, be prepared to de-ice your car in the morning. Wake up a little earlier to give yourself plenty of time to defrost your car and drive to work unrushed. If you do find yourself with little time to let your car’s defrost system kick in, spray de-icing solution onto your windshield. This can be found at your local automotive store or a homemade mixture of half water and half vinegar will work just as well. Be sure to not pour hot water onto your frozen windshield because it can crack the glass.

Pack Proper Equipment.
To be on the safe side, store jumper cables, a flashlight, a blanket, gloves, a bag of salt or cat litter, and an ice scraper and brush in your vehicle. Then you’ll be prepared to handle the worst no matter where you are. If you’re in the office when snow and ice arrive and you aren’t properly prepared, a credit card can work well as a makeshift ice scraper. Also, make sure your cell phone is always charged in case you get stranded and need to call for help.

Complete Your Tasks on Time.
Missing a deadline or coming in to work late due to inclement weather can cause headaches for you and your team. To help out in times like these, finish your work quickly and work ahead if you can during the winter in case a blizzard hits or schools get cancelled and you have to stay at home to take care of a child. You’ll be less stressed and not so far behind when you return to work. Also, if you foresee a storm, talk to your supervisor about tele-commuting or working from home.

By taking a few precautions and planning ahead before bad weather hits, you can avoid the perils of traveling to work in frigid weather. Drive safely!

Have other winter weather tips? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.

Finishing The Year Strong

The year is quickly coming to an end, and you may be in a hurry to start anew with the beginning of 2009. But, right now you have an opportunity to finish strong, giving you a better chance for a smooth start next year. Here are three ways you can make the most out of your time before heading home for the holidays.

Prioritize your assignments. Figure out what projects are most important to complete now, which ones are simple and due soon, and which ones require more time or energy but are due later on. Make sure to write each deadline on a calendar, and then pencil in when you’ll actually work on each project. This will help you clearly see if you have enough time to complete all of your projects or if you need to ask for help to get them done on time.

Schedule a break. The end of the year can be hectic and sometimes stressful when you’re juggling holidays, shopping, parties, and vacations in addition to your workload. So, after you list all of your tasks on your calendar, look to see if you can squeeze in some time for yourself. Whether it’s setting a lunch date with an old friend, spending an afternoon at the park, or taking a day off to relax, plan some alone time to help you de-stress. This will help you refocus on your priorities at work and complete them on time when you return to the office.

Keep a positive attitude. Staying positive through the end of the year can help you focus on your tasks and get each job done well. A poor attitude will just make your tasks seem overwhelming, so try to stay upbeat. Even though times may be stressful as you’re trying to finish up your annual projects, keeping a positive attitude will help you – and your co-workers – enjoy the rest of the year. 

Before you know it, the end of the year will be here. So, use these three tips now to help you enjoy the last few weeks of the year while still getting your work done on time.