Dress for Success

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.

How to Say Yes to a Summer Work Wardrobe

summerwardrobe_webBuilding your work wardrobe is never easy. Between the hassles of finding reasonable prices and making sure your new clothes fit the dress code policies of your office, sometimes staying up-to-date with the current season and fashion trends can fall by the wayside. However, looking your best is something we sometimes take for granted. As it’s frequently said, first impressions mean the most, and what you are wearing is commonly the initial thing that others notice about you. That’s why Movin’ On Up has compiled a list of ways to say yes to a summer work wardrobe; to help you stay fashionable while keeping your professional appearance intact.

Say Yes to Modesty

Summer is hot. We all dream of lounging at the pool in our bathing suits or taking a stroll in shorts and flip flops. However, when you’re at the office, it’s crucial to keep covered. A great way to accomplish this while still staying cool is to add some lighter materials to your ensemble. Pack up the heavy, thick pieces you used to keep warm in the winter and bring in some breathable clothes, like cotton dresses and dressy tank tops for women (as long as your dress policy allows for them) and cotton button-down shirts for men.

Say Yes to Color

Summer is fun! There’s no need to keep all your colors neutral and boring. Take advantage of the fact that it’s bright outside and bring some of that into the office. For women, simple colored blouses or fun patterns can add a little cheer to your workday, along with white trousers and jackets, and neutral nails. On the men’s side, staying classic is best, and adding small pops of color is encouraged.

Say Yes to Accessories

Summer is exciting. That’s why you shouldn’t leave your wardrobe looking dull and lifeless. Make sure to jazz it up with some simple finishing touches that really bring everything together. The skinny gold bangle is a surefire win for women this summer, as are perforated leather totes and statement necklaces. Men don’t have as many accessory options as women, but a nice summer watch can do wonders for adding some charm to your outfit.

Say Yes to Professionalism

Summer is still a time to work. As with everything, the set guidelines for dress in your office are the ultimate say-so. Even if you find the perfect sandal wedges or dangly earrings for the season, if your clothing policy says no, don’t break or even bend the rules. Save the shorts, capris, and sheer tanks for the weekend. Even if it’s listed in this article, it doesn’t necessarily mean your boss will agree. Always strive to look your best and represent your workplace the way it intends to be represented. There are always ways to look good, no matter what the policies dictate!

Choosing your wardrobe for the summer is a time to express yourself and look your best. 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, stay accessorized, and stay professional.

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

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

5 Great Apps To Help You Prepare For An Interview



“There’s an app for that!” is an iconic Apple Inc. slogan, one of several companies capitalizing off of the trend of desktops being replaced by mobile devices. According to a five year report by “Flurry,” a leading producer of app analytics, consumers now spend two hours and 42 minutes a day on their phone, with 80% of that being used for apps and only 20% for internet search.

This increase in phone usage means the need for apps continually increases as well. From documenting every second of your life to maximizing your next selfie, there truly is an app for everything. Among those millions of apps are actually some very useful tools for job seekers. So which of them can help you land that next job? Below you’ll find five apps that are sure to make an impact on your interview preparation.

Knowing your audience is very important in many facets of life, and it can definitely be a winning factor in an interview. Glassdoor calls themselves the world’s most transparent career community. It is a largely crowd sourced online resource that connects you with company information, employee reviews, salary information, and job descriptions. This knowledge can be helpful in giving you a deeper understanding of the companies that you are applying with.

Interview Prep Questions
Once you get in the door of an employer, it’s not always smooth sailing. Some hiring managers will ask you tough questions that could rock your boat if you aren’t prepared. This quick-flip app displays questions similar to flash cards and lets you get familiar with frequently asked questions so you can give solid, confident answers.

A simple app by career search company Monster. This app has multiple tools to help you prepare with sample interview questions, company research tools, and last minute tips to keep you calm and collected on the interview big day. Another unique function it provides is a post-interview calendar option. With this you can set reminders for follow up calls and save important notes that you can reference if you get called in for a second interview.

Google Maps
Although not directly related to the actual interview, knowing where to go for your interview can relieve one more stressor and help keep you focused on the task at hand. I speak from experience – getting lost and calling the employer for directions doesn’t help put your best foot forward.

An integral part of getting your next job is dressing the part. And, anyone who wears ties in their day-to-day lives will tell you the knot in your tie is very important in how you present yourself. So if you aren’t familiar with tying a tie, this app can definitely help top off your appearance with a top-notch knot.

Not everything can be solved with your digital companion, but when job hunting you can never have too much support. Regardless of how you prepare, be sure to research and prepare for the tough questions. Most importantly, be sure to stand tall, stay confident, and present yourself like you are their next most valuable employee. If you know of other apps that are complementary to the interview preparation be sure, to let us know in the comments section below.

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

Workplace Fashion Police – Just the Facts

The Workplace Fashion PoliceWorkers and job seekers, the advice you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the improperly dressed.

It was Friday, Oct. 26, and sultry day at Fashion Police headquarters. I was getting reports of neglected promotions, missing job offers, and lacking professionalism. I didn’t know why it was happening, but I had to try to stop it. Appearances can be deceiving, especially in this workplace-fashion lineup. According to Southwest Florida Business Today, 93% of executives across the country admit a person’s work attire influences his or her chances of earning a promotion.

This is a video. I carry a badge. I am the Fashion Police – I tell the difference between who gets hired and promoted, and who doesn’t.

How to Knock ‘em Dead With Your Business Card

Businesscard_march2012_webMany people see business cards as a tool used by executives and business owners who want you to remember their company when you need to do business with them. But, truth be told, business cards are also great way to promote your personal brand by having others remember you when they learn of job openings.

Business cards can be a useful addition to your arsenal of job-seeking tools helping get your information to the right people no matter where you are. They are great for networking and help you appear more prepared and professional when talking to others in your field. But, where do you start? What should be included on the card? With these easy steps, you’ll be able to make and use a polished, professional-looking business card that will help you wow whoever you give it to.

Chose the Content and Tagline

Your contact information is one of the most important things to put on the card. Generally, the easiest way to contact a person is through their phone number and email address. Try to keep it to the number and email, but if there is a method you use more often, use your best judgment before including them. Try avoiding addresses, job experience, or multiple phone lines.

Consider including links to your relevant, work-related social media profiles like Twitter or LinkedIn. If you have a website or blog about your work or the industry you work in, consider including those as well. To help you be more memorable, try including a tag line under your name, like a quote or slogan that describes you or your work, an image, or a logo.

Choose the Design

The layout, colors, and overall design of your card should reflect your personality, work, and overall image. If you want the loudest, most colorful, or most unique business card anyone has ever seen, you should have the demeanor to match.  Business cards come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Play around with the options and use your best judgment to find a look that stands out, but isn’t distracting. Paper choice is also important. If the card stock is too thin, it cheapens your image. There are a variety of textures, finishes, and weights in paper.

Budget is also something to consider. The more complicated or colorful your card is, the more expensive it is to print. If you have the money to spend or have connections, you can work with a graphic designer to create a customized look for your card. If that isn’t an option, there are a variety of online printers for custom cards like VistaPrint, Moo, or 99 Designs that range in price and customizability.

Choose the Time

Business cards are most useful at networking events or career fairs. When attending these functions, always bring more than you think you’ll need. Also, carry them around wherever you go. You never know what could happen, and you’ll need to have one ready at all times. Nothing can hurt your image more than handing someone a beat up business card. Consider getting a special holder to keep them from getting bent or smudged in your wallet or purse. And, make sure cards aren’t bunched in your purse or stuck in a notebook so that finding one isn’t a search and rescue mission.

Use your best judgment when giving people your card. Practice good etiquette and don’t bombard every person you meet with your card. Let it come up in natural conversation or wait until the end and give them one if you feel like they can be a viable contact.

Handing out business cards can greatly increase your chances of getting your name out and help others remember you longer, just by what’s printed on a small piece of paper. How have business cards influenced you? Share with us some of your favorite business card ideas in the comments below.

Women’s Work Attire That Never Goes Out of Style

Women's business attireIn a previous post, we discussed traditional styles of men’s work attire that have stood the test of time. They are still some of the best ways to make a good first impression when interviewing and working with colleagues. This post will highlight some professional styles for women that never lose their elegance and look good too.

Some may consider business fashion more difficult for women because of the constantly changing trends and styles available to them, but it’s surprising to know that when it comes to classic attire that is timeless and still means business, women’s fashion is very similar to men’s.

That Suit Looks Like a Lady

If you’re looking for classic, then go with wearing the skirt suit. Skirt suits are considered to be the best option when interviewing or showing for a very professional look. If you absolutely loathe wearing skirts and pantyhose, check with your employer’s dress code before wearing a pantsuit. While some organizations may allow them, more traditional companies won’t because pantsuits are still considered less formal.

Just like men’s suits, going with dark brown, gray, or navy will give you a professional, confident look without bringing attention to yourself. Blouses should remain a light color, but avoid low cut or revealing shirts. If you want to accessorize, consider wearing a softly colored scarf. If you have to question yourself about a color being appropriate, go ahead and choose a different color.  While it may be fun to mix and match your colors, having a matching suit is preferred.

Don’t Skimp on the Skirt

The hemlines of your skirt should be mid-knee length or longer. Miniskirts are not only inappropriate, but they also send the message that you’re not serious. When wearing longer skirts, avoid wearing ones with deep slits at the sides, back, or front.

Sometimes the constant struggle with wearing pantyhose can lead many women to consider pantyhose their worst enemy. But, full-length pantyhose should be worn with a business suit.  Natural skin tone colors are best, but you can wear colored hose as long as they stay opaque and don’t look like tights. As far as classic shoes, you can wear some with a pattern, but keep them the same color as your suit.

Don’t be an Accessory to a Fashion Crime

When it comes to attire in the workplace, less is more. Accessories and jewelry should be kept to a minimum. Try to limit yourself to about four accessories with earrings counting as one. Over accessorizing can bring a lot of unwanted attention to yourself, instead of wanted attention to your work. Earrings should be modest, including a stud-type or small hoops, and not dangly. All jewelry should be conservative to enhance your suit, and should not be distracting or flashy.

Makeup should appear natural. Avoid using overly dark or bright eye shadow and lipstick. It’s best to save your creative or stylish makeup routines for outside of work activities. While nails should be clean and manicured at a decent length, avoid using bright or decorated polish. No one wants to shake hands with Freddy Krueger. If you want to wear perfume, keep it light, but try avoiding using it at all.

Wearing traditional business attire doesn’t have to be rocket science or boring. If you follow our easy guides on appropriate business attire that never goes out of style, you’d be surprised how effective ditching the latest trends for the classic look will be for your career. What are some fashion tips you think should be included on this list?

Men’s Work Attire That Never Goes Out of Style

Male_professional_Dec2011_webWhether you just graduated from college or are looking to switch careers into the professional world, you may not have a full grasp of what is considered appropriate workplace attire. If your company dress code requires professional dress, you may be a little lost as to what is currently in style and what has always been conservative, classic professional business attire. 

While some consider men’s business fashion relatively easy compared to women, there is still much to consider and be mindful of when choosing appropriate wardrobe. But have no fear as we point out classic business styles that will give you the best chance of making a good first impression and look like the highly skilled professional you know you are.

Suit Up

The most important element of a professional male’s attire is the business suit. You want to appear approachable and confident, so wear neutral colors like gray, charcoal, navy, or dark brown. Black suits are very formal, elegant, and stylish, but consider an alternative color when interviewing, because black suits tend to send an overly formal or standoffish message.

Your suit jacket should be buttoned while standing and unbuttoned when sitting. If you have a two- or three-button suit, keep the bottom button opened. Your slacks should match the coat, be hemmed to the top of the heel at the back, and touch the front of your shoes.

No Shirts, No Ties, No Business

It’s important to make sure your clothes are clean and pressed. If you don’t take the time to get rid of excessive wrinkles, potential employers and co-workers won’t think you’ll take the time on the job. To contrast your dark suit, wear light colored shirts like cream, light blue, or white. Even though Donald Trump made the two-tone shirts with a different colored collar famous, keep your shirts plain and free of insignias.

To complete the ensemble, choose a medium width tie with subtle designs and colors that falls to the middle of your belt. They should be darker than your shirt and complement the color scheme of your suit. You may love your Tabasco® or holiday tie, but keep it subdued when in a professional environment.

Accessorize Your Right to Look Classy.

Keeping things minimal is key in professional male dress. Try to limit accessories and jewelry to three pieces. So chose to wear a ring, cuff links, and handkerchief while leaving the lapel pins, watches, and tie tacks at home. Avoid necklaces, piercings, or tattoos because they aren’t seen as professional for a male and can be distracting.

Your socks, shoes, and belt should match with the color scheme of your slacks. If your suit is navy and you are wearing brown shoes, make sure your belt and socks are brown as well. Socks should cover your calves and be a darker color without any loud or busy designs. Wear wing tip or lace up shoes that are properly shined and maintained, leaving the loafers to your more casual events.  

If you adhere to the tried and true fashion of classic business attire, you will always be dressed appropriately in that situation. Check back next week when we’ll discuss business attire for women that never goes out of style.