Dress for Success in Job Interviews – Tips for Women, Men



First impressions are lasting impressions. They really count in your job search. This is especially true if you’re working your way up your career ladder to management or any other important position in a conservative or traditional business environment.

(True, an artistic or creative work environment is different. This article is designed for ambitious job seeking professionals in a traditional workplace.)

Additionally, it’s important to dress as though you’re interviewing for your dream position that you want five years from now.

male manager, professionalThis is also true if you’re really ambitious and want to be a CEO someday.

Since 2009, the most-frequently searched key phrases on this portal are the “differences between leaders and managers” and “how to become a CEO.”

They’re No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, month after month.

So if you’re a future CEO, here’s a memo: Dark suit colors make for an authoritative image.

A well-dressed applicant creates an image.

An interviewer at the executive level will be wondering – sometimes subconsciously – if you’re senior-management material and with enough potential to push her or him up.

The person might also be pondering whether you have what it takes to be the big boss some day.

True, the position you’re seeking might not require impeccable business attire. The interviewers know this.

But it’s better to be over-dressed than to risk being under-dressed in a job interview. I base this from countless experiences.

That includes my experience as a job-seeker or as an interviewing executive early in my career, and as a management consultant advising executives whom they should hire. I’ve never heard company executives complain about overly dressed applicants.

If anything, they appreciate well-dressed applicants. I’ve seen them hold applicants up as examples to their employees. But managers have complained when an applicant is dressed too casually.

Tips for women and men

There are a couple of tips for both women and men. Carry a briefcase with the following items:

— A couple of pens

— Note pad

— Extra copies of your resume (executives sometimes forget to bring your resume or they unexpectedly invite other company employees to join the meeting at the last minute)

— Postage

— Personalized monarch-size stationery or thank you cards

— Bottle of water and protein bar (in case you’re to wait around to stay for a second interview or a tour, which are both good signs)

You’ll want to be able to take notes. Immediately, after the interview run to the nearest post office to send a thank you note so that it arrives the next business day.

Your note should include your appreciation for the person’s consideration, your elevator pitch on why you’re a good match for the company, and a buyer’s remorse statement to make sure the interviewer won’t regret hiring you.

If you’re applying for a sales position, instead of a briefcase carry a thinner portfolio. In this way, they can more easily picture you in a role as one of the company’s salespeople.

About the cell phone, make certain the sound is off before entering the building.

Don’t wear excessive jewelry — at most, a watch and a ring.

And, oh, don’t wear a hat or sunglasses in the building.

Women

Don’t ever wear perfume.

Wear a pant suit or knee-length skirt suit. Make sure you don’t show a low neckline or reveal undergarment straps.

Your skirt hemline should reach at least the middle of your knee. You want the interviewer to know you’re all business.

Despite the trend not to wear hosiery, it doesn’t work for job interviews. Don’t assume you can under-dress. Wear flesh-tone or neutral color stockings.

Your shoes should be low-heel or high heels, but no flats, sandals, tennis shoes or flip flops. In cold weather, boots will work.

Men

Wear a dark-colored suit, such as navy, charcoal gray or black. Pinstripes are fine. For a Friday interview, you can probably wear a navy blazer with taupe or gray slacks. The fabric for the coat and slacks should match whether its wool, wool-blend or linen.

Make sure your suit fits well. Wear mid-calf-length socks so when you sit, your leg isn’t visible. The color of your socks should be dark and accessorized with the color of your slacks.

You should wear leather shoes with laces that go well with your suit. Business loafers are OK on Friday if they’re dressy.

Your shirt should be long-sleeve, either white or light blue or with a business-like pattern or stripes. Either button down or spread collar are best. If you’re high-powered, you probably know about French-cuffs.

Your tie should be silk — traditionally striped or have conservative patterns and colors. Make sure the tie is a suitable style and color for your shirt and jacket.

From the Coach’s Corner, related interview tips:

Praying for a Job? Key Questions to Ask Interviewers — Employers prefer inquisitive applicants. It shows their interest in a company and communication abilities. There are two benefits if you ask the right questions in a job interview. Firstly, you shine compared to your competing job seekers. Secondly, you get the right information to make the best decision.

3 Best Interview Strategies for a Promotion in Your Company — So your company has an opening that would mean a promotion for you. Great. But make sure you prepare properly to avoid disappointment. To get the job you must interview well. Here are best practices to ensure your odds for success.

HR – Interviewers Give Higher Marks to Applicants Interviewed Early in the Day — Interviewers often mistakenly give higher ratings to job job seekers – whom they interview early in the day – at the expense of other applicants. That’s one of the conclusions from research of 10 years of data from more than 9,000 MBA interviews.

Chit-chat in Negotiations Pays off More for Men than Women — FYI, some small talk just before a negotiation provides a boost for men but not women, according to academic researchers. So, if you’re a man, a little chit-chat before the serious discussion helps you make a better impression for better results. But it’s just the opposite if you’re a woman. Men benefit 6 percent more than women.

Multiple Job Offers? Ask the Right Questions to Win in Your Career — Suddenly, you’ve got choices — several companies have said “We want to hire you.” Now, what do you do? Here are five strategies for career success.

Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.






Guidelines for an Effective CV to Land Your Ideal Job



If you’re pursuing a career in academia or research, you know a curriculum vitae (CV) is a basic requirement to get consideration for a career position.

It’s also applicable when applying for fellowships or grants.

ID-10044310 ambroA CV contains more details than a resume, which is normally only one or two pages.

The trick is to develop an effective CV to influence decision-makers to give you the job you seek.

For optimal results, this article shows you what to include in your CV and how to write it.

If you’re a novice, it will also give you ideas for your career success.

It will be an omen on what you need to be focusing in the future to build your credentials.

While comprehensive with several tips, they basically comprise two basic recommendations in substance and style.

You need to know what to include in your CV and how to write it.

1. What to include:

Style and Format. Use a simple font such as Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman. Don’t get too cute.

There are various ways to organize your CV, but consistency is important. The content in each section of your CV should be uniform with the others.

In describing your accomplishments in each position, the layout should resemble the others. Hold the readers’ interest by using bulleted lists wherever feasible.

Ethics and accuracy. Be sure of your facts. Check and re-check your grammar, tense, and spelling. Ask a knowledgeable person to proofread your CV with a critical eye and act as a devil’s advocate — to thoroughly scour each facet searching for errors.

Content information. Your name and contact information should be inserted at the top. In the U.S., do not include personal information such as your birth date and gender. It might be OK in some other countries.

Education. List the institutions you attended, the dates and degrees you earned.

Honors and Awards. Include any fellowships, scholarships, awards, and memberships.

Dissertation and thesis. Mention your dissertation title and thesis. Include a description and the name of your advisor.

Experience — Research. Specify your experience with full details. If your research was published, mention where.

Experience — Work. Include your work experience — academic and non-academic, if it’s applicable. Show the employer, position, dates, responsibilities and accomplishments.

Experience — Teaching. Specify your teaching positions. That includes the school and course, and any other germane information.

Relevant skills. Perhaps you have additional skills to include — for instance, administrative, computer or fluency in languages.

Presentations and publications. Mention what you’re currently doing. That would include anything you’ve contributed — written and co-written. List your presentations at conferences — the name of your paper, the conference name, date and location.

Professional association memberships. If you belong to a professional organization, indicate your affiliation and what you do.

Extracurricular and pro-bono activities. Mention your service and volunteer work. Include any other miscellaneous information that seems appropriate.

Professional references. Include at least three references. Specify the contact information for associates who agree to be a reference.

Now that you know what to include, it’s important to consider your self-marketing — how to write a CV to enhance your chances.

2. How to write it:

Emphasize the results of your work. Every decision-maker will subconsciously ask the “so what?” question or the acronym, “WIIFM — what’s in it for me.” Prospective employers aren’t interested in a mere job description in your CV and cover letter.

For example, when you mention an employment responsibility, explain the benefits — the strong results you delivered for your employer. Your results must be relevant to the position.

Remember the meaning of the acronym — STAR — for situation, task, action and result.

Use forceful verbs. You’ll have a more powerful CV, if you use forceful verbs. For instance, “identified and targeted new opportunities for growth in grants … which resulted in … “

Keywords. Many employers use screening software, which means you must anticipate and use the right keywords. If you’re not sure about the right keywords, check the ads for positions in your sector. Use the relevant keywords that seem most popular in your CV. Actually, be sure to use the same keywords in your LinkedIn profile and cover letters, too.

Note: This also means you might have to change your job titles to conform to the keyword screening used by recruiters and employers. Usually, this means your title might need to be simplified. That’s another reason to research keywords.

Be brief. Use an economy of words. Don’t be long-winded. If you have a tendency to be verbose, look for ways to be descriptive but concise. True, CVs are longer than resumes. Try to limit your CV to three or four pages.

If you’re a consultant, you’ve had a lot of projects and clients. Don’t list all the details for positions 10 years or more ago. List your work but simply include your title, employer’s name and date.

Be focused. Your CV should be tailored for each job you’re pursuing. Yes, customize your CV and cover letter to address the specific points in the advertisement. Be especially mindful of the job’s “required essential experience and skills.”

From the Coach’s Corner, related job-hunting strategies:

Career Advice — An Alternative to Applying for Jobs Online — As a job-hunter you know that a significant number of companies, nonprofits and public-sector agencies use an online tracking system to accept applications and screen out applicants. It cuts down on their paper work and saves them time.

5 Tips to Shine in Your Online Job Application — To sail through the human resources filtering system, here are five online-application tips: 1. Put social media to work for you. Make certain your social media – Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter – are current, professional and show maturity. Be careful what you publish – always keep in mind your career goals.

Increase Your Job Chances if You Have to Interview on the Phone — Face time, of course, is best if you’re interviewing for a job. However, headhunters and many companies schedule introductory telephone interviews. Pat yourself on the back. Even if it’s not an in-person meeting, a telephone interview is a good omen. The employer already thinks enough of you to schedule a discussion.

Job Hunting? Tips to Land Your Dream Job with Style, Substance — Yes, the competition for jobs is ferocious. Here are proven tips to be hired for your dream job.

Multiple Job Offers? Ask the Right Questions to Win in Your Career  — Suddenly, you’ve got choices — several companies have said “We want to hire you.” Now, what do you do? Here are five strategies for career success.

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”

-Arthur Ashe


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of Ambro at www.freedigitalphotos. net


Increase Your Job Chances if You Have to Interview on the Phone



Face time, of course, is best if you’re interviewing for a job. However, headhunters and many companies schedule introductory telephone interviews.

Pat yourself on the back. Even if it’s not an in-person meeting, a telephone interview is a good omen. The employer already thinks enough of you to schedule a discussion.

It’s an opportunity to confidently discuss your background and experience while displaying your personality — your suitability to fit in the company’s culture.

ID-100300363 stockimagesSo, your professionalism is really important — what you say and how you say it, your voice tone and pitch, as well as your conviction and passion for the job and industry.

Here are telephone-interview tips:

– Prepare for the interview. When asked to be interviewed, find out who the interviewer will be and how long the person wants to talk with you.

Review the job description. Take notes so that you’ll be able to mention your successes that address the company’s objectives.

Be ready with your notes, and your cover letter and resume so you can refer to them — whether it’s an interview on the phone (or in-person later).

– Confirm the appointment. If you have the person’s e-mail address, e-mail a confirmation or do so in a telephone message. This will keep you focused. It will show you’re organized.

It will also constitute an opportunity for you — the more positive contacts you have with an employer, the more you increase your odds for success. Typically, five positive contacts will increase your chances.

– Manage the interview process. Avoid extemporaneous interviews. If you’re surprised by a phone call to ask you questions, empathize and thank the person but don’t submit to an interview.

Ask for a later time for a telephone discussion. This will buy you time to prepare — to review your thoughts about the opening, the company, and what you hope to contribute as an employee. 

Think up several questions — preferably five or so — to ask the interviewer. This will help you to shine vs. your competing applicants. 

– Speak well in the interview. You’re likely to be nervous so before answering the phone, take deep breaths. During the discussion, talk from your diaphragm while standing. Yes, stand during the interview. 

This will help you to sound confident, which is a major attraction for good employers. (Just don’t walk around, as your footsteps and heavier breathing will likely be a distraction for the interviewer.)

Take your time in answering questions. If you’re unsure about how to answer a question, ask that it be repeated. This will give you additional time to refer to your materials or to think and answer the question strategically.

– Conclusion steps. When it’s obvious the interview has ended, ask what you can expect in the next steps. Without gushing, sincerely express your appreciation for the interview opportunity and your desire to work in the company’s desired role, if the firm feels you’re suitable.

Handwrite a thank you note. Thank the person, mention a topic or two from the telephone chat that you appreciate, offer your personal branding statement (why you’re a good a fit for their job description-expectations) and a buyer’s remorse statement (how pleased they’ll be after hiring you).

Immediately head to the post office before the last mail dispatch, so that your note goes out right away. Make every attempt to make certain your thank-you note arrives the next day.

From the Coach’s Corner, related content:

7 Steps to Become Great at Thinking on Your Feet — Have you ever been at a loss for words? For example, when asked a question, have you been tongue tied in a sales presentation, while speaking at an event, in negotiations, during an interview or a staff meeting?

HR – Interviewers Give Higher Marks to Applicants Interviewed Early in the Day — Interviewers often mistakenly give higher ratings to job seekers – whom they interview early in the day – at the expense of other applicants.

Is Your Career Stalled? Turbo Charge Your Personal Brand — Perhaps you’re struggling in a job search. You’re ambitious but underemployed, or worse – unemployed. You’re not alone. Millions of professionals are trying to solve similar puzzles.

7 Tips to Tweet Your Way to a Great New Job – Seriously — If you play it smart, you can take advantage of the 500-million Twitter account-holders to get a new job or career. Sure, it’s a daunting task, but the potential for success is terrific.

5 Tips to Shine in Your Online Job Application — As a job-hunter you know that a significant number of companies, nonprofits and public-sector agencies use a tracking system to screen out applicants. It cuts down on their paper work and saves them time. 

Whatever happens, understand that it’s not others who determine what you can do — it’s you.

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Photo courtesy of stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.