Networking: The Right Way
I know the word “networking” terrifies us but it is a vital part of finding a job, especially in today’s job market. Whether you have done some networking already, think you know how, or are totally avoiding it, it is important to know how to network correctly. You must be able to answer your 5 W’s before you can begin. Fellow career guidance blog, Culpwrit, recently posted “Avoid Naive Networking: Make it Count” based on advice from University of Texas, Austin’s Acton Foundation. Here are the main networking tips that were mentioned:
1. Do your personal soul searching and find out what industry you want to work in.
2. Be clear about what you want.
3. Always put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
4. Make it easy on them and don’t waste their time.
5. Don’t overly bother.
6. Start at the bottom of the todum pole and work your way up.
7. Always be prepared.
8. Send a list of questions in advance.
9. Ask meaningful questions.
10. Be unique.
11. Always be nice/impress the gatekeepers too
12. Follow-up with a thank you.
Dress That ‘Will Not’ Impress
This past summer, I interned at QVC in their Studio Park headquarters in West Chester, PA. While working in their internal communications department, I had the fabulous opportunity to meet TLC‘s “What Not to Wear” co-host Clinton Kelly when he was premiering his new clothing line with Denim & Co. He not only was friendly and easily approachable, he looked poised and professional just by the way he was dressed. With Clinton in mind, I wanted to tell you “what not to wear to an interview.”
Whether you are interviewing for a job or graduate school, you need to dress professionally and appropriate. Here are a few of the biggest “no no’s” in appearance you need to know about before you step foot in your interview:
1) Wearing a low-cut top or a short mini-skirt: Showing off some skin is not a good thing. You should have a long-sleeve collared or scoop neck shirt on that does not reveal your chest area, underneath a suit jacket. You should wear long trousers instead of a skirt, but if you choose to wear one make sure the skirt at least falls to the top of your calves. Make sure the skirt is not too tight, and that it isn’t going to ride up when you walk and sit. You will be sitting during most of the interview so it’s not going to impress the employer if your skirt rides up mid-thigh while you’re sitting in your chair. Your best option is to wear a black, grey, or navy suit that is altered to fit you correctly.
2) Too much makeup and jewelry: The employer is not going to take you seriously if you have a ring on each finger, big hoop earrings in each of your 4 piercings in your ears, and bright blue eye shadow all around your eyes. The rule of thumb with the jewelry is one ring on each hand, one set of simple earrings, and avoid any bold, outspoken necklaces. With your make-up, keep it natural. Don’t wear bright colored eye shadows and wear lots of heavy black mascara. Also make sure your fingernails are clean and neat, not too long, no chipped polish, and no bright neon polish colors.
3) Wearing beat-up old flip-flops or a pair of fancy lace up high heels: You walk in wearing a sleek, black pants suit with a collared white long-sleeved shirt and a pair of flip-flops. You just ruined your entire ensemble. Your best bet, stick to a simple black heel that isn’t too high and is closed-toed. Avoid any open-toed fancy stilettos you can’t even walk in, any kind of flip-flops, or any casual shoe like a sneaker or boot.
1) Visible piercings and tattoos: Nose rings and a large tattoo that wraps around your neck line are not going to impress the interviewer. If you have any facial piercings, please remove them. If you have either or both of your ears pierced, it is suggested to remove those earrings as well. In regards to males wearing jewelry in general, a wedding ring or watch. If you have any tattoos, please hide them. Hopefully they are in places that will be covered by a suit jacket and pants!
2) Wrinkled, stained clothing: You walk in wearing a fitted black suit and shiny black dress shoes, but your jacket and pants are all wrinkled and you have a large mustard stain on your collared shirt. Unfortunately instead of the employer liking the way you’re dressed, the wrinkles and stain are all he or she can focus on. Please make sure your suit has been dry cleaned beforehand and avoid wearing the ensemble for a long period of time before the interview where it can become wrinkled.
3) Belt, socks, and shoes are all different colors: You’re wearing a black suit with navy socks, navy belt and brown shoes. Clinton Kelly would have a heart attack if he was ever your interviewer and you greeted him like that! Whatever suit color you choose (black, grey, or navy), make sure your shoes, belt, and socks are the same color or at least look good together. Your shoes and belt should be the same color and made of some sort of leather material. Make sure your socks match with your suit and are long enough where your calf isn’t showing when you’re sitting down. Also make sure your tie is made of silk with a conservative pattern or solid color that is not too bold with the rest of the suit..
And here a few final tips for both sexes that are vital to making the right impression at an interview:
1) Shower, shave: look clean!
2) Don’t wear overpowering cologne or perfume.
3) Bring a briefcase or business folder instead of a backpack or bulky purse.
Resume, Resume, Resume! How many times has it been stressed to you that your resume is important? Well, whoever told you that was right. Resumes are like first impressions, and no one is going to even consider you if your resume is not put together well. Once again, use your resources! There are so many resources on the internet that can help you write the resume you need to get the job you want.
Visit your campus resources, such as James Madison University’s Career and Academic Planning, either online at www.jmu.edu/cap or actually visit the center (Wilson 301) where one-on-one assistance is provided, or flip through the resume binder available. Most colleges and universities offer this help.
If you have already graduated or do not have these resources available, an alternative is www.pongoresume.com, a site that provides expert guidance on writing resumes.
There are many resources on the internet guiding resume writing, however, they do not always provide the best advice. When it comes to writing your own resume, it is always better to create your own design, rather than using a template.
Many of us have been on an interview before, and we know they can be nerve-wracking. Your first interview for a “real job” after graduation has potential to run smoothly if you just take a breath. Often, when we don’t have enough practice interviewing, we freeze up and stumble on our words. These are a few helpful hints to keep on the back burner in case of an emergency when you “blank” on a professional interview.
Remember, you are:
Great work ethic, committed
Open to learning
Don’t be afraid to use your resources! If you are still in college, make sure to check whether your University offers opportunities for mock-interviews with their the students. Practice makes perfect!