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Career-Life Times, Issue #65--Do These Job Interview Clothes Make My Butt Look Big?
February 23, 2010
You should click on the birdie to...
"What should I wear to my interview?"
If you have a job interview coming up, that question has undoubtedly popped into your head. I wrote an article a while back that covers the basics: Plan Your Appearance to Make a Great First Impression.
As you know, the clothes you wear to a job interview can create a good--or bad--impression about you. Here are a few additional things to keep in mind:
1. Dress comfortably... to a point. One of the biggest challenges during a job interview is remaining calm and relaxed. The clothes you wear can have a big impact upon how relaxed you are, and how natural you look. If you are happy with how you look and feel, it will reflect on how you act, and the interviewer will perceive you as being calm and confident. Having said that, don't take it to extremes. Showing up in your sweats is definitely NOT a good idea. Follow the general guidelines of the earlier article referenced above. But if you have a choice between outfits that are appropriate, wear the most comfortable one.
2. Realize that clothes put you into context. As much as we all like to talk about not judging a book by its cover, the truth is this: your appearance says a lot about who you are and what people will think of you. The clothes you wear to your job interview will convey a meaning to people and they'll form an opinion about you based on the image you've created. So think carefully about the image you wish to project, and then communicate that through the clothes you wear.
3. Consider dark and plain clothes. Besides being conservative (usually a good thing for job interviews), a simple, dark suit, pantsuit or dress allows the real focus to be where you want it--on your face. An added bonus of dark clothes is that they tend to make you look slimmer (your butt might not look too big).
Exception: There's no way to put this delicately, but if you have a dandruff problem and can't resolve it before your interview, do NOT wear a dark color that will make every flake visible.
Watch out for crazy patterns, lines, dots or bright colors. Understated basics allow YOU (instead of your clothes) to shine.
4. Don't play the skin game. (This is for women): If your outfit leaves too much skin exposed (especially cleavage or legs), don't be surprised if the interviewer gets distracted from the main focal point of the interivew – YOU. As a consequence of that distraction, it's likely that you'll be viewed as unprofessional; you won't be taken seriously; you probably won't get the job.
Keep those points in mind, along with the tips in my previous article, and you'll know how to dress to impress at your next job interview!
Have you considered including a few references on your résumé? Don't do it. Here's why:
1. Your résumé may be circulated or posted online. Your references won't want their contact information so readily available to everyone. You can give your résumé to anyone who wants it, but you shouldn't give out your references' contact info so carelessly.
2. You don't want hiring managers contacting your references until you're sure you want to work for them. You usually don't know that until after your interview.
3. You need to use the limited space on your résumé for information about YOU and your accomplishments, not for a list of people who know you.
NOTE: If you're sure the hiring manager knows one of your references, do a little name dropping. Include that reference's name in your cover letter to boost your chances of getting the interview, especially if that reference recommended that you apply for the job. (For example: "Joe Smith recommended that I apply for this position.")
But don't include references on your résumé. (Exception: Some government agencies demand that references be listed on the initial job application. In this case, follow the instructions.)
Also, don't bother including "References available upon request." The ability to provide a reference list is assumed by employers, so there's no reason to take up valuable résumé space with that sentence.
Do keep a separate document with your references (typically three professional references and three character references) and provide it when requested. Like your résumé, review this document often. Contact your references from time to time to ensure that you have their current contact information, to give them a heads-up when you're interviewing, and to thank them again for being a reference. Bring this document with you and offer it as the interview is concluding (whether it is requiested or not).
I usually say there's no such thing as a bad job interview, because each one is an opportunity to practice, learn, and improve your interviewing skills.
But there are exceptions. Here are 5 signs that the job interview is not going well and you should exit as quickly as possible:
1. The interviewer can't remember the name of the company she works for.
2. The interviewer asks only personal questions that have nothing to do with the job ("Are you married? Do you come here often? What's your sign? Want to pose for our calendar?").
3. The interview answers all of your questions about the position with, "I'm sorry. That information is confidential. If I told you, I'd have to kill you."
4. There are mouse traps all over the place and the interviewer asks if you're immune to the Hantavirus.
5. The interviewer's eyes have a red glow, there's a faint smell of sulphur in the air, and his opening remarks are "How badly do you want this job? Perhaps we can make a deal."
OK, those are (mostly) silly examples, but my point is serious: If you have weird feelings or nagging doubts about the job or the person conducting the interview, don't ignore them. Listen to your gut, your instinct, your sixth sense.
Analyze what it is that's making you feel uncomfortable, and take appropriate action--even if that action is walking out.
Thousands of job seekers make these mistakes. Are you making them too?
1. FORGETTING TO INCLUDE A COVER LETTER
Not attaching a cover letter to a resume is like shooting in the dark. Hiring managers receive hundreds of unsolicited resumes every week. Tell them specifically what opening you are applying to or the position you're inquiring about. Do not assume they will figure it out from your resume.
2. USING AN OBJECTIVE
Point blank, objectives are bad form, self-serving, and will get you nowhere in this job market. Instead of telling the employer what you want, show them what you can do. When you buy something, the store doesn't tell you what they want from you. You know what they want; they want your business and your money. Employers know what you want-you want a job. Instead, utilize a career summary that will 'show' (not just 'tell') the employer how you can meet their needs. And include a completely customized personal branding statement.
3. UTILIZING HEADERS VERSUS YOUR TARGET JOB TITLE AND PERSONAL BRAND
Titling sections with headers (career summary, qualifications summary) uses up valuable real estate on your resume-space you could be using to advertise your unique value, talent, passion, and vision. Instead, create a catchy personal branding statement that immediately tells the employer who you are and what you have to offer.
4. LEAVING OUT INDUSTRY SPECIFIC KEYWORDS
Forget keywords and you're neglecting all three of the audiences that will be reviewing your resume. Even worse, you're excluding yourself from being found in candidate databases, job search engines, social networks, and more. First, your resume has to make it through the software scan, then the secretary or administrative assistant scan, then on to the hiring manager who actually knows what you're doing and how you are supposed to do it. You NEED the right keywords. Here's a hint: check the job description. They are in there; I guarantee it.
5. PROOFREAD, SLEEP, PROOFREAD, AND GO BACKWARDS
One small mistake and you're out of the running. Proofread your documents carefully. Take a night to sleep on it, and then read it again. When you go back to read the resume the second time read it backwards one word at a time. Experts say this simple trick will catch any mistakes you would normally read right over.
Use this checklist to determine if your resume passes the "basics" test. Best wishes in your job search.
More Articles. You can find more articles by going to my online Article Index. Here are some new ones you might enjoy:
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My Blog: BestCareerStrategies.com. More career-related articles and tips! Please pop in for a visit and let me know what you think: BestCareerStrategies.com.
New Job Board. Because I receive so many inquiries asking about job openings, I decided to incorporate a Job Board with my website. It's f*ree, easy to use, and offers information on current jobs in your area. Check it out here: Best Strategies Job Board
The Job Interview Success System. The job market is getting better, but it still sucks. You don't have to go it alone. Get step-by-step help and a big advantage over your competition with my System. Read all the details here: Job Interview Success System.
"The people who get on in this world
Kids Are Funny
A teacher was giving a lesson on the circulation of the blood. Trying to make the matter clearer, she said, "Now, class, if I stood on my head, the blood, as you know, would run into it and I would turn red in the face."
"Yes," the class said.
"Then why is it that while I am standing upright in the ordinary position, the blood doesn't run into my feet?"
A little boy shouted, "Cause your feet ain't empty!"
The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a note and posted it on the apple tray: "Take only ONE. God is watching."
Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies.
A child had written and posted this note: "Take all you want. God is watching the apples."
So, what did you think of this issue? Any suggestions? Topic ideas? Questions? I really appreciate your feedback. Please send me a note at Bonnie@Best-Interview-Strategies.com
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