Mission:  Compete Powerfully & Successfully in the New Normal Job Market-Part III-Etiquette

Great tips and tricks from Merry herself!

Mission: Compete Powerfully & Successfully in the New Normal Job Market-Part III-Etiquette

The purpose of etiquette is to even the playing field in any situation and to make all parties as comfortable as possible by knowing what to expect from a social perspective.

As you go into your interview, you enter an existing culture where there are norms, customs and expectations. To the degree that it is possible, demonstrate by your behavior that you fit into the culture seamlessly. Your knowledge and practice of etiquette is your key to the new culture.

Below are some main points:

• The Handshake—Although we have all been shaking hands practically since we started to walk, a few key elements have to be stressed:

o Smile!

o Make eye contact

o Shake web-to-web with some pressure

• Avoid the “dead fish” handshake which is only with the fingers with no pressure and a downward pull—unless you intend to insult the other person

o Extend your hand in a vertical manner. A downward palm is viewed as aggressive; an upward palm is viewed as passive

o Make sure your hands are warm, clean and dry before shaking

o Upon meeting 2-3 pumps are appropriate; if the meeting went well, 3-4 pumps are appropriate upon ending the interview

o Don’t touch the other person with your free hand; it is viewed as aggressive

• These days some interviews are conducted over a meal in a restaurant. The purpose of this technique is to observe how the interviewee would interact with clients in this less formal setting. Don’t be lulled into thinking that this is a casual interview. It is purely business.

If you are in this position, here are a few tips:

• Focus on the interview. The meal is only a test

• NEVER order or drink alcohol—even if the interviewers drink; remain sharp

• Don’t speak with your mouth full

• Don’t come very hungry

• The best foods to eat are fruit, yogurt and salads in small portions if appropriate; avoid crunchy foods

• Order foods that are neat and easy to manage—avoid spaghetti and other messy choices

• Order foods that show that you live a healthy lifestyle

• Although I said this under “attitude” it bears repeating: LEAVE YOUR CELL PHONE AT HOME or at least turn it off; do not take or make calls

• The Follow-up:

• In spite of the fact that this is the computer age, a typed and mailed letter of thanks will make you stand out in the field of competitors

• Thank your interviewer for their time and for any tips that they shared with you

• You can also ask whether it is alright for you to follow up with a phone call

Contact me with any questions or comments!

Good Luck!

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Mission: Compete Powerfully & Successfully in the New Normal Job Market–Part II-Attitude

Now that you’ve made it in the door here are a few tips that will help you impress your potential employer and set the stage for getting the position you seek:

  • Always research the company online.  If you know anyone who works there get as much information as possible from that person, as well.
    • Check Facebook and Twitter.  Become a fan of the company on Facebook and follow it on Twitter.  This will give you information you would not have otherwise and demonstrates your dedication, enthusiasm and desire to work for that company
    • Search for the company name on the Internet—Google and Google News in particular to get as much background as possible about the company and the interviewer
    • If you know anyone who works there get as much information as possible from that person, as well.
    • Become as informed as possible about the areas of excellence and challenges of the company so that you can tell the interviewer how your skills can help resolve challenges.
    • Go to www.Glassdoor.com and review their Interview Questions and Reviews.  This section will give you insight into what interviewers asked and will give you information as to how difficult the interview was from actual people who interviewed recently..
    • Never be negative about a prior employer.  It will reflect badly on you.
    • Employers are looking for people who fit in with the corporate structure.  Look around you.  “Speed-read” your interviewer.  That means tune in to those who are interviewing and try to mirror them.  Notice their body language, the rate and volume of their speech and their behaviors.
    • In terms of salary:  Go to www.About.com and visit their Salary Center.  This will give you survey information on a great number of fields.  This web site will also give you a great deal of information on job-hunting in general.
    • Always think of how YOU can serve the company.  You are much more employable if you think about what you can contribute rather than about what they can give you.

Tomorrow:  Etiquette for the Job Interview

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Mission: Compete Powerfully & Successfully in the New Normal Job Market

Attire, Attitude & Etiquette for Your Job Interview-Part I–Attire

This Thursday May 26, I will be making a presentation on this topic at the Ocean Ave. & Kings Highway Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.  Since it is on my mind I will blog about some of the essential elements that I will be addressing.

Although the job market is coming back, the hunt is still challenging.  Statistics show that women are being hired less frequently than equally qualified men.  The antiquated misconception that men are supporting a family and women are in it for “the extras” still prevails in spite of the fact that it is patently untrue.

Therefore, it becomes increasingly important to make the right impression during your job interview—you definitely will not get a second chance.

Some essential points for everyone:

  • The suit is the outfit of choice for the interview
    • For women, there is some controversy over whether skirt or pant suits are more likely to win the position.  The tide seems to be leaning toward skirt suits
    • Black is authoritative but can also appear severe
    • Navy blue is the most popular color
      • It symbolizes honesty, integrity, logic, wisdom, decisiveness and a host of other positive attributes
  • Dark gray is the most neutral color
  • For women, I favor a shell rather than a button-down blouse because it is sleeker and avoids any possibility of buttons pulling or popping; just remember that a show of too much skin undermines your credibility and authority
  • For men a white shirt or one that coordinates with your suit; a belt, tie, dark, knee-length socks and conservative shoes both of which blend with the color of the suit
  • The fit of the suit is the most important element—this is your opportunity to showcase your attention to detail and ability to plan ahead
    • Pant or skirt and sleeve length are critical aspects of your self-presentation
    • For women, skirt length should be in the vicinity of the knee so that it is comfortable when you sit down
    • Pant length should hit the middle of any heel; too short is as bad as too long
  • The suit should fit your dimensions without pulling; clothing that fits you is the most flattering no matter what you are wearing
  • Jewelry should be minimal for both genders
    • For women: wear nothing that jangles or otherwise distracts; wearing genuine jewelry will unconsciously reflect on the genuine nature of your personality
    • For women, conservative shoes such as nude or black pumps and neutral pantyhose are best
    • For men: limit your jewelry to a wedding band and a watch
    • For everyone: avoid wearing piercings except for one pair of conservative earrings for women, if desired
  • Grooming:
    • Light, natural-looking makeup for women
    • Neatly manicured nails and neat hair styles for both genders
    • SPECIAL TIP:  Bring a leather or other high-quality portfolio or briefcase containing one or, even better, two copies of any paperwork you have submitted to get to the interview stage:  your resume, letters of reference, copies of your work and anything else you deem important. (I have found that interviewers rarely have these items in front of them for reference; bring a copy for them and a copy for yourself so you can read along and point out the highlights.)
  • What not to wear or bring:
    • Gum
    • Cell phone (or TURN IT OFF); your interviewer is the center of your universe now and s/he should know it
    • Heavy perfume or cologne; what’s appealing to you might be a turnoff to your interviewer—don’t take that chance

Tomorrow:  The must-have attitude and preparation to get the edge over the always-present competition.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments!

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Do You Feel Special Today?

Whether you work from home, go to an office or combine the two, your energy is heightened when you wear reminders of the reasons you’re working so hard in the first place.

There are two reasons for this. Reason one is the unexpected client or business opportunity that appears without warning. For example, one day, after a day of teaching at Wagner College, I got a voice mail from the producer of Inside Edition asking me if I could do a segment on day wear NOW! She meant to get to the studio by hook or crook at that moment. While I couldn’t go at that particular moment, it would have been an amazing opportunity. If I were home working in torn jeans with no makeup on and missed out for that reason, I would have been really upset. Continue reading »

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