Dressing for an Interview

By: Ashlee FB

Have you ever wondered whether or not something is appropriate for an interview? As many of us are approaching graduation, we begin the job search, which leads to the interview process. It is important to understand just how crucial attire is during these interviews. The first thing a potential employer will notice is a person’s physical appearance.

Dressing for Interview

Although it does depend on the industry and the position you will be applying for, generally speaking, these are some basic guidelines for both male and female attire in the interview process:

Men have the luxury of being able to wear a simple suit and tie and it does not take much time to pick out what outfit they will be wearing. With that being said, it is important that you wear the suit appropriately and you’ve taken the time to make yourself look nice. This means no wet hair, no scuffed shoes, no un-tucked shirts, etc. Your attire should be noticed as being appropriate and well fitting, however, it should not take center stage. It is also important to clean up a little before an interview. There is no need for the five o’clock shadow or greasy hair.

Dress for Success-Men

Women have it a little more challenging. A dress, skirt, or pantsuit is usually the safest route to go when dressing for an interview. If you are wearing a skirt or suit, make sure the bottom hem is still at an appropriate length when sitting down. There are also a wide variety of options of colors – all of which portray something different. Generally, navy, dark gray and black for women are considered “safe” colors. It is also important to keep nails, hair, and makeup as simple and as natural looking as possible. With busy hairstyles and jewelry, it is possible they might take away from the most important part of the interview – you and your qualifications. As far as shoes go, make sure all shoes are closed toe, freshly polished, and low enough where you are able to walk comfortably.

Dress for Success-Women

Confidence goes a long way in an interview and it all starts with feeling comfortable in your skin and with what you are wearing. As a basic rule, it is essential to look professional and polished. Employers will be much more impressed with a person that has dressed professionally and can sell themselves as an asset. Happy interviewing!

Of Possible Interest:

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Photo via Source

Building a Wardrobe for Your Career

By: Hayley

If you are like me and you struggle to determine what you should wear to an interview or are convinced that your current wardrobe is lacking in sophistication then here are a few steps you can use to build a basic career wardrobe.

Build wardrobe

  1. Evaluate what you already have: There is no sense in buying a bunch of nice shirts if what you really need is pants. So take the time to go through what you have. Ask yourself if a certain top would look nice under a cardigan or if that dress is long enough to be appropriate for the office.
  2. Make Potential Outfits: Lay everything out and then evaluate what outfits you could make with what you have and what potential outfits you could do if you had this or that. Establish what you are lacking before you go on a shopping spree.
  3. Focus on the Basics: Now think about a few staples that you may be missing. Things that you could wear with a number of outfits but seem to be missing. You should have some sort of blazer; most go for a basic black that can be paired with almost everything. Comfortable and appropriate footwear is necessary; simple black heels or dress shoes. Along that line you also need the appropriate socks or nylons to go with those shoes. That last one may seem unimportant but it can go along way in ensuring that you look as professional as possible.
  4. Get what you NEED: Now that you know what you need it is time to go get them. Focus only on the items that you know you need and try to avoid piling your cart with things that aren’t on your list; so you don’t go broke building a wardrobe for a job you don’t have yet.
  5. Try it on: Take the time to make sure that what you buy fits you well. Avoid tops that are too tight or that the neckline falls too low on. Make sure your pants are the right length. It might be helpful to wear those basic heels or dress shoes that you may end up wearing all the time so that you can really see how your pant length looks; it seems silly but it makes a difference.

Hopefully you can use these steps to help you create a basic wardrobe for your interviews and your future career!

Of possible interest:

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Your Professional Wish List

By: Ashlee

By now, most seniors have probably started the great search for that first job after graduation. A handful of you may even have full-time jobs lined up already before you’ve even graduated! To you, I say congratulations! But the rest of you are probably on the opposite side of the spectrum. You’re still searching, or only beginning your search, and that’s okay!

The unfortunate news is that in this tight economy, your search may be a struggle and budgets can be tight. So instead of putting a couple more Wii remotes and that Harry Potter boxed set on your wish list this holiday season, why not make a wish list of things for a great professional appearance?

Prof Wish List

1.) A Leather Portfolio

A nice leather portfolio is a great gift because as you know, presentation matters. You will enhance your professional brand with little additions like this one.

2.) Dress shoes

The last thing you want to do before an interview is get dressed up in a real nice professional outfit only to be humbled by a pair of scraggly, old shoes you’ve had since middle school. Make your shoe size known and point out a few styles you really like.

3.) Briefcase or Handbag

Confession time: Bringing a backpack to a job interview isn’t going to look super professional. If you, a new job seeker, show up looking like you just literally got off the bus, the interviewer is probably going to have a tough time taking you seriously. A nice briefcase or handbag is a great gift to receive. Plus, they make you look sharp!

4.) Watch

The right accessories can take almost any professional outfit to the next level. Watches are a classic addition to any look for men and women.

5.) Suit

No, not the TV show! Consider putting a suit on your wish list this year. Whether you’re a construction worker or a lawyer, it’s essential that everyone own at least one suit for special occasions. You never know when you will need one — especially when it comes to interviews, company events, or special family occasions.

6.) Shirts or Blouses

Although they sound boring, appropriate tops are a necessary need for job hunters. A recent grad might not think of adding this basic need to their professional wardrobe at first.

7.) Ties or Scarves

Ties and scarves add a fashionable splash of color to many professional looks. Again, accessories to the rescue!

8.) Gift Cards

If all else fails or if you’re pretty particular about the type/style of clothes you wear, it’s always better to let the job seeker decide. Gift cards are an easy and quick way to help you out with your shopping needs.

But what is the most important gift of all? The gift of love and support, and your family will have an abundance of that on hand! Job searching is tough — especially these days. Their encouragement and support will go a long way.

Need more ideas? Check out our Pinterest boards for dress ideas: Women and Men.

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Getting Ready for Career Fairs

Classes start up in just under a month. Crazy, right? Where has the summer gone? Shortly after classes start, the career fairs start. Career fairs are great events to attend if you want to find a job or internship, and also just to network with employers in order to set yourself up well for when you are looking for a job or internship. We want you to be as prepared as possible! Once the semester starts, we’ll have more posts to get you ready for the fairs. For now, here is a round-up of posts we’ve written about getting ready & surviving career fairs, along with information for the different career fairs & related events happening this Fall.

Getting Ready for Career Fairs

Dress for Success!

Super helpful Pinterest boards

Career Fairs

Related Events Schedule

  • Resume Drop-ins have every Tuesday and Wednesday, 2-4pm in Solon Campus Center 22 (our office). All you have to do is bring a copy of your resume and your questions for a quick 5-10 minutes. No appointment needed! Trained students and a couple career counselors will be available to see you. This is great if you have a crazy schedule or are not able to make an appointment with one of the career counselors.
  • Getting Ready for the Job Fair workshop: Sept 11, 12, 25, 26, and Oct 22. All workshops are 4-5pm, in SCC 22. Get great tips for everything from your resume to dress to talking with the employers to following up with them.

Dressing Up for Phone Interviews

By: Cody

With graduation just around the corner I have begun to start to apply for various jobs. It’s a lot of work but so far I am enjoying the process. One thing that I am finding is that companies prefer to do phone interviews first as an initial screen of applicants before bringing them in for real interviews. It helps save them time and money by doing this “pre-screen” first.

I applied to a job last week and they want me to take an aptitude test and if I score high enough they want to do a phone interview, which could lead to an onsite interview. I am very excited about this opportunity. However, the more I thought about the phone interview, the more I felt like it would be very easy to sound too causal and unprofessional. This is why I plan to dress in a suit and tie for the phone interview (if I get it).

Dressing in a suit and tie makes you look very professional, but what does that matter in a phone interview?

men's suit

Well, it all boils down to confidence and a professional manner. Whenever you put on a suit and tie, or something similar for the ladies, you automatically start to act more professional. You feel the need to be professional because normally whenever you are in a suit, you are required to be professional and act as such. A suit also gives you that feeling of confidence that makes you think you are well prepared and can do whatever you set your mind to. Suits just tend to have that empowering feel, at least for me. By wearing a suit you increase your confidence and act in a professional manner, which is something you definitely want in a phone interview. You want to sound like you know what you are doing and are a well suited candidate for the position you are applying for. A suit will help you be more prepared mentally, than say wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt for a phone interview. Sweatpants and sweatshirts will make you more relaxed and you will talk to the person on the phone like they are your friend and you won’t be professional, something you don’t want in an interview. No one wants to answer a phone interview call with “Sup bro?” This is why you should be like me and choose to wear a suit and tie for all interviews, including phone interviews.

Ladies dress outfit

By choosing to wear a suit for a phone interview you set yourself up to be more confident and professional, which will help you land that dream job you have always wanted. It may sound weird, but try it, it just might work!

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Photo sources: men’s & women’s

Accessorizing for the Career Fair

By: Annie

We have discussed the basics of what to wear (ladies & gents), and we have thought about the best shoes for job fairs. Now, it is time to figure out what accessories and materials you will need while you are there.

I will break it down into three sections: ladies, gents, and the stuff applicable to both.

Ladies:

When it comes to accessorizing an outfit for a job fair, keep it simple. The rule of 7 most definitely applies:

No more than 7 pieces of jewelry, each earring counts as 1.

Jewelry should be understated. When speaking with employers, you want them focused on you and your elevator pitch, not distracted by the sparkle of your dangling earrings in the light. For this reason, make sure you remove any facial piercing as well.

It may seem like you cannot show any creativity to be professional. That is not true. There are ways of making your outfit “you” without losing its professionalism. Adding a belt or scarf to your outfit can be a subtle way to add color or pattern without being a distraction in conversations. College-style.com posted this outfit as an example for accessorizing professionally. In the case of a job fair, replace no. 5 with a pad folio (discussed further in the Common section below).

Lauren Conrad accessories

Gents:

Guys may have more accessory options than they realize. Cuff links, neckties, belts, watches, earrings, rings and any facial piercings can all be considered accessories. As I told the ladies, keep it simple. Remove any earrings, gaudy rings, or facial piercings. Cuff links tend to be a little formal for jobs fairs. If you do wear them, try to keep them understated. Neckties, belts, and watches are all standard accessories for professionally dressed men. As long they look appropriate with your suit, you shouldn’t have to think too much about these accessories.

Here is a chart from Oregon State University’s Career Services summarizing this info:

Men's accessories

One last note, get your hair cut 1-2 weeks before the fair. A fresh haircut is noticeable, so make sure it has some time to settle in before the fair. Also, come to the fair with a clean-shaven face.

Common:

Accessories both girls and guys should have include a pad folio with paper and a pen for taking notes.

TIP: When researching employers before the fair, jot down some notes on the back pages as well as potential questions for each employer you plan to speak with at the fair. In-between employers go into the student lounge and refresh your memory on company facts and the questions you want to ask. Also, make some notes about the employer you just spoke with (e.g., the representatives names, the hiring process, etc.). This will be very helpful when sending thank you letters after the fair.

Cell phones are necessary accessories for almost everyone. The important thing here is to keep them out of sight and silent (not just vibrate) when speaking with employers. Remember, even once you’re walking away from a booth, the employer can still be watching you. So, don’t whip out your phone until you are back in the student lounge.

For other clothing ideas for career fairs (plus interviews & on the job) check out our Pinterest boards:

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Be a SHOE-in at the Job Fair

By Annie

If you are not aware already, February is a popular month for job fairs. It is important to prepare for job fairs in a number of ways, including what you will wear. For the basics on what is appropriate for clothing, look at the Casual vs. Professional: Dress for Ladies or the Modern Menswear posts.

Some key things to consider when choosing your outfit include:

  • How long will you be at the fair?
  • Is there a student lounge or place to sit?
  • Is there a coat and bag check?
  • How will the weather be on that day?

These details can make a difference when trying to decide between more or less comfortable outfits, how many layers to bring, and what kind of shoes to wear. Even if you are not very picky about how your clothes fit, items such as your shoes can start out feeling fine but turn painful by the day’s end.

Below are some tips for picking out the best pair of shoes. The first section focuses on women, and the second on men.

Shoes for Women:

Ladies have endless options when it comes to shoes, but when it comes to finding professional, comfortable shoes the options tend to narrow. That does not mean you can only be professional in some old, ugly pair of shoes. Nonetheless, it is important to be conscious of what may not be appropriate or practical to wear all day at a job fair.

As I mentioned in my last post on women’s wear, shoe styles can change depending on your geographical location. Closed toed shoes are typical for the Midwest.

The height of the heel is a main concern. Even if you are comfortable walking in 5-inch heels, they can still look out of place in a professional setting, such as a job fair. This is especially true if you can no longer walk comfortably after a few hours on your feet. Check out Corporette’s Guide to Comfortable Heels for more information on finding the ideal heel. If you would rather avoid heels altogether, flats are always a valid option!

Shoes for Men:

Guys are lucky in the sense that they do not have to worry about high heels. However, the challenge for some guys may be determining what color shoes to pair with their suit. Below is a little guide to help you decide.

Shoe to Suit guide

Many times, shoes are the last piece to be added to an outfit. If you are going shoe shopping, consider how the shoes will look with your current professional wardrobe before you buy. Finally, remember if you have a brand new pair of shoes they may pinch your feet or leave you with horrible blisters at the end of the day. To avoid this, make sure you break them in prior to attending a job fair.

Also check out our Dress for Success boards on Pinterest for more ideas of what to wear to job fairs.

Photo source: Men’s shoes

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