Top 10 New Blog Posts for 2018

We published over 50 new blog posts during 2018, and there is so much more good content coming your way during 2019. Here’s a look at the top ten blog posts (based purely on the numbers) published in 2018.

wood desk top with mac laptop, cup of coffee, and notebook. Text: top new blog posts of 2018

Brutal Honesty
Advantages of Being a Peer Educator
Major Exploration: Cultural Entrepreneurship (CUE)
STEM Major Preps for UMN Job Fair
Internship Relocation Challenges: Part 2 Socially Relocating
Career Planning Process: Explore Options
How to Make the Most of Winter Break as a Senior
Tori’s Senior Bucket List
Professional Clothes on a Budget
How to Dress for the Job Title You Want

Photo Source: Unsplash | rawpixel

How to Dress for the Job Title You Want

By: Kimberly

When you’re up against many other applicants, immediately your goal is to stand out from the rest. How do you attain that goal? First Impressions. The way you dress for an interview is going to play a big part in your first impression. Whether you’re going to a job interview or not, your appearance will tell recruiters if you are suitable for the job. Therefore, you should dress appropriately and present yourself professionally.

Step 1: Company Culture
Deciding what to wear for an interview can feel nerve-racking because you don’t know if the outfit will make it or break it for you. I learned that you should take into consideration the culture of the company. Do the company employees dress up in a suit every day or do they dress strictly for a dress code? Gaining insight of attire that is appropriate can save you from the stress in deciding what to wear. A suit may not always be the best choice for an interview. For example, going in for an interview for a personal trainer position will require you to be dressed appropriately. If you show up wearing a suit and tie and all the employees are wearing athletic gear, you will feel uncomfortable and be unable to fully participate in the interview. The same is true if you show up in shorts and a t-shirt while everyone else is in business casual. Your first impression is then telling the company you might not a fit the position. Do your research and learn about the company’s culture.

How to dress for the job title you want

Step 2: Big No’s
Although bright colors may look like the best way to get someone’s attention, it is a big no when it comes to your interview. Choose more neutral colors for your outfit like gray, black, brown, or white for a clean and professional look. Another thing you want to avoid is revealing clothing. The last thing that you want to worry about is second-guessing the length of your skirt. The same applies to men as well. You don’t want to worry about having to tuck in your shirt constantly. Next, we’ve all heard the saying, “less is more.” This rule applies when you’re adding on details with jewelry or other accessories. These details are meant to enhance your appearance, not the opposite. With shoes, avoid wearing uncomfortable and dirty shoes. Again, we are aiming for comfort because you’re focus should be on the interview, not what you’re wearing. And I think we all also know why your shoes should be clean.

Step 3: Accessorizing
Accessorizing your outfit can enhance your overall appearance and add a little personality. When accessorizing you should still play it safe and be smart about the details you’re adding. There is no limit to how much you can accessorize your outfit, but remember that simple is good. For example, sometimes all you need to complete the look is a watch and a belt to match your shoes or matching stud earrings and a necklace. Finally, one of my tricks is to dress up a bit more than your interviewer. It’ll be impressive and lets the interviewer know you are there to get the position. For example, if the normal work attire is business casual, aim for a business formal look. And of course, this knowledge is obtained by doing your research.

Step 4: Presentation
Having your outfit selected is half the battle. The other half is the presentation. Always make sure your clothes are clean and ironed if necessary. Wrinkled and dirty clothes will take away from the effort you put into dressing the part. It will speak louder than the matching top and bottom you have on or the details you added with a belt or necklace. Your clothes should also fit true to your size and not look like you borrowed the outfit or outgrew it. You’re already nervous about the interview you shouldn’t have to feel uncomfortable too.

In addition to your outfit, the other part of your presentation also lies in grooming yourself and hygiene. Make sure you don’t look like you just woke up and threw on the outfit. Clean yourself up by brushing your teeth for good breath, deodorant, and anything else to make you feel confident.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Kimberly’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Rodion Kutsaev

Professional Clothes on a Budget

By: McKenzie

Shopping for professional attire can be daunting when you can count how much money is in your bank account using the digits on your hands. When it comes to being job fair season it can become an even bigger stress because this is your first impression to your prospective employers. Luckily there is a cheaper way to find clothing.

Professional Dress on a Budget

Champ’s Closet
Champ’s Closet is for UMD students who need professional clothing. It was created so students in any situation could have access to clothing for jobs and internships. Students are able to make up to one outfit per semester from clothing donated by staff/faculty, maurices, and Main Stream Fashions for Men.

Thrift Stores
Duluth houses many thrift stores such as Goodwill and Savers. These stores provide shoppers with gently used clothing, which was donated by those who no longer had a need for it. Stores like these often feel like you are digging through piles, however, it is like a mini treasure hunt. You never know what you will find.

Consignment Shops
Consignment shops are a great place to get clothing. Shops like these tend to be for those who are either very fashionable or have a unique taste. While some shops can be expensive there are still plenty of them that are affordable. Be sure to not disregard the more expensive ones right away either. There can be hidden gems (especially in the clearance sections).

Secondhand Shops
Secondhand shops like Plato’s Closet are a bit different from thrift stores because instead of donations people sell their clothes to these shops. If you are short on money it might be a good idea to sell your clothing here. Secondhand shops also only accept brand name clothing so if you are stuck on a certain brand then this is your best bet.

Of Possible Interest: 

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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. Below are examples of pieces you could use to put together a stylish professional outfit. In the case of a job fair, replace no. 5 with a padfolio (discussed further in the Common section below).

Lauren Conrad accessories

Gents:
Guys may have more accessory options than they realize. Cufflinks, 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. Cufflinks 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 as they look appropriate with your suit, you shouldn’t have to think too much about these accessories.

Here is a handy chart 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 for everyone should include a padfolio 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 emails 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. Even if you’re using the mobile guide for the job fair, keep your phone usage in the employer booth area to a minimum.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Annie’s other posts

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 our other dress for success 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.

Shoes for Women:
Women have seemingly endless options when it comes to shoes, but when it comes to finding professional, comfortable shoes the options tend to narrow quickly. 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 will 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 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.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Photo source: Men’s shoes

Modern Menswear

By: Annie

When it comes to dressing professionally for men, it can be much easier to distinguish what is, and what is not, appropriate as compared to women’s wear (see Professional vs. Casual: Dress for Ladies).  To make this easier, I’ll keep my words brief. Scroll down for a summary of menswear basics, a diagram, an infographic, and some pictures to help you find your professional style!

For the college student or recent graduate whose main concern is to look professional and land that job or internship, the most important things to know include the following two key points.

1. Invest in the basics of a professional wardrobe:

  • 2-3 ties
  • Lose the backpack
  • A pair of slacks – that fit!
  • Dress shoes
  • 1 white spread-collar shirt and 1 solid white button-down
  • 1 blue spread-collar shirt and 1 solid blue button-down

2. Present a well-groomed appearance:

  • Iron your clothes
  • Get a haircut – at least 1 week before a job fair or an interview
  • Clean hands and nails
  • Shave (even during November!)

Source: The Art of Manliness (or found on our Pinterest board)

Source: Mint.com (or found on our Pinterest board)

Source: Gallant-Thame

Any Neal Caffrey fans? He is an excellent example of dressing professionally!

Source: fanpop

Some of the resources in this post, and many more, can be found on Career & Internship Services’ Pinterest board, Dress for Success. This board is a great resource for more knowledgeable sources on modern menswear!

Also, check out these websites for more:

Read Annie’s other posts

Professional vs. Casual: Dress for Ladies

By: Annie

Dressing for the professional world may seem like a daunting task to some, and may not be daunting enough for others. It is important to know what type of attire is appropriate for different professional settings. Employers, co-workers, and clients will make their first impressions within seconds of seeing you—it is in our human nature.

There are two main styles in the professional world, business professional and business casual. In general, job fairs, interviews, and some professions always require business professional. Business casual is appropriate in most workplace settings, at many networking events, and at certain other career-related events. Nevertheless, when it comes to a job fair or an interview, it is always appropriate to dress business professional. Dress for the interview, not the job.

Business professional is more formal. It is a suit, consisting of a tailored jacket and blouse paired with trousers or skirt.

Business casual is more informal. This style may include sweaters, blouses, more casual jackets, and various accessories.

The line between the two styles can get blurry. Depending on your industry, your company, or even your schedule for the day, different attire may be appropriate. Also, the guidelines can change depending on where you are working geographically. For example, nylons and close-toed shoes are common in the Mid-West. However, this is not always true in Los Angeles and other warmer climates.

Here are some examples of business professional versus business casual.

Business Professional:

 

Business Causal:

 

Hints to Help You Dress:

  • Look to your boss, or whoever is currently in the position you would like to have someday. How do they dress? Use these people for inspiration, not only in your work but also in your dress!
  • Be cautious of armpits! Add a cardigan or blazer to avoid this problem.
  • No more than seven pieces of jewelry. (Yes, each earring counts as one!)
  • You can wear color and be professional! Just make sure it is right for the setting.

Business casual can allow for a little more creativity, but certain things can never be ignored. I like to remember these things in terms of two-inches.

Two Inch Hints

Note on the skirt rule: This rule can differ depending on body-type. If you can see thigh, or if you have to ask the question, your skirt is most likely too short.

On a final note, dressing professionally does not have to break the bank. Young professionals are not expected to be wearing top-of-the-line designer suits. It is more important that clothes fit properly than carry a fancy label. It may sound shallow to get so hung up on looks, but we all do it to some degree. Judgment is part of being human, so make it work in your favor! You only get to make one first impression!

Most of the dress ideas out there are based on traditional gender roles. Transgender job seekers can dress professionally for the gender they would choose to present in or gender-neutral attire. We have this great infographic on our Pinterest boards that goes through business professional and business casual dress guidelines without assigning gender to specific wardrobe options.

For more on dressing professionally:

And guys, don’t worry, a post for you is coming soon!

Read other posts by Annie