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

Art of Patience and Persistence

By: Kimberly

It’s amazing how fast four years can fly by and how you end up competing with time to the finish line. But let’s face it, there is no finish line if anything it is just another beginning. As I wrap up my last semester here at the University as a senior, I find myself drowning in the job search process. I hate to admit that a part of me regrets wishing for this day to come. But don’t get me wrong, I am beyond excited to walk on that stage and receive my diploma. It’s just the responsibilities that come with this day that stress me out. Now I think there are few things that I can say from experience that can benefit and reassure you in this job search process.

Don't give up. Great things take time.

First, if you end up being that person who still hasn’t found anything while everyone else around you has, don’t lose hope. I know that’s a little easier said than done but you’re going to have to master the art of patience and persistence. You might take longer than others to find a job and just know that it’s not impossible. Plus give yourself some credit for all the effort you are putting into this process, it’s not an easy one.

Secondly, I know it’s overwhelming with how many job search engines/websites that exist and or the number of job postings that exist. But someone wise once told me to never let that fear stop you from applying. You have nothing to lose and only something to gain.

Third, don’t shy away from reaching out for help. I, myself, sometimes wish I would’ve done it a lot sooner. But believe me when I say there are staff/advisors who really do make a difference in this process. They know what it’s like, the challenges, struggles, everything. These staff/advisors will work with you until you have succeeded, you just have to be willing to make the time and effort.

My last piece of advice for you, that I have received as a reminder for myself is, find balance through all this by having some fun and treating yourself. Don’t forget to enjoy your last moments in your undergrad. Eventually what is meant to be will fall into place.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Kimberly’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Filip Zrnzevic

5 Tips for Preparing for a Job Fair

By: Kimberly

In February of 2017, I attended my first ever job fair. This fair had over 300 employers attending and hundreds of other potential applicants attending for the same reason as myself. My initial impression of attending this job fair was both overwhelming and extremely nerve-racking. But I didn’t have time to be worried about that, I had to prepare myself if I wanted to make a good first impression. If you’re wondering how I made it through the day, below are a few tips and tricks that successfully guided me!

#1 Attend Workshops
I can’t stress this enough, attend the workshops that are provided for you at no cost. You’d be surprised by what you will learn in these workshops. If it helps, bring a friend or two to tag along as well. These workshops will give you an opportunity to practice a handshake or two and give you critiques on your elevator speech before you make your appearance at the job fair. Typically, there is a wide range of workshops that are offered throughout the month of job fair season and or throughout the semester. Attending more than one can be very beneficial because each workshop focuses on different areas. Having developed the skills and experiences at these workshops can come in handy when you need them the most. If workshops aren’t your thing, you can meet with a career counselor one-on-one to cover this material.

#2 Review, Review, Review Your Resume
10 out of 10 of you are going to need a resume prepared prior to the job fair. It doesn’t necessarily guarantee you an internship or position, but it does show that you came prepared to obtain one. Avoid bringing an old resume that is outdated or hasn’t been edited. You don’t want to scramble around last minute trying to edit it because it’s not fun and very unprofessional. There are great resources like your Career and Internship Services office, on-campus for you to get your resume reviewed and polished just in time for the job fair. Don’t hesitate to go because they’re probably expecting you and more than willing to help review your resume with you. They’re also going to be the place you stop at afterward when you’ve secured an application or interview. Therefore, update your resume and make the stop.

5 tips for job fair preparation

#3 Plan Your Outfit
Your first impression is initially predetermined with how you dressed up for the job fair. With that said, look at your wardrobe at least a week or two in advance! It’s better to plan and prepare an outfit for the job fair because sometimes we might not find that shirt we “thought we had” or you accidentally misplaced one of your shoes. If you are unaware of what is an appropriate outfit for a job fair, ask the sales representative or a friend with experience and attend a workshop that discusses appropriate attire. Taking these additional steps to prepare will give you enough time to make a trip to the mall to grab what you need. You can also check out our Pinterest boards for ideas.

#4 Know Your Potential Employers
The majority, if not all employers really appreciate it when you’ve taken the time to learn about their company or organization. You might wonder, how will they know? Well, recruiters can determine that by your conversation. Therefore, take some time out of your day and designate it to researching information about organizations you plan on visiting. They certainly don’t expect you to memorize everything about them, but you should have an understanding of who they are. This also can help you generate some great questions in advance to ask recruiters because newsflash: they love questions! It shows your engagement and the interests you have. In addition to getting recruiters to know your work ethic, you also want to show that you want to know theirs too. On the flip side, this can also prepare your responses when recruiters ask you questions. It may not be as intense as an interview but having prepared thoughts never hurts anyone.

#5 Build Connections
Building connections at the job fair can be intimidating when you have hundreds of other students and individuals attending with the same purpose as you. It can be even more intimidating when you are more dressed up than usual and have to prepare what you’ll say in advance. Sometimes, it’s so intimidating that you eventually start to forget how to enjoy these conversations while connecting with others. Hence, it is helpful to take a deep breath and realize that this experience can be fun at the same time. Making a connection with others at the fair may consist of enjoyable conversations. Your conversations don’t have to feel limited or restrained. Bringing up a common interest or a story to connect with the recruiter can generate some great conversation topics. Lastly, don’t forget to embrace the moment and realize how you’ve already taken prior steps to prepare yourself for this moment.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Kimberly’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Garrhet Sampson

Letter to Freshman Me

By: Kimberly

As a Junior now in college there are a handful of things I wish I would have known or been told earlier in my college career. Especially when I didn’t have anyone in my primary family who completed any form of college, I had very limited resources to go to for assistance. So yes, I will admit if there was such a thing as a time machine, this is something that would be on my list to do when I travel back. I would drop this letter off to myself in hopes that it will save me from a few breakdowns and long nights. Now, I’m not saying that I had the worst experience or that it wasn’t the best thing that I went through but I still could’ve used these reminders.

Dear Freshman Me,

It’s future you, now in your junior year almost finished with college. You probably will thank yourself after you finish reading this letter but don’t take all the credit, because you’ll know who to thank once you meet them in your journey. For starters let me just reassure you this,

  1. You don’t always have to have everything figure out months before you get there and that’s completely fine.
  2. You may struggle here and there with a few courses. Not because you aren’t smart, but because sometimes it’s inevitable. It’s just one of those courses that will try to bring you down, but it doesn’t define you.
  3. You’re also going to need to step out of that bubble more often. Try new things and make new connections. It’s not as scary as you think.
  4. Most importantly, this is your learning process where you are supposed to make mistakes, it is fine if you don’t always get things right because you are still growing, learning, and most of it all getting to know who you are. (But that doesn’t mean every mistake has an excuse!)

Now you probably wondering, what in those four points have anything to do with the other people who you will encounter? Let’s just say you’ll have to do a bit more than reading this letter. If you happen to go through the campus “wedge” make sure you pay extra attention to both sides of the hall, or if you just try emailing and reaching out to others they are more than willing to help. Also in the wedge, there’s this office that offers these “assessments” you’ll eventually find out about and take, which will give you some more reassurance. You’ll also be surprised to know that your professors would like it if you go to their office hours. It doesn’t even have to be for help but because you can build good relationships with them. A little birdy even told me they have connections with employers.

So, save the breakdowns. I can’t give away everything to you because, if I did, that wouldn’t be nearly as helpful as letting you learn for yourself too. With this, seek out your resources even if that means having to do a little extra work and know that there is no such thing as a “norm” in college. Everyone has their own path at their own pace.

Sincerely,
You

Of Possible Interest:
Navigating Through College as a First-Generation Student Part 1 & Part 2

Read Kimberly’s other posts

First Time Experience at the Job Fair

By: Kimberly

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Time is ticking and every time the hand on my watch moved it seemed more surreal that in just a few minutes I would be at the job fair. In my right hand, I had a folder with twenty resumes I prepared to distribute to as many recruiters as possible and in my left hand, I held tightly onto hope. Hope for a variety of reasons; hopefully, I am successful today, hopefully, I land an internship, hopefully, I am different from the hundreds of other students and hope because I need it.

As I entered the building and quickly got myself signed-in, I made my name badge and wore it trying to contain the cold chills running through my hands. I had thousands of thoughts running through my mind such as, “What if I’m not as good as anyone else here?”, “What if I forget my elevator speech?”, “Don’t make a fool out of yourself!”, and it continued. Despite these thoughts, I managed to remind myself that like any other obstacles I had faced in life, I will conquer.

Immediately you could hear tons of voices from conversations between students and recruiters or students socializing among themselves. I quickly took a second to negotiate a deal with myself; I promised to stop stalling time after a quick tour of the entire job fair. During this tour, most of the of the recruiters I walked past were waving to students and welcoming them with a “hello,” and some even tried to engage in a conversation with you to attract you towards their booth. Students were offering their resumes and portraying emotions of excitement, eagerness, and confidence. Towards the end of my tour, I realized many of these recruiters weren’t so scary after all and it was time to take initiative. I also recalled a great tip I received to help burn off my nerves, speak with an organization that I wasn’t interested in yet, I wouldn’t be nearly as disappointed if I failed miserably.

Overall, after several conversations, I learned that many recruiters were eager to speak with students and were most likely going to be alumni from yours or another familiar university/college. They were immensely interested in hearing about what I was currently involved in, where my passion was, and the reasons why I pursue what I do. In addition to recruiters sharing with me about their position and what they do for the organization, they were sharing great pieces of advice. For example, when to look out for internships within my area, who I could reach out to specifically, and what they had in store for students with my major.

Kimberly & Crew UMJF 17
Kimberly (2nd from left) and fellow UMD students at the University of Minnesota Job & Internship Fair.

After meeting with every organization on my list I ended my day at the fair by heading to the student lounge area for a brief evaluation of everything I accomplished. I reflected on each of the conversations I had while actively jotting down notes. Although it was hard to believe, I was quite surprised at how fast the day went by and at the number of recruiters I spoke with. It was a great feeling knowing I made some awesome connections with a few recruiters. I couldn’t wait to add them on LinkedIn or send them a follow-up email, sometime on Monday.

Now, let me remind you that I attended workshops to develop a good elevator speech/pitch, spent days working on improving my resume by getting it reviewed by others, and researched the organizations’ backgrounds prior to the job fair day. All this effort I put in prior to the fair prepared me with the skills and knowledge to engage in these conversations. If I had not spent that amount of effort and time into preparing I know my first-time experience at the fair would have been disappointing. I strongly recommend to anyone who is attending a job fair whether it’s your first time or not – you need to put in effort preparing yourself before going. Like the saying, “You only get out what you put in.”, although cliché it is very true. The second piece of advice I would offer is, speak with passion. Besides telling them what is already on your resume, give them something that showcases the “why” behind everything on your resume. Lastly, enjoy your time at the fair, it is a great way to also network with other students.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Kimberly’s other posts

How I Chose MIS

By: Kimberly

On my student orientation day, I came in strongly believing that Computer Science was the major for me. My first semester consisted of some liberal education courses and one computer science course. I knew that this computer science course would either further solidify my decision or reject it. Soon enough, as I quickly stumbled upon the halfway mark of the semester I started to question myself and this major. My grade in the computer science course was slowly dropping, I wasn’t happy in the course, and I couldn’t help but doubt my abilities.

After a week of contemplation, I knew that the only way I could resolve this situation was… setting up an appointment to meet with someone who had the experiences and knowledge behind this dilemma – my advisor. It was through her I found out about Career & Internship Services and how helpful they would be. She recommended I take a few assessments through their department and in addition, schedule a follow-up appointment with a career counselor to dive more in depth into the assessments. Without hesitation, I made my way to their office and got all three assessments and all appointments scheduled.

MIS Major

My appointments with the career counselors were absolutely phenomenal. I came in stressed, frustrated, and full of negativity about the possibility of finding a new major that would fit me. Immediately, after I expressed to them about why I decided to take the assessments they responded with such positivity and reassurance that it was not the end of the world. As they went on explaining the results as well as shining some lights on some of my interests, we were able to narrow down a few possible majors that could potentially be options for me.

I took it into my own initiative to further my research behind the different majors that were most appealing to me. Thankfully, I knew some peers around me who were currently majoring in these majors, I could reach out to. Each one of them was extremely generous by taking their time to respond with helpful information and even sharing their own experiences. After many research and consideration, I decided to take courses related to the MIS (Management Information Systems) major.

In my MIS courses, I noticed a huge difference in my performance and interest within the major. For example, I didn’t score poorly on my exams and I enjoyed the material  I learned within each course. I was also able to slightly get a grasp of what I could potentially do with this major which made me more certain with this major. After halfway into Fall semester I decided to change my major officially and declare my major as Management Information Systems.

Currently, I am a Junior with an MIS major and I absolutely love it. I enjoy the things I am learning in my upper division courses and my performance also reassures me that I understand the material as well. Overall, if you feel like you are completely lost and don’t know which direction to go when deciding on your major(s), I highly recommend that you seek out the resources available to you. It’s also a great idea to explore on your own skills, interest, and truly get to know yourself better. Lastly, remember that if something doesn’t work out, it could just mean there is something else out there, that you are much better at.

Read Kimberly’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Luca Bravo

Meet Kimberly

kimberly-f16-web

Name: Kimberly
Major: Management Information System
Minor: Healthcare Management
Year: Junior
When I Started Working at C&IS: Fall 2016
Favorite Place in Duluth: The Lakewalk
Favorite Hobbies: Soccer, Volleyball, and Working Out
Fun Facts: I hate cheese.
Best Career Advice You’ve Received: Explore all the possibilities before you settle on a career.
Piece of Career Advice You Have for Other Students: Experiences is crucial; so never think you have enough.