As the weather gets warmer, professionals are ditching their winter wardrobes in favor of cooler clothing. While it’s important to dress appropriately for the season, you also need to adhere to your workplace’s dress code. If your office adheres to a business casual dress code, we have made lists of what is and is not appropriate to wear to help you prepare your spring wardrobe:
What is appropriate?
- Dress pants
- Skirts or dresses that reach the knee
- Polo shirts
- Button down shirts
- Closed toe shoes
- Khakis or slacks
What is not appropriate?
- Hats of any kind
- Open toe shoes or sandals/flip flops
- Cargo pants
- Athletic wear
- Sweatpants and sweatshirts
- Tank tops or sleeveless shirts
- Revealing clothing
Your resume should evolve as frequently as your career does, so you should constantly be improving and editing it while on the job hunt. To help you, we’ve provided a list of random tips you should keep in mind the next time you go to edit your resume’s content.
- In your job descriptions, list your responsibilities in order of importance and significance. If managing your company’s social media pages was your biggest responsibility, list that first. If you only spent about 5% of your time answering phones, list that last.
- List your months of employment along with the years. Employers want to be able to easily comprehend your work history and spot any employment gaps on your resume. If you don’t list the months, they might think you are trying to hide something.
- Include your full contact information on your resume. Some applicants don’t include their phone number on their resume because they don’t want to get bogged down with calls from recruiters. They don’t realize that by making themselves inaccessible to recruiters, they are also making themselves inaccessible to employers they might actually want to hear back from.
- Send your resume in a Word document if possible. Employers might not be able to open your resume file if it is saved in a PDF format, and .txt documents can be difficult to follow visually due to their lack of formatting.
- Don’t worry if your resume is longer than one page. The “one-page resume” rule is antiquated, and employers would rather see your whole work history on several pages than have you exclude work experience in order to fit everything on one page.
Not all job seekers are unemployed. In fact, a large amount of the people searching job boards are professionals looking to make a change from their current positions. These employed job seekers have a whole separate list of rules they need to be aware of when on the job hunt, so we’ve included a few below:
- Don’t use your work email to correspond with potential employers or submit your resume.
- Use only your personal contact information, including your home/cell phone number when applying for jobs.
- You might not be the only person with access to your work email inbox, especially if you work for a large corporation or government agency.
- Don’t make calls to potential employers while at work.
- Don’t assume that no one can hear you making inquisitive phone calls to companies about potential opportunities in your cubicle or office.
- Don’t job search while on the clock.
- Your current employer is paying you to work for them, not to job hunt. Do all of your applying and job searching on your own time.
- There is always the chance that someone will catch you checking out the job boards instead of working, and this could result in you leaving your current position sooner than expected.
- Be considerate of your current employer when scheduling phone or in-person interviews.
- If you get the opportunity to interview with a new company, whether in person or on the phone, try to schedule it so that you don’t need to take a whole day off from work.
- Ideally, you should schedule interviews over your lunch break so that you don’t have to take any time off. If that is not a possibility, try to schedule them first thing in the morning or at the very end of the day, so that you can either come in a little late or leave a little early without missing much work.
- Give plenty of notice before quitting.
- If you do end up accepting a job offer, make sure to give your current employer plenty of notice.
- Two weeks notice is the generally acceptable amount of time, but every situation is different.
When college graduates receive their diploma and start their job hunt, they typically assume that the “education” phase of their life is over, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Your first job out of college will teach you innumerable, valuable lessons that you will carry with you through the rest of your career. Find out exactly how important your first “real” job is by reading on below:
- You will get a reality check: Starting a full-time position will require you to be somewhere every day at the same time for most likely eight or nine hours a day. Recent college graduates used to waking up at ten, going to classes for a few hours and then returning home will surely have to make a big adjustment for full-time work. In the real world there is no such thing as “skipping class” or “playing hooky.” You will be accountable for your time and a low attendance record will result in more than just a bad grade.
- You will learn to be professional: Immersing yourself into company culture will require you to adhere to a dress code, and it will teach you how to speak and interact with others in a professional manner.
- You will learn how to prioritize: In college, you were given an assignment, specific instructions, and a due date. In the real world, work is not always so black and white. You may be given several assignments with conflicting deadlines and importance, and you will have to learn how to prioritize your workload.
- You will make important networking connections: If you are lucky, your first job can be a great starting point for your career. You can make valuable connections with people who can help you progress within your desired industry or career. In college, most of the networking you did was probably through your professors or parents, but in the real world you can make connections of your own.
- You will learn and gain experience: The most important thing you will gain from your first job will be valuable knowledge and experience. The hands-on experience gained in a full-time job will teach you lessons you could have never fully grasped in a college classroom. You will make mistakes and have successes that will teach you life lessons you can take with you throughout your career.
Bragging or boasting about yourself is generally unacceptable, especially in the workplace. You never want to be perceived as arrogant or egotistical, so you avoid patting yourself on the back in public. As a job seeker, sometimes it is important to brag or boast a little bit, especially in a job interview. You don’t want to be arrogant about it though, so learn how to brag in an acceptable way in our advice below.
- Know your strengths:
- If you are going to brag in an interview, you have to be honest about your abilities and strengths.
- Focus in on things that former supervisors or coworkers have applauded you for.
- For example, if a supervisor frequently complimented your writing abilities, that is something you should highlight in an interview.
- Brag about your success:
- If you helped your former employer meet their sales figures or exceeded your quarterly goals, be sure to mention that in an interview.
- You should definitely mention any instance from your past positions where you went above and beyond the call of duty.
- Potential employers want to know what value you can bring to their company, and listing specific figures you met or increased in a former position is a great way to show them.
- Don’t exaggerate your abilities:
- While you are highlighting all the great qualities that will make you a fit for a position, be sure you don’t let things get out of hand. Exaggerating your abilities is pretty much the same thing as lying to a potential employer.
- For example, if you are proficient with the Microsoft Office Suite, that doesn’t make you an “expert,” or mean that you are capable of using Excel to do anything an employer might need you to.
- Be honest and let a potential employer know that you are confident and comfortable handling a task, without leading them to believe you are an expert at it.
- On the other hand, if you are an expert at a task, be sure to tell them. Any certifications or training courses you have taken are definitely worth mentioning.
If you can learn how to brag in a tasteful way, without exaggerating your abilities or being overly arrogant, you are sure to have many successful interviews in your future.
Every job is different, and so is the application/interview process for each job. While it’s difficult to create rules that will apply for job seekers everywhere, we have done our best below. Check out the rules we believe are applicable for any professional looking for work:
- Always bring a few copies of your resume to an interview, whether or not you were asked to.
- Always read job descriptions thoroughly and research companies before submitting an application.
- Always err on the side of overdressed rather than underdressed when choosing your interview outfit.
- Never show up more than fifteen minutes early for an interview. (Unless otherwise instructed by your interviewer)
- Always include your address and contact information on your resume.
- Review your resume frequently and revise it as necessary.
- Always specifically follow a hiring manager’s instructions regarding applying, following-up, interviewing and/or testing.
- Never call a potential employer to ask a question that could easily be answered with a perfunctory search of their website.
- Always ask your interviewer for a business card so you can follow up appropriately.
- Never lie about your dates of employment or your reason for leaving your past employers.
- Never wear strong perfume or cologne to an interview. A great interview can be ruined if your fragrance irritates your interviewer’s allergies.
It’s easy to get down on yourself or feel defeated after a long job search with little progress, but don’t let your lack of success affect your motivation! Confidence is key for a successful job search, so make sure you keep a positive attitude.
- Be grateful: One way to stay positive is to be appreciative of any opportunities you do find. Send a follow-up thank you email to potential employers after every interview. Make sure you let them know how grateful you are for their time and consideration.
- Don’t assume: Don’t assume that you are the perfect fit for every position you apply for. Make sure you do your homework and research each position/company before sending your resume. Many applicants are offended or surprised when they don’t receive an interview request for a position they think they’re perfect for. Avoid this stress by only applying for positions you know (not think) you are a fit for!
- Stay confident: Job seekers who have been in the market for a long time can begin to feel defeated. Don’t bring this negative attitude with you to job interviews! Potential employers want to hire positive, confident professionals, so be sure to present yourself that way!
The most important part of writing a cover letter is understanding the purpose of a cover letter. The point is to explain why you are the perfect candidate for the job! In order to write an exceptional cover letter, you simply need to explain what qualities and experience you have to offer a potential employer. To do this, you will need to study the job description or posting carefully and ensure that you understand what the hiring manager is looking for in a candidate. Make a list for yourself of the major qualities listed in the job posting. Then you will need to draw upon your own experiences and capabilities to prove that you meet those qualifications. They want someone with a business degree? Be sure to mention your Bachelor’s in Business Management. They want a strong team player? Mention that time you helped your coworker finish a project in order to meet a big deadline. Once you have covered all of the bullet points on your list, you will want to include a few sentences explaining why you want the position and why you are interested in working for that particular organization. At this point, you should have an excellent cover letter on your hands! Be sure to proofread your work for spelling and grammar mistakes and make sure it is properly formatted. Only then are you ready to submit it with your resume for consideration!
Unfortunately, there are plenty of myths and antiquated ideas about job searching that job seekers acknowledge as hard fast rules. We have chosen to highlight a few of these myths that we find particularly irksome below:
- Your resume should only be one page.
- The one-page resume rule seems to have been around forever, but reducing your work history to one page can be a critical mistake for job seekers.
- Hiring managers would much rather see your entire work history laid out on three pages worth of resume than have you exclude relevant work experience in order to fit everything on one page.
- Your college major will determine your entire career.
- While there are certain career paths that require particular majors, such as engineering or mathematics, your college major does not have to dictate your entire career.
- When choosing the perfect applicant for a job, hiring managers consider a whole lot more than what your major was in college. Relevant experience, applicable skills, and personality are all additional factors in a hiring manager’s decision.
- You should apply for every single job posting that you are interested in.
- If you are not fully qualified for a job posting you see, don’t waste your time applying for it. Job postings typically list qualities or experiences that applicants must have, but a lot of job seekers seem to ignore them. Being interested in a job and believing you can do it does not make you a qualified applicant.
- Wasting your time applying for jobs you will never get is a big mistake for job seekers. Focus your attention and effort on jobs that you feel you are honestly qualified for and believe you can get. This will eventually lead to a much more successful job search in the end.
- You need to have an objective or mission statement on your resume.
- Listing a specific objective statement on your resume can lead hiring managers to believe you are only looking for one particular kind of job and won’t consider you for other opportunities.
- On the other hand, having a broad, generic objective statement on your resume is basically useless. Objective statements serve no real purpose and are therefore unnecessary to include on your resume.
- Instead of an objective statement, use your cover letter to let hiring managers know what you are looking for and why you feel qualified.
- Companies and hiring managers will never be able to see my social media profiles.
- Many professionals believe that their social media pages are hidden from the eyes of hiring managers. They change their names on Facebook or change their privacy settings assuming that no potential employer will ever be able to see their pictures and posts.
- The truth is, it’s not that hard for a potential employer to see some, if not all, of your pictures and posts on social media.
- Changing your name on Facebook to a combination of your first and middle name or even replacing it with a completely made-up name will not deter an employer who wants to find your profile. If the email address that you use to sign onto Facebook is the same email that you put on your resume, all employers have to do is search that email address on Facebook instead of your name. The profile linked with your email address will come up no matter what you’ve changed the name on your profile to.
- Also, with constantly changing privacy settings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it’s easy for old photos or posts to suddenly become visible again if you haven’t taken the time to update all of your privacy settings.
Punctuality is a critical quality for any professional to have. While this may seem obvious, a lot of professionals struggle with being on time in this busy modern world. Even unemployed job seekers need to be aware of time frames and deadlines when interviewing for and applying to jobs. For now, we will focus on the importance of being on time for a job interview and provide some rules to help make sure you are always punctual in the future.
Rule #1: Don’t be late.
- If you realize ahead of time that you are running late for an interview, call your interviewer immediately and let them know your situation. Be sure to apologize for the inconvenience.
- In a tough job market, hiring managers have their pick when it comes to capable candidates. Even showing up five minutes late for a job interview could disqualify you for a position.
- If a hiring manager can’t trust you to show up on time for an interview, they have no reason to trust that you will be on time for work or meet project deadlines.
Rule #2: Being too early is the same as being late.
- Do not show up more than fifteen minutes early for a job interview unless you were otherwise instructed.
- Showing up too early for an interview can make you appear desperate to hiring managers. Think of a job interview as a first date, you wouldn’t want your date to think you were overeager or desperate either.
- The same as if you were late for an interview, a hiring manager will attribute you showing up a half hour early to your bad time management skills.
Rule #3: Know where you’re going ahead of time.
- If you have time and are unfamiliar with the area, visit the company’s office prior to your interview so that you know exactly where you’re going and how long it will take you to get there.
- If you don’t have time to physically scope out your route, use the Internet to plan it in advance.
- If you are driving to your interview, make sure you know where you are going to park. You don’t want to be late because it took twenty minutes to find a parking space.
Rule #4: Show up early, but don’t go in.
- The best advice we can give you is to intentionally allow yourself extra time to get to your interview. This will give you some wiggle room in case you run into unforeseen trouble such as traffic or delays on public transportation. Even if you don’t hit any delays and end up outside of the office twenty minutes early, don’t go in! Find somewhere nearby you can kill time prior to your interview such as a coffee shop or deli. Use the extra time to review your notes one last time.