As a leader in your firm, you should be a leader to everyone whether they report to you or not.
Communication Tip of the Day: Don’t send an IM to do a phone call’s job.
One of the worst things you can be as a leader is inconsistent. #leadership
If I could sum up my advice for interviewing in a few words, it’s this…”Don’t be boring.”
I had the pleasure of doing some mock interviews last week, which made me realize that students need a lot of help with interviewing and resume-writing. More on that in future posts; today, I want to mention some of the appearance issues that I noticed during these interviews.
- Outdated looks: I know that most people (including myself) cannot run out and buy a brand new, trend-right, appropriate outfit for an interview. But as an interviewee, you at least need to look current. Flip through a GQ or Marie Claire and compare your look to what you see. Are people still wearing shoulder pads? Are you accessorizing with something that dates your outfit? Are the colors in-season? You can probably change something small about your look to bring it up-to-date, such as a tie or accessory. Your hairstyle should also be current and professional.
- Men’s shirts that are too big: Men, I’ve said it before. Buying a shirt that fits well makes you look exponentially more professional and mature. Wearing a shirt that can fit two of you looks sloppy.
- Men’s shirts buttoned to the top button without a tie: This looks childish and makes me wonder if you’ve ever been around a professional environment.
- Women wearing “business shorts”: Ladies, stick to a suit for an interview. Anything less runs the risk of looking too casual.
- Cause bracelets: This is a detail that many interviewers probably won’t care about, but I find these bracelets to be distracting. I caught myself wondering what they were for instead of paying attention to the interview. If the cause is near to you, pin the bracelet on the inside of your coat or carry it in your pocket during the interview so you can still show your support and avoid the risk of distraction.
Your image is something to be proud of!
I know this is a surprising topic coming from me! While I am a huge advocate of cultivating an image and developing a personal brand, I have to say that it is only part of the battle. If there is no substance behind that image, it will be very difficult to get where you want in your career. On the same note, it is very difficult to get where you want based on substance alone (however sad and unjust that may be).
So how do you build substance? Well first, do an amazing job at whatever you’re doing. Second, read and gain knowledge in your field. Last, volunteer for projects that stretch your capabilities. Obviously this isn’t an all-inclusive list, but it is a start.
Turning that substance into something marketable comes back to image though. You must present yourself in person and on paper in such a way that makes people notice how great you are.
1) Focusing on job responsibilities instead of accomplishments. Everyone knows what a server does, but everyone doesn’t know the awesome things you did as a server. Those are the things that will get you an interview.
2) Leaving in the unimportant stuff. Minimize the presence of any irrelevant jobs or activities if you don’t take them off completely. Business is all about filtering information and putting the most important ideas first.
3) Yelling at/begging the reviewer in your cover letter. If you don’t meet the requirements, explain why you don’t and what you’ve done to make up for it instead of seeming desperate, whiny, and unprofessional.4) Mentioning activities that may offend some people. For example, religious or political groups.
5) Attaching a headshot to your resume. Unless you’re auditioning for something, I think it’s uncalled for and seems tacky.
I just finished reading Tim Gunn’s latest book, Gunn’s Golden Rules, and must say that this man understands image. Not only does he know fashion, he is a big believer in manners and good behavior.
Manners and attitude are just as important (if not more) important than physical appearance when it comes to creating a positive image as a leader and a contributor.