Monday, August 27, 2012

Business Professional vs. Business Casual

There are always new fashion trends in the magazines and media, so it is easy to confuse the difference between how to dress in business professional attire versus business casual. Even though it’s currently fashionable to wear colorful blazers, my advice would be to stick to the basics when it comes to interviewing! Employers expect you to be in your most impressive state during an interview. So, when deciding what you should and shouldn’t wear to an interview, be safe and dress business professional to make the best impression! After all, it would be a bummer if a simple wardrobe change would have landed you the job.

• Oxford shirts that button down
• Polo-style shirts with collars
• Sweater vests
• Sports jackets
• Chinos-type pants
• Khakis
• Dress slacks

Also, you have more leeway when it comes to color selection. For instance, various shades from beige to green to pink are all perfectly appropriate colors.
• Suit
• Skirt Suit (knee-length)
• Dress slacks
• Tie
• Dress Shoes (closed-toed ladies)
• Button down collared shirt

No matter what suit you wear, your attire should be neat. The suit should be free of wrinkles and not have any tears or stains. Shoes should be cleaned and polished. Men should avoid a silly tie and stick to conservative designs with solids or stripes. Women should avoid revealing too much cleavage or wearing too much jewelry or accessories.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Career Fairs: How to Succeed & Leave a Lasting Impression

Career fairs offer job seekers the opportunity to meet many employers in a very short time. This encounter typically will determine whether or not you will make it to the first step of the interview process, which could be a phone interview or a face to face interview. To ensure that you will make it to the next step, I have included a list that will help you leave a lasting impression with the employers you meet.

Look the part: A sure way to get noticed is to look sharp! This typically means a dark suit, matching shoes, ironed shirt and a nice tie. In addition, as you approach the employer, don’t forget to smile and give a firm, confident handshake.

Know what employers will attend the career fair and research the ones you like: Knowing what employers are attending helps you maneuver through the career fair and helps you manage your time efficiently. Once you’ve identified the employers you will approach, visit their websites and social media sites to show the employers, through your knowledge, that you are genuinely interested in a position with them.

Have your 30 second commercial ready: Sell yourself! Treat the career fair as a series of very brief interviews and let the employers know about your educational background, relevant experience and any qualifications that you think are important. Practicing your 30 second commercial out loud guarantees that it will be delivered smoothly.

Follow up: Ask the recruiter you met with for their card and follow up within 48 hours. Emails are a great way to follow up because it allows you to thank the recruiter for their time, reiterate your strengths and interest in the company and attach your resume.

Following these steps will really allow you to differentiate yourself from your competition and will leave a lasting impression with the employers you meet.

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Are you just laying bricks or are you building the future you always dreamed of?

While visiting China this summer, I got the chance to visit with several companies and hear from different managers. Each of them provided a different perspective on leadership and how they motivated their teams. One of the managers that really stuck out to me told a great story that resonated with me in regards to motivation and finding a greater purpose at work.

The story goes….

There were three brick layers in Beijing. When you asked the first brick layer what his job was each and every day he simply responded, “I am a brick layer, I simply lay bricks.”

When he asked the second brick layer what his job was he responded, “I am building the streets of Beijing.” This response was a little more promising and showed that the brick layer had a little more motivation and satisfaction in his job.

When he asked the third brick layer what his job was he replied, “I am building the future of China!” Wow! This really made me think. This person, whom one could feel sorry for, barley scrapping bye each day, working in the blistering heat and putting his body through physical pain each and every day, was truly grateful and motivated by his job! He had a bigger purpose.

When I heard this story it made me realize that this can apply to everything you do. I am not just a member of the talent acquisition team with Mattress Firm; I am building the future of my company. So I ask you to think about your current career or your job search. Are you taking the approach of the first brick layer- simply looking at the surface of your current job? Are you more like brick layer number two -you see a little value in your daily work? Or, are you like brick layer number three-motivated to not only do the best you can do each and every day, but motivated to build a better future for yourself, your family and your company?

In the end there is only one person who can change the way you perceive your life and how you view your work each and every day… and that person is you!

Make it a great day and go build that future you have always dreamed of…. one brick at a time!