You know how it feels to psyche yourself up for the big interview. You button up your crisply ironed blouse, put on that sleek lightweight wool interview skirt and jacket fresh from the cleaners, don run-free stockings and slip your feet into polished and shined black pumps. Once you’ve slung a tailored handbag over your shoulder, you’re ready to face the hiring squad head on with confidence, poise and style. There’s no way you can lose!
In the midst of all our unemployment worry, we sometimes forget there are gals on the job hunt who don’t have a dime to their name…much less an appropriate interview ensemble that makes them feel like the superstar candidate they are.
Enter Dress for Success. Their mission says it all: “The professional clothing, employment retention programs and ongoing support that we provide our clients symbolize our faith in every woman’s ability to be self-sufficient and successful in her career.”
I love this group. They want women to not only look great but also to feel confident, allowing their true personalities and talents to shine through during the interview process. What an amazing feeling it must be to send all these incredible ladies out into the world looking sharp, feeling good and ready to nab their dream jobs.
If you’re seeking professional polish and don’t have the adequate resources you need, please visit your local Dress for Success affiliate. If you’re blessed enough to have everything you need for the interview circuit, consider donating something to this worthwhile organization…whether it’s a suit or your time. They love volunteers!
See below for Dress for Success affiliate needs:
- Interview-appropriate suits and related separates (the greatest need is for items size 14 and up)
- Solid color blouses
- Shoes that are suitable for the workplace. Our clients receive brown, black or navy shoes most frequently. Please no heels higher than 3 inches and no open-toed shoes.
- Unopened hosiery
- Unused undergarments (Note: Not all locations accept such items; please check with the affiliate closest to you before making this type of donation.)
- Black tote bags, attaché bags or briefcases
- Basic professional accessories (including jewelry, scarves, belts and handbags)
- Unopened cosmetics
- Coats and outerwear (Note: Not all locations accept such items; please check with the affiliate closest to you before making this type of donation.)
For more questions, please visit: http://www.dressforsuccess.org/faqs_home.aspx#faq1
Thanks for this real-life perspective, Gary. Great ideas for any job search bag of tricks!
- Research and fully experience the company’s brand and product – Once, before Gary interviewed with a company, he ordered its product online. Why? This allowed him to examine if their Web site was easy to navigate, eye-catching, and then, if their delivery was speedy. This provided him all sorts of informed fodder for his interview conversation. He mentioned these details to the interviewer who was greatly impressed that he had thoroughly examined all aspects of their business
- Never ask someone if they know of a job opening – Whenever networking, Gary never asked anyone if they knew of a job opening. Is this surprising to you? Well, it worked for him. He asked if they could give him two names of people he could talk to. Also, he asked if they knew people not necessarily at the company he was interested in. He asked if they knew people at search firms, audit firms, banks (his background is finance), as well as chamber of commerce and volunteer organizations.
According to Gary, “All of these efforts worked for me.” Try one for yourself!
I’m not one to support “fakery”, but sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.
No, I’m not lurking in the halls of my new job in a brunette page boy wig, trenchcoat and horn-rimmed glasses with bulbous fake nose attached. But, I definitely feel like I’m playing investigator. Each, day, I’m gaining so much information and growing intimidated by the depth of knowledge displayed by my co-workers. I’m wondering what the hell made them hire me and, at the same time, show them that whatever it was, it was a good idea. What do I know from previous jobs that I can apply to this one; what don’t I know that I need to learn? I kind of feel like a fraud. And I probably will until I’m there at least six months.
This is a normal feeling when you’re new on the job, and it is certainly a feeling you encounter during the job search: Is my resume up to snuff? Do I really know the things my resume says I do? Do I know the right people? Is that jargon I used the right industry jargon, or did I just sound like a jackass? Is my slip showing? Why in the world did I wear pantyhose? It’s soooo 1990.
Well, shake it off, girl. Even the most successful men and women have felt like frauds at one time or another. And here’s a little secret: most people “fake it ’til they make it”. There’s nothing wrong with it! All it is is nudging yourself into a “can-do” mindset that can help you successfully navigate the choppy waters of a new job or interview. It’s like a mama bird pushing a baby bird out of the nest to fly. Except you’re the mama…and the baby.
Now, I am NOT telling you to be untrue to yourself and inauthentic. Please be the wonderful person you are. Just boast a little confidence that you might possibly have to generate inorganically.
Below are five of my favorite “fake it ’til you make it” tips:
- Smile! The act of turning up your mouth corners can bring about positive vibes all by itself
- Ask questions. Even if you think they’re stupid. You’ll sound interested and engaged and end up gaining much more knowledge than you ever set out to uncover. It could also help endear you to someone important in the process
- Dress your best. Sounds superficial, doesn’t it? Well, when you look good, you just have one less thing to worry about. If you’re in your sassiest dress and heels, hold your shoulders back and (see above) smile, you knock down all sorts of barriers and allow your true self to shine through
- Read, watch and listen. Read anything you can get your hands on that’s relevant to the position or company. Watch related news programs and talk shows. Listen to people in your network that have knowledge of the company. Talk to as many of them as you can. If you’re new on the job, keep your ears open at all times. You never know what you’ll pick up from other conversations
- Go to the ladies’ room. No, I’m not kidding. If you’re feeling nervous and uneasy, excuse yourself to the nearest restroom, head into the stall and take a couple of deep breaths. Repeat your mantras, and by all means, go if you need to go! Once you realize everything is in its right place, you can return to your desk, the office lobby, the interview setting, whatever, and put your best foot forward. It’s like pressing the refresh or reset button on your computer.
What are your favorite “fakery” tricks?
- Great inclusion of drugstore cosmetics and skincare
- Cute bargain finds among more expensive wares (Adorable, red patent-trim straw clutch for $48 from Chinese Laundry on p. 70 – look in the back for a Lucky-branded coupon!). Other picks include Old Navy t-shirts; $5 cropped leggings from Forever 21; many fun pieces from H&M, K-Mart, JC Penney, Target, etc.
- Steal These Looks for Under $100 p. 113 – 120, great ideas for styling
- Extensive section on inexpensive hair solutions (trim your own split ends, p. 157)
- Monthly Lucky Breaks section featuring giveaways, discounts, etc.
- Hardly any suitable looks for work or interview
- Deal Hunting on p. 98 – maybe it’s just my taste, but the clothes on that page (“sweet feminine pieces” for a wedding reception) are cheap looking.
- Home Expansion on p. 76 highlighting new home lines from my favorite designers, including Tracy Reese, tibi, Trina Turk, Temperley and Tuleh. I mean, kick a girl while she’s down, huh? Who in this economy can afford a $350 wool leopard pillow…no matter how adorable it is? Or how about wallpaper for $150 to $200 a roll? Just mean. I’m really jonesing to redecorate, but I’ll be steering my car to TJ Maxx or Target…if I get to do it at all!
- “Secrets to Wearing Shiny Trousers”, p. 88. Wow–those will look super hot (mess) on your next informational interview.
The Verdict: Four Pink Slips. For the drugstore finds and hair section as well as the Lucky Breaks and style ideas
Posted in MPS Newsstand, Uncategorized
Tagged Chinese Laundry, deal hunting, Elizabeth Banks, Forever 21, H&M, interview, JC Penney, K-Mart, Lucky Breaks, Lucky Magazine, Target
Believe me, I know the last thing you can do is buy a new suit for a job interview. But, sometimes, new togs can be just the lift you need to keep confidently networking and interviewing.
Solution! This adorable suit on OldNavy.com (not available in stores) is a clean-lined, cotton twill shift dress plus matching jacket. Comes in black and khaki. The dress is $29.50; jacket is $39.50. It’s basic enough that both pieces can be worn and accessorized in 100 different ways. You will look put together, modern and fresh. Who wouldn’t want to hire you in this?
Check it out!