Land a Job with Style

If you’re on the prowl for a job, you know just how important it is to nail that first interview. For one, there’s the substance — you need to know about the background of the company, the technical skills for the job, and your personal qualifications. But perhaps more importantly, you hAlan Rasof Land a Job with Styleave one split second to make a good first impression with the way you look. From your hair to your outfit to your shoes, making sure you look the part is crucial to setting the tone for the rest of the interview.

Firstly, as the old saying goes, cleanliness is next to godliness. If you show up with wrinkled, stained, or otherwise unkempt clothing, the interviewer will make assumptions about your work ethic and your ability to prepare for important meetings. Ensure that your clothing smells fresh and is properly ironed. Completely avoid clothing with stains, runs, or frays on the edges. You may also want to take your shoes to a shoe shine or shine them up yourself. Attention to details is key here.

Make sure your clothing fits your comfortably. If you haven’t been on a job interview in a while, you may break out an old outfits that may be a little to snug, gap at the buttons, and simply don’t fit the way they once did. Interviewers will be able to zero in on people who haven’t given the interview 100% of their effort, so it’s important to make sure your clothes fit your body the way it is now. Oversized blazers or tough-to-button pants demonstrate that you haven’t properly prepared for this appointment.

You’ll also not want to overwhelm with your wardrobe palette. As important as it is to have fun and be yourself, consider the context of your interviews. It’s usually a safe bet to choose greys, navys, blacks, and creams. Naturally, if you’re applying to be a graphic designer, you could opt for something a little more creative with a pop of color or some fashionable statement pieces of jewelry, but for the vast majority of jobs, opt for something sleek and subtle.

Make sure you feel good. If you’re in tight shoes or your blazer is scratchy, you’ll be distracted during the interview and fail to put your best foot forward. As important as aesthetics are, your personal comfort goes a long way in making you feel your best.

The overall goal of all these tips and tricks is to demonstrate engagement and interest. A recent CNBC article noted that of all the things that can derail and ruin an interview, the number one way to sabotage an interview is to display low energy. Interviewers sift through hundreds of resumes and chose you as one of the finalists, and for them not to see you excited about learning about the job can turn them off quickly. In addition to practicing good posture and manners, your outfit needs to demonstrate that you’re eager to engage with the interviewer and take this appointment seriously.  

Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills

Being able to communicate effectively – inside or outside of the office – is a critical life skill to learn. But, unfortunately, many people do not put an adequate amount of effort into improving their communication skills due to various reasons ranging from busy schedules to being comfortable with the way they communicate and allocating their time learning different professional skills. However, communication is one of the most important skills to learn continuously throughout your own life and should be prioritized over most other skills. Here are some ways you can learn to communicate more effectively:

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First, body language is crucial when it comes to communicating well with others. Whether you’re having a personal conversation with your significant other about your relationship, or you’re giving a presentation in front of your entire office, the way you position your body can play a large role in how well others interpret what you’re saying. For example, if you tell your partner that you are willing to hear what he or she has to say, but your arms are crossed and you are avoiding making eye contact, he or she will probably assume that you really aren’t willing to listen. In addition, if you are in a work environment, standing up straight and using appropriate hand gestures every so often will help you seem confident and will give the audience the perception that you are able to persuade your audience and know exactly what you are speaking towards.

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On the other hand, if you are slouching and positioning your body away from the audience, your work peers and advisors will probably get the impression that you do not want to intellectually involve your audience, and could even put your career in a sticky situation. That being said, body language is key for effectively communicating. In order to improve it, work on a “power pose” that you are comfortable with that will help boost your confidence before a presentation at work. In addition, develop strong eye contact with whoever you are speaking to so they know you are engaged and serious.

Another way to improve your communication skills is to ask questions and repeat information that was given to you. Many times, we zone out during conversations, which is perfectly normal. But, in order to stay focused on what other people are saying, make an effort to ask questions pertaining to what they are talking about – and better yet, repeating the last few words of a sentence will further indicate that you are listening effectively and actually care about what they are saying.

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According to an article published by Lifehacker.com, asking questions and repeating phrases has many benefits to help improve your communication skills:

“It also helps for small talk and to fill in awkward silences. Instead of trying to stir up conversation on mundane topics like the weather, ask the other person questions (eg.g., ‘Got any plans for the summer?’ or ‘What are you reading lately?’) and engage in their answers. It’s more important to be interested than to be interesting,” (Pinola, Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills).

Lastly, living in this technologically advanced world, we are often distracted by our cell phones, ipads, fitbits, beepers, buzzers, and what have you – so please, when you’re having a conversation – put them away. There’s nothing worse than going out to a restaurant and watching dozens of adolescents and adults fixated to their phones and not having any conversation at all. Let’s face it – it’s just rude. So put away your distractions and look up at the person you’re talking to, this could help our communication skills vastly as a larger population.