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How to Dress to Impress During Your Summer Internship

How to Dress to Impress During Your Summer Internship

You’ve got the job and you’re ready to take on your new role as a summer intern at a cool company. Although proving your ability to learn and highlight your skills while achieving your goals will be the most important part of your time there, what you wear will also leave a lasting impression of you that can be hard to shake.

Fortunately, dressing for a summer internship can be easy and fun if you stick to a few guidelines for appropriate office attire while also expressing your personal style with accessories and cool summer styles. Check out these five tips to rock your summer internship in style.

1. Know your industry

One of the most important workplace fashion tips available is to get a feel for how your industry dresses before your first day. If you’re working for a law firm, clearly, you’ll need to dress more formally and conservatively. If you’re working for a digital agency or an arts space, you’ll have a little more wiggle room.  Just remember to always dress for the job you want.

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After a few days, you might notice that other employees are wearing t-shirts and hoodies, but that doesn’t mean you should. Keep it classy with a pair of nice jeans and a button up or blazer. This will set you apart from others in a positive way by establishing you as someone who is fresh on the scene and full of enthusiasm for your new role.

2. Choose fashionable yet functional shoes

Dress shoes can be tricky. Sure, you want to wear the pair that will match best with your professional clothing, but you’ll also need to keep in mind that you will need to walk and stand in them all day. In other words, leave the clubbing shoes and church/wedding shoes at home. Invest in a nice pair of flats or lower heels or opt for dressier shoes that would still look good with slacks but won’t leave your feet with blisters for the next three months.

Pop Sugar offers up a guide with examples of shoes every woman should own for work. You can check it out here. Men’s Health Magazine has also created an excellent list of examples of shoes that every man should have for work.

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Naturally, if your style tends to be more masculine or feminine, don’t let the genders mentioned limit your options! Check out both guides to see what fits best with your personal style.

3. Invest in statement accessories

Professional dress can get a bit boring if you don’t spice it up here and there. Rather than opting to spice up your attire with an obnoxiously glittery shirt or Hawaiian print shorts, why not invest in a few nice statement accessories? Anything from a beautiful necklace to earrings, bags, watches, and bracelets can be used to add some oomph to your outfit without making you cross the line of professionalism.

If you’re investing in a fun watch, maybe take some time to pick one that really speaks to your personality. Chrono24 has created a fun infographic to help readers select the best watch for their intended use and personality. If you’d rather wear earrings, a bracelet, or a statement necklace, Business Insider has created a solid guide to help you choose what pieces you should wear and when.

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4. Don’t be afraid to wear summer clothing

Although it may seem like the chances of wearing a fun summer wardrobe are out the window, that’s not necessarily true. Sure, old cut offs and tanks might not be in the picture, but there are plenty of other summer clothing items made to fit a professional wardrobe.

Teen Vogue editors say your hemline should run according to the weight of your fabric. If you plan to wear a pair of shorts, be sure that they are made of quality, heavy fabrics that portray professionalism even with a shorter hemline. They also provided some additional tips and examples here.  If you’re looking for a more masculine take on appropriate summer office attire, check out AskMen’s guide.

When in doubt of whether or not a pair of shorts or a skirt is too short or simply not professional enough, opt for another outfit. It’s always better to over dress for a day at the office than to undress when you’re new.

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Hopefully these tips will help you as you complete your shopping for the best dress clothes to accompany you as you embark on a new chapter in your life. If you’re still looking for ideas, I recommend checking out Pinterest for men’s and women’s internship fashion.

Featured photo credit: iStock via i.istockimg.com

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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