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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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Published on September 16, 2020

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

1. Organization

When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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2. Flexibility

You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

3. Collaboration

As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

4. Poise

Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

5. Communication

Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

6. Good Computer Hygiene

Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

8. Respecting Feedback

In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

9. Project Management

Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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10. Staying up to Speed

Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

“Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

12. Teamwork

Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

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Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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