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5 of the Worst Fashion Mistakes to Make at a Job Interview

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5 of the Worst Fashion Mistakes to Make at a Job Interview

When you are invited for a job interview, you need to remember what that interview is about. Job interviews are your one chance to show your company not that you are super intelligent or have lots of experience, but that you are a team player.

That means dressing like a team player. And while the general guidelines for dressing for a job interview may seem obvious, there are small ways that people can slip up. Here are a few fashion mistakes that may seem tiny but can kill your chance at that career you’ve always wanted.

1. Dressing inappropriately

It should be noted that “dress appropriately” does NOT mean “wear a suit.” Yes, wearing flip-flops and jeans will look bizarre if you are interviewing with an accountant firm, but so can wearing a three-piece suit if you’re just looking for a summer job.

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If you’re confused about what to wear, then ask the interviewer in advance when he invites you. And while it is also true that dressing too conservatively is better than dressing too casually, do not go totally overboard on your suit. A good dress shirt, a tie, and darker-colored clothes should be enough to get you through most interviews.

Note that all of this applies toward interviews conducted on Skype as well. Dress for a Skype interview like you would for a face-to-face interview. Don’t get lazy, like in one particular virtual interview according to Bloomberg where a student dressed appropriately above the belt but only wore boxer shorts underneath.

2. Wearing high heels

I recall one interview that I conducted with a student still in college. Her interview was fine, but when she entered and left the room, I could not help but notice that she struggled to keep from stumbling in her high heels. And I’d rather have a co-worker who was comfortable than one who is awkwardly trying to fit in.

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In a vacuum, I would say that high heels are generally more professional than flats, so ladies should wear them if they are used to them. But if they are too high or affect the interviewee’s mobility too much, then it becomes a problem. Cosmopolitan notes that a good guideline is that ladies should stick to shoes which they are capable of running around in, even if that means a smaller or thicker heel.

3. Carrying too much stuff

Dressing appropriately for an interview is not just about what you are wearing, but what you are carrying with you. You should definitely bring your resume with you to make sure that the interviewer gets another chance to go over it. And depending on what kind of job you are looking for, your laptop or mobile phone could contain projects which you can show to demonstrate your experience.

But aside from that, carry as little as you can to the interview. No drinks (you should be able to ask the front desk for a cup of water before the interview), no food, and no books that are not related to your company or the industry. And I can’t believe I have to say this, but don’t bring your blasted parents to the interview. I actually had to deal with an interview like that once, and it was definitely an interesting experience.

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4. Wearing unfamiliar clothes

You may be tempted to break out that special suit you haven’t worn in a year in an attempt to impress the interviewer. But all too often, what happens is that suit does not fit you anymore, and you look completely awkward.

Wear clothes which you have actually broken in a few times instead of something that is either brand new or you have not worn for a year. This means being honest with yourself and making sure you wear clothes that fit properly, even if it means going plus-size for your interview. That shouldn’t be too difficult, as there are plenty of places to buy ladies large-size clothes from, and then at least practice wearing your interview clothes in advance. That will help you know whether the suit looks good or whether you have to go with another alternative.

5. Not trusting your instincts

There are a whole lot of other things which any interviewee should be thinking about when he dresses up. Take care to cover up tattoos, don’t wear excessive jewelry or makeup, try not to be “sexy,” and so on.

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But above all else, the easiest thing which you can do to figure out if you are prepared is dress up and look at yourself. Do you feel like there is anything wrong with how you look? If there is, then figure out what is wrong and see if you can alter it somehow.

A good interview outfit, above all else, should be something that you can feel confident and prepared in. Listen to your instincts and feelings when you are dressed up, and you should understand whether you feel ready for that interview.

Featured photo credit: In my Garden by Kent Wang via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 25, 2021

Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

“Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

What Is Your Personal Brand?

“Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

According to Castrillon,[2]

“One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

“if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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1. Set Your Personal Goals

What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

  1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
  2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
  3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
  4. What makes you different from others like you?

The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

3. Write Your Professional Story

Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

Other People’s Stories

Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

“your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Reference

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