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Hack Your Closet to Get the Right Job

Hack Your Closet to Get the Right Job
Suit

In 1930 J. C. Fluegel wrote a work entitled “The Psychology of Clothes.”

One of his major precepts stated that nonconformity in choice of clothing was an outward expression of nonconformity in the thought and political outlook of the individual.

So, what?

Summer is here and a whole new mass of job seekers are entering the market. People are made and broken by their appearances. You have just about 20 seconds to make an impression. And, if you know this you can turn it to your advantage.

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Make sure your clothes are ALWAYS neat and clean. Keep your shoes well maintained. There is a reason for the expression, “down at the heels.” Keep you hair neat and keep it trim. Ladies, if you choose to wear make-up, keep it subtle and understated. Keep you nails well manicured. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. If you desire a management position dress as if you already have one.

If you wish to portray yourself as self-confident and well composed, you should dress in a moderate and traditional fashion. Competent people do not feel the need to display themselves with extravagance and flamboyant attire.

Leave the daring edge of fashion to those who are striking out on their own business ventures.

If you wish to be perceived as competitive and aggressive, attire yourself in the sport fashion. Sport jackets and khaki slacks communicate a subliminal message of activity and aggression. Too aggressive can be seen as threatening.

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Dress aggressively if you need to stake your territory with other staff members.

If you wish to avoid being perceived as immature and conquerable, leave your jeans in the closet. This apparel sends the message that you would rather find a way to make do with comes rather than take a stand for what you want.

Save the jeans for the weekends.

Wearing loud, flamboyant clothing screams “look at me!” and “I need you to reassure me.” The exception being the Hawaiian, or camp, shirt. This merely screams, “these four wall are too small to contain me!”

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If you dress in a flamboyant fashion, don’t expect to have your ideas taken seriously.

Military cut clothing communicates a desire for structure and conformity. This are good choices if you are a banker.

Expect to be perceived as rigid and inflexible in this type of attire.

Broad woven cottons and subdued earth colors communicate a desire for times gone by and can indicate you are trapped in the past. Remember, casual doesn’t mean sloppy. Sloppy doesn’t work in any business situation.

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Dress like this and you can expect to be seen as “out of touch.”

Remember, you are marketing a product–You!

Reg Adkins writes on behavior and the human experience at Elemental Truths.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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