Graduation. Next, a job!

Posted on June 1, 2011 by admin
Every spring, as graduates celebrate their accomplishment, they also face the reality of having to find a JOB. Companies have reduced personnel and are more selective in who they hire. This places new graduates in the position of having to make sure they make their best impression.

I just read an article in the Wall Street Journal lamenting the fact that our schools do not prepare the graduates for interviewing. It sited one young woman who appeared in flip-flops for an interview at a law firm for a paralegal position. (She was not hired.) We are aghast at hearing that but each year brings similar stories.

If you have a young graduate in your world who is seeking employment, please take the time to coach them on how to prepare for the interview. That could make the difference in a gifted young person getting the job or not even being considered.

Grooming: Impeccable is the short answer. Hair should be trimmed and look professional. Men are better without facial hair. Nails should be short and neat, a neutral polish for ladies. Blouses and shirts should be pressed. And, it goes without saying that tattoos and piercings need to be hidden.

Dress: It is generally better to be a little too conservative than too casually dressed. Banking, the legal profession and accounting are considered conservative professions, so a suit is appropriate for men and women. Navy or grey are the best suit color choices. Women are usually acceptable with slacks or a skirt. The suit should fit well. Paying for tailoring is money well spent. 

A light blue shirt is always a good choice for both men and women. Depending on your coloring, peach or pink also works well for ladies. Blue is complementary to most all skin tones and is generally more flattering than white. Men should show about one fourth inch of cuff at the wrist. Black or brown, polished shoes with socks matching the trousers for men while women could go with a neutral, black or navy shoe, depending on the suit color. Yes, you can wear black with navy. Pumps are the best shoe choice – strappy sandals simply don’t work with a suit. I prefer hose for ladies as it gives a more finished look.

The handbag should not be too large and should have structure. Think professional, business. Striped ties are very popular but you could choose a plain color that has a pattern in the weave. A navy or red stripe tie with accenting color would be a good choice. I suggest avoiding fashion colors like lime green or yellow. If you have blue eyes, wearing a blue tie projects integrity.

If you are going into another, less conservative field, adjust the formality of your dress accordingly. The computer field is very casual. About the only parameters are to wear long pants, be clean and know your programming. I would recommend being pressed and well groomed as well. Advertising is an area where you can let your creativity show more. Research the company first, then dress a little more conservatively than seems to be the company standard. You want them to see that you are creative but not too extreme. Once you have the job, you can individualize your style to fit within the norms of your workplace.

The Interview: The article also gave a few examples of how not to interview. One young man responded to the question, “Why do you want to work for this company?” by saying, “It beats flipping hamburgers.” It seems hard to imagine someone being so unprepared that they would blurt out such a statement, but it happens.

Remember, the company wants to know what you can do for them. Before interviewing with a company, do your homework. Know what the company does, a good bit about it. Have an answer of why you want to work for them and what you think you can offer them. Let the personnel director tell you about their benefits. Many companies complain that young people entering the workplace are much more interested in benefits than why they would be a good addition to company. Wrong impression in any job market can damage your chances for the position, especially in today’s job market.

Having had work experience through school is positive. It doesn’t make any difference if you have flipped hamburgers, been a lifeguard or cleaned pools. You are showing your prospective employer that you have ambition and have experienced working for someone else.

If you have someone in your family who could use some guidance in getting ready for interviews, call us. We’re here to help you interview with “Aplomb”! or 404-428-2527.

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