Archive for ◊ August, 2012 ◊

• Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

 

Workplace Primer for College Students (part II)

In part I of the Workplace Primer for College Students, we detailed the importance of tailoring the job search and preparing a flawless cover letter or resume. Part II focuses on the interview, specifically what collegiate job seekers should do before, during, and after the meeting with prospective employers.

Prepare for the interview

You're hired! Interview preparation can score big points for your career.

Your cover letter and resume have passed muster and the company you eagerly want to work for has contacted you for an interview. There are several tips to help you prepare for the face-to-face meeting (or telephone screening, as is the trend these days). From selecting an appropriate wardrobe to asking a potential employer the right questions, interview preparation requires a lot of thought – and action.

Look the part: It is essential to select appropriate attire for the interview; and, the accessories that make the outfit, which complete your overall appearance. Ultimately, the interview wardrobe should be professional, and make you blend in, rather than stand out, from the company employees. The reality is that companies want new employees who reflect the current corporate culture, and that includes attire.

Men should wear slacks, a crisp shirt, and matching blazer. Of course, the tie completes the look – not a clip on! Freshly shined shoes and simple accoutrements, such as a watch, sans bling, and conservative cuff links complete the professional look. Interviewees can look stylish, no matter the budget constraints.

Related: professional attire for men

Women do not have to sacrifice style when preparing for the interview.  A modest length and well-fitting (not too tight) skirt or dress is appropriate, with a conservative shirt and blazer. If suiting seems a bit boring, or if the industry has a more relaxed approach to dressing in the workplace, it is okay to pair trousers or a skirt with a cardigan set. Moderate heels or sling backs should be clean and not scuffed. Understated jewelry rounds out the interview outfit.

Related: professional attire for women

Even if the industry usually calls for khakis in the workplace (think technology), you can wear the corporate style once you land the job. For your interview, avoid the casual Friday look.

Women's professional attire on our pinterest page

Research the audience: Knowing one’s audience is imperative. Conduct research about the company in advance, including reviewing the corporate website, Facebook fan page, and Twitter account. Being armed with information about the company helps during the interview. Potential employers will appreciate the initiative, and will view the well-informed candidate as one who possesses a can-do attitude.

Before the interview, practice responses to potential questions that may be asked. Ask a trusted mentor, friend, or family member to conduct a mock interview, and assess your performance. Pay particular attention to the use of fillers when responding to questions  (um, ah, and you know), so that you can avoid them. Record the mock interview, and look at it a few times to improve your delivery. Doing so will help nervous candidates  ace the interview by being ready to talk about tasks undertaken in the current job, or skill sets and special talents that can translate to the job being applied for at the company.

Arrive early for the interview: One of the most important aspects of the interview is arriving on time to the meeting. Even if you’re familiar with the geographic area of the company, identify a preferred and alternate route to get to the interview. If there is an accident, detour, or water main break, taking an alternate route may be the difference between getting to the interview on time, or missing out on the opportunity by being an hour late. Drive to the location, if possible, the same day of the week and time the interview is scheduled, beforehand.

Professional attire for men on our pinterest page

Arrive early (not more than 30 minutes ahead of time), or on time, but never late. Companies often ask candidates to complete applications prior to the interview. Remember, the interview actually begins as soon as you arrive at the location. Be pleasant when speaking to or interacting with anyone in the office. Do not be haughty, put off, overly friendly, or flirt with the staff. By the way, waiting patiently until called in for the interview means no texting, listening to your iPod, or talking on your cell phone with or without your Bluetooth.

Ask the right questions: Be sure to ask at least one question during the interview. It should be one that is of genuine interest and not something that the interviewer has already covered. After the meeting is over, send a thank you note. Conventional thought is that a handwritten note to the interviewer is the way to go, it is also okay to send a brief, error free email thank you note.

Once the company has offered you the job, there are a number of questions to ask, not just those related to salary. Detailed questions include those related to annual and sick leave, retirement contributions by the employer, corporate culture, employee expectations, and other details about the position that may not have come up during the interview (i.e. the position’s funding is contingent upon grant money received).

 

Next: Part III (final) of the Workplace Primer for College Students

© Copyright 2012 Ask The Strategist™

 

DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that addresses business, career, workplace and etiquette issues. Any advice dispensed by Ask The Strategist is purely for informational and entertainment purposes. Take the advice and opinions at your own risk – and betterment! Follow @KesiStribling or @CareerConnectDC on Twitter. Post your questions/email your conundrum/send your question via video to ask@ksgsc.com. All submissions become the property of Ask The Strategist. Names and other identifying information may be changed to protect the person asking for advice.

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• Friday, August 24th, 2012

 

When branding goes wrong, and what you can do about it

The blogosphere has been abuzz with Microsoft’s newly unveiled logo, which replaces the former visual image created twenty-five years ago. While reaction from technology experts and graphic designers has thus far has been mixed, the change brings to mind another logo that so outraged customers, that the resulting hullabaloo led to the company to revert back to the original branding image.

What does your logo represent?

Gap is a shining example of a #fail when it comes to designing a new logo. When the company launched the refurbished image in 2010, customers complained so much that the clothing company went back to “iconic blue box logo” in less than a week after unveiling the new one.

Updating the company logo can be risky if you do not consider loyal customers or followers’ perception of the new branding, and the message you intend to convey. So, how can you know if a new logo will positively resonate with your audience? There are no guarantees that the image will be positively received when it is altered, however, keep the following considerations in mind:

 

  1. The new logo should capture the essence of your company, organization, or event. If your company provides childcare, you may not want to have a tattooed rocker as your image (yes, it has happened). There are other creative ways to develop a logo that appeal to a younger, hip clientele, such as an image of a stylish mom pushing a European baby stroller, rather than the typical cartoon character.
  2. The final logo should reflect collaboration from internal and external constituents. A focus group to review the top logo choices before selection should include employees or consultants who work on your company’s marketing, customer service, R&D, and program delivery, as well as interns who often bring a fresh approach. Most important, your group should include a few customers who can provide great feedback and impressions of the message your potential new logo conveys.
  3. Engage a designer who is open to input, change, and takes direction well. Whether the graphic designer creating the logo is in-house or contracted, there should be a sense of give-and-take during the creative process. Regular discussion, flow of ideas, and edits to the creation before finalizing are essential.
  4. Make fun of it! Your company can poll customers and fans by asking them to vote on the logo they like best. The campaign, which does not take long to implement, can be posted on the company website, in an eNews alert, or on social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Your customers, fans, and followers can vote on the logo they like best, and allows the company’s team to monitor voting trends. Ultimately, the company should select the best logo to reflect the organization’s image, even if crowdsourcing suggests a different choice.

Talk back to us: What do you think about the new Microsoft logo? Do you have a success story about your new or re-designed logo, or is there a logo that you absolutely love? Let us know about by leaving a reply below.

© Copyright 2012 Ask The Strategist™

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DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that addresses business, career, workplace and etiquette issues. Any advice dispensed by Ask The Strategist is purely for informational and entertainment purposes. Take the advice and opinions at your own risk – and betterment! Follow @KesiStribling or @CareerConnectDC on Twitter. Post your questions/email your conundrum/send your question via video to ask@ksgsc.com. All submissions become the property of Ask The Strategist. Names and other identifying information may be changed to protect the person asking for advice.

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• Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

 

What successful people do with the first hour of their workday

How do you begin your day?

ASK THE STRATEGIST: When people conjure up images of successful business moguls, we often envision them waking up in the morning, reaching across a sleeping spouse to check their iPhones, and thus, the power plays begin. Kevin Purdy, blogger for Lifecompany, says that truly successful people take a moment to be reflective, and that surely does not include compulsively checking email first thing in the morning.

 

What successful people do with the first hour of their workday

by Kevin Purdy – Lifecompany – August 22, 2012

How much does the first hour of every day matter? As it turns out, a lot. It can be the hour you see everything clearly, get one real thing done, and focus on the human side of work rather than your task list. Read the entire post>> >

 

Talk back to us: How do you start your day? Tell us in the comments section below.

© Copyright 2012 Ask The Strategist™

 

DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that addresses business, career, workplace and etiquette issues. Any advice dispensed by Ask The Strategist is purely for informational and entertainment purposes. Take the advice and opinions at your own risk – and betterment! Follow @KesiStribling or @CareerConnectDC on Twitter. Post your questions/email your conundrum/send your question via video to ask@ksgsc.com. All submissions become the property of Ask The Strategist. Names and other identifying information may be changed to protect the person asking for advice.

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• Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

 

Forbes names world’s 100 most powerful women

This week, Forbes magazine named its pick of the world’s most influential women. The group of 100 power movers, which includes humanitarians, entertainers, and world leaders, span the globe and spectrum of ages. Lady Gaga (#14), age 26, is the youngest on the list. Queen Elizabeth II (#26), Monarch of the United Kingdom, is the eldest stateswoman on the list at eighty-six years old.

First Lady Michelle Obama makes the list at #7

The Queen is joined by a number of lady rulers, such as 50-year-old Julia Gillard (#27), who is the Prime Minister of Australia, and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (#16), age 59, who is the first elected female president of Argentina.

[related: Forbes 400 richest in America]

In addition to Lady Gaga, a few other Millennials made the cut this year, including entertainment dynamo and new mother, Beyoncé Knowles Carter, who at age 30, joins the list in the #32 spot. Sheikha Mayassa Al Thani rounds out the Forbes list in the last spot. Al Thani is the 29-year old Chair of the Qatar Museums Authority in the Middle East.

Alas, the most powerful woman on the 2012 Forbes list is…(here’s a hint: she was an awfully good sport when covered in beer).  Find out who’s #1 and view the complete list.

Who do you think should have made the list? Let us know in the comments section below. © Copyright 2012 Ask The Strategist™

 

DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that addresses business, career, workplace and etiquette issues. Any advice dispensed by Ask The Strategist is purely for informational and entertainment purposes. Take the advice and opinions at your own risk – and betterment! Follow @KesiStribling or @CareerConnectDC on Twitter. Post your questions/email your conundrum/send your question via video to ask@ksgsc.com. All submissions become the property of Ask The Strategist. Names and other identifying information may be changed to protect the person asking for advice.

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Category: Women  | Tags: , , , ,  | Comments off
• Sunday, August 12th, 2012

 

Workplace Primer for College Students (Part I of III)

Begin your career the right way!

This week, thousands of students will enter the hallowed halls of colleges across the country. For many, once the excitement of moving into dorms and registering for the requisite classes has subsided, collegians will settle into pursuing job opportunities. Whether a necessity, or a means for generating work experience for their resumes, entering the workforce – from searching for jobs to the on-boarding experience – can be a daunting task for rookie employees.

For college students, there are some key imperatives to help them become successful job seekers:  streamline the job search; create a flawless cover letter and resume; prepare for the interview; ask the right questions before you accept the position; give an award-winning performance at work; and, treasure your mentors and advocates.

 

 

Streamline the job search

Applying for any-old-job is a strategy that can lead to a disappointing workplace experience. Streamlining the job search is the first step in gaining temporary or long-term employment. Job seekers typically visit online job sites first to find opportunities. In addition to surfing popular sites, such as DCJobs.com or Career Builder, there are a number of websites tailored to specific industries. For example, CareerMD is an online career source for physicians and residents looking for jobs in the health care industry. The American Marketing Association job site lists thousands of opportunities in marketing and communications. Another site, the American Institute of Architects, lists architecture opportunities spanning internships to project managers.

Paid jobs, apprenticeships or internships in a desired field, such as technology, marketing, and business, are often advertised at the campus career services office. Recruiters who advertise jobs and internships with career services typically have a pre-existing relationship with the office, which can be an advantage to college job seekers because of that rapport. Many campus career centers allow students to register for online alerts for posted positions, workshops, and campus job fairs.

Create a flawless cover letter or resume

Before applying for an internship or job, students should create detailed, flawless cover letters and resumes. These documents are an introduction to potential employers, who critique the applicants’ experience, soft skills, and specialized skills before deciding if they even want to bring candidates in for interviews.

Recruiters typically spend less than a minute to peruse a cover letter or resume, so it is important to structure your cover letter and resume, list only relevant information, and proofread everything. Structuring your cover letter or resume covers everything from ensuring your documents are the appropriate length to layout and font.

Visit specialized career sites for jobs

The cover letter expresses the candidate’s interest in a position. It also details a few highlights that complement the position for which a college job seeker is applying, and lists specialized skills, such as web design, HTML code, certifications, and foreign language proficiency. It should also include the person who recommended that the job seeker apply for the position, if applicable.

A college student’s resume should be one page – the average person does not have enough relevant job experience to justify a two-page curriculum vitae.  Highlight the principal tasks (primary work responsibilities) for each job or internship. Do not use informal fonts and large pitch for your resume. Stick to fonts like Times New Roman or Arial in 12 pitch. Ask a trusted friend, parent, or mentor to proofread your cover letter and resume before submitting it – errors will almost guarantee that a potential employer will not call you for an interview.

Finally, be sure to follow applicant instructions the company lists. If candidates are asked not to call the company about the position, respect the recruiter’s process. If candidates are allowed to call the prospective employer, only ask questions that are not covered in the position announcement. For example, if the job announcement states that travel is required, do not ask (before or during the interview) if traveling is expected.

Next week: Part II of the Workplace Primer for College Students

© Copyright 2012 Ask The Strategist™

 

DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that addresses business, career, workplace and etiquette issues. Any advice dispensed by Ask The Strategist is purely for informational and entertainment purposes. Take the advice and opinions at your own risk – and betterment! Follow @KesiStribling or @CareerConnectDC on Twitter. Send questions, your conundrums, or questions via video to ask@ksgsc.com. All submissions become the property of Ask The Strategist. Names and other identifying information may be changed to protect the person asking for advice.

 

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• Monday, August 06th, 2012

 

In an era of seemingly uncivil people (cue slap fest on The Real Housewives of New Jersey), I recently stumbled upon Rules of Civility: The 110 Precepts That Guided Our First President in War and Peace, edited by Richard Brookhiser.

Originally published in 1997, with a healthy update from Brookhiser in 2003, Rules of Civility pre-empted the onslaught of reality television, and stories of soccer moms behaving badly on the field. This book takes a refreshing look at sage advice President George Washington followed, which he first found as a child in the 1700s.

While a few rules appear outdated (rule #9 – spit not into the fire, nor stoop low before it), the majority of the ‘rules’ are practical ways of living…and conducting business affairs. More than a primer in etiquette, Rules of Civility focuses more on the motivation beyond the action. For example, rule #23 admonishes that “when you see a crime punished, you may be inwardly pleased, but always show pity to the suffering offender.” The motivation is to treat others the way you would want to be treated.

Here are the top five career-related rules:

1. Rule #12: Shake not your head, feet, or legs, roll not the eyes, lift not one eyebrow higher than the other, wry not the mouth, and bedew no man’s face with your spittle by approaching too near him when you speak

These are a few non-verbal communication no-no’s that job seekers and entrepreneurs meeting with potential investors should avoid.

2. Rule #15: Keep your nails clean and short, also your hands and teeth clean, yet without showing any great concern for them.

Be neat, tidy, and professionally garbed when you interview for a job, or go to work everyday; however, take care not to overly emphasize your appearance, for it can make you appear conceited and superficial.

3. Rule #35: Let your discourse with men of business be short and comprehensive.

Brevity, when speaking with business leaders – men and women – is always a plus.

4. Rule #40: Strive not with your superiors in argument, but always submit your judgment to others with modesty.

The boss – or customer – is always right. Also, do not be heavy handed with your judgment, so as not to embarrass your co-workers or become the office know-it-all.

5. Rule #82: Undertake not what you cannot perform but be careful to keep your promise.

Enough said.

Which of these rules hit home the most for you?

© Copyright 2012 Ask The Strategist™

 

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