Wednesday, January 27th, 2021

Graduating into the image of success

By Katherine Lazaruk on Sep 13 2010 • Filed under Image Intensive

Graduates! How are you going to show up for your first job after school?

Let’s get serious. The economy is in a massive downturn. This spring’s graduates face a tougher market than ever before and most can expect to take on one or more part-time jobs and make less than they expect to make. How are you going to get that coveted position at the company where you want to work? How will you stand out from the crowd? Is your personal image helping you or sabotaging your chances?

Now is the time to consider how you will present yourself when this important school year is finished. A CEO for one of the major insurance firms in Vancouver recently said that his firm had simply stopped hiring young people. When asked why, he replied that they come in, they don’t look the part, they act like they know it all and they want the corner office tomorrow. If you have a sense of entitlement that’s bigger than your experience, you’d better get your head on straight before you get out into the world.

Here are some quick tips to help you out.

1. Check your appearance. People are hard wired to judge you based on your   appearance. Knowing this, it’s time to really evaluate whether or not it’s more important for you to keep those purple streaks or to get hired. Remember who is doing the hiring (typically older, more conservative) and what they value (experience, willingness to learn and a certain kind of humility from new employees).

2. Admit you might need a little help. Fashionable doesn’t cut it in the professional realm. Those red patent peep toes might be ‘fierce’, but who will take you seriously in the business environment if they’re busy being distracted by your shoes? Give some consideration to whether or not the latest fashion trend is really suitable for your first job interview.

3. Make sure that what you’re wearing gives you some credibility. Check for fit, keep the colours conservative and pay attention to details such as grooming, cleanliness and overall harmony of the outfit you’ve chosen. Don’t remove your personality entirely from your ensemble, but choose your statement pieces wisely.

4. Improve your resume. As your calling card, you want to be sure your resume is powerful and effective and can get you in the door. As a new graduate you might want to consider a skills-based resume which can include your paid and unpaid work experience. If you’re unsure, check out some of the great resume writing sites and get help before sending out a resume that’s less than effective.

5. Check your online media. More and more employers are checking out your online presence – make sure yours isn’t hurting your chances of employment.

6. Practice your interview skills. Review your resume and practice answering some of the common interview questions in the mirror, thoroughly but without rambling. Watch for posture, pacing, volume and tone of voice.

7. Arrive early so you’ll have time to check your appearance. Look from the front and the back to be sure that there aren’t any details that have been left out.

8. Be friendly with the people you meet, but not overly chatty. Remain calm and keep the fidgeting to a minimum.

9. Greet the Interviewer with a smile. Shake hands, make eye contact and be sure to thank the interviewer for their time.

10. When you get the job, remember your humility and keep an open mind. Learn all you can and expect to work for those promotions that will inevitably come to the image-savvy graduate.

Luckily, you’ve got several months to work through these tips. If you need help, contact your local experts for assistance. A simple workshop on your image can be an investment that pays off for years to come.

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