Preparing for Professionalism

Okay, so we all know that appearance is key. What we wear and how we look represent our personal brand. That’s why it is so important to take the time to prep. You can’t be a tough girl with chipped nail polish and split ends. Since many college students, including myself, are hot on the job hunt, I thought I would put together a list of tips I’ve learned from recruiters on preparing for professionalism.

PAINT YOURconservativeanils NAILS APPROPRIATELY. Yes, long acrylic nails with stripes, hearts or sparkles may be this year’s trend, but they aren’t professional. You have two option – keep them natural or keep them conservative. Personally, I opt for light pink or dark red OPI colors, because they look nice and don’t chip as quickly as other brands. Properly and conservatively painted nails show that you take the time to care for yourself.

IRON YOUR SHIRT. Now this is a tip I feel silly including, but you’d be surprised how many young women don’t iron! This tip goes back to attention to detail, but wrinkles look sloppy and careless.

CLEAN YOUR SHOES. One of the most surprising comments I’ve heard is how much recruiters and hiring managers pay attention to a candidIMG_0720ates shoes. First, choose appropriate and conservative shoes that you are comfortable walking in. Do not wear the same shoes you’d stumble out to the bar in ladies! Next, make sure your shoes are free of dirt and scuff marks. The attention to detail you pay to your appearance reflects onto the time you’ll pay attention to detail on the job. Personally, I recommend wearing heels to professional events, because not only does it exert professionalism and power – it boosts your self-confidence!

 GET A TRIM. Most of us are dying for long locks like the Victoria’s Secret Models all seem to have, and some young women sacrifice haircuts because they want their hair to grow out. But we’ve all heard trims every 8 weeks will help our hair grow faster anyways. Especially before a networking opportunity, go and get a trim. You’ll want to look polished and prepared, and it is very difficult to do so with split ends or unruly bangs.

WEAR NYLONS. This tip nylonstook me a bit by surprise, because nylons are somewhat generational. A few decades ago, a woman wouldn’t dare leaving the house in a skirt without wearing nylons, but now days we rarely wear them. Even though many of us still have young flaw-free legs, nylons are a must. Make sure your nylons are snag-free and you choose an appropriate color for your skin tone.

These five tips come directly from hiring recruiters in regards to career fairs, networking nights and interviews. The number one message emphasized by everyone I spoke with was that recruiters are trained to notice the little things. This means if you don’t think they’ll notice a stain on your shirt – they will.

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The Power Ponytail

Aside

The “power ponytail” is this year’s best business up-do.

Lately, we’ve been seeing a trend towards simple hairstyles. This is ideal for working women, because it saves time and makes it easier for us to look our best! My favorite so far this year is the power ponytail. For a young businesswoman with long hair, nothing is better. Styling your long locks takes longer than some mornings will give, and for those days the power pony is a simple solution.

Here’s some celebrities rockin’ the style:

Paula's Ponytail


Paula Abdul rocks a high flirty ponytail with her bangs down to soften the look of her up-do.

 

Jennifer's Ponytail


Jennifer Aniston is one of my favorite style icons. She’s able to keep her hair out of her face and look great while doing so. This ponytail is much more powerful and authoritative because of its sleek nature.

 

Jessica's Ponytail


Last, my personal favorite, Jessica Alba’s soft yet sleek power pony. The added volume makes her up-do look relaxed while remaining business appropriate.

5 Ways to Start 2013 the Right Way

New Year’s resolutions are a yearly tradition upheld by few, but planned by many. While we all have gusto for change, I decided to compile a list of ways every girl can start out her year in the right direction.

1. Set Goals and Write Them Down

Saying you want to do something is easy, but accomplishing it isn’t. If there is something you are striving for set a SMART goal and write it down as a reminder, so you are able to hold yourself accountable.

A SMART goal is a simple, but useful, method to create goals. This acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Any goal you actually want to reach needs to fulfill all of the criteria.

Saying “I want to be healthier” is too vague. How will you ever know when you’ve reached healthier? However, saying “I’m going to work out 4 days a week for 50 minutes each time and will lose 20 pounds at the end of three months” makes it very difficult to lose track of progress.

Write down reminders of why you want to reach your goal in places where you’ll see them to keep up the post New Year motivation. Another important aspect of reaching a goal is having a solid support system. Make sure someone else knows you are trying to reach your goal, so they can keep you on the right path!

2. Build your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is the simplest way to build your online presence. Make sure your profile is up-to-date and reflects your experiences in a positive way. It may take some time, but recruiters in every business use LinkedIn. After all, it’s all about who you know.

3. Start Reading Good Books

Not only do they provide great conversation starting material, you can actually learn something! It amazes me how many young professionals don’t read. The amount of knowledge you can learn from experiences of successful people is infinite.

The biggest excuse I hear is that people “don’t have time” to read, but I’m not buying it. Read ten pages every night before bed rather than watching TV, and you’ll have a book read within a month.

Some great books for young business professionals are: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, “All Work, NO Pay” by Lauren Berger, “Good to Great” by Jim Collins or any book written by a successful member of your industry.

4. Take Time to Send a Card

As young professionals we are engrossed in the digital world. But snail mail still exists! (I’m talking to you millennials who have emailed or texted someone in the same room as you.) It is important to show appreciation towards people who have had a positive influence in your life.

The New Year is the perfect excuse to contact a mentor, previous boss or professor. Send a card to someone who has really helped you grow professionally. Express your gratitude and wish them a good year. Managing relationships is very important in the business world. You never know when you may need career advice, a letter of recommendation or a reference.

5. Stay Current

Keep up with current events and issues. It is so easy to read or watch the news in today’s society with smart phone apps and TVs nearly everywhere, so you really have no excuse.

A big concern for Millennial professionals is a lack of ambition. Not in a “don’t want to get out of bed” way, but many people have an impression that our generation doesn’t care enough to do what it takes to achieve successful.

Staying current with news, politics and community events is important to show you care about your future and you go the extra mile to educate yourself.