Ohio University Office of Career Services


Dressing the Part: What Your Work Wardrobe Says About You by Christy R

Dressing the Part: What Your
Work Wardrobe Says About You

Dressing properly for work assures credibility and helps to develop a professional relationship with colleagues and clients. Today many companies have adopted business casual attire and let go of some of the more conservative ways of dressing. Problems arise because the concept of business casual is not clearly defined and depends on the company’s dress policy and its corporate culture. Since few companies adopt clear written guidelines regarding business casual attire it is really important to learn the company culture and understand the expectations.

In the traditional business environment, for example, the existing culture expects you to stick to the classical business suit. It is crucial to establish reliability and a good reputation when you work in professions such as banking, finance or accounting. Choose a simple pattern or dark colors and try to change your professional business attire a single item at a time. Think of your dress as something that speaks for you and the way you do business. If the environment you work in is physically demanding, the internal culture there allows you to go with comfortable and easy-to-clean attire, but make sure that your clothes look smart and fit well. When interviewing with a company whose dress code or corporate culture you are not really familiar with, a business professional, traditional suit will be the perfect choice. Once you get hired and learn what the expectations and internal rules are you can adjust your style accordingly.

While it is important to know and understand your specific company’s environment, there are some basic rules that work for any situation or work environment.

Don’t get too casual. The fact that your company has a business casual dress code does not mean that you can get away with inappropriate outfits. Remember where you are and that you represent the company you work for. People won’t take you seriously if you can’t take the time to dress appropriately for the situation. Do a simple “Friday night” test: if you would pick a specific item to wear out to a weekend party, it probably doesn’t belong in the office.

Be professional in your choice of clothing. A short skirt is not a good choice for women to wear in the office environment. Short socks that expose legs are taboo for men. Avoid using bright colors in your outfit; it does not usually look professional. An option here would be adding an accessory that is an unusual color and goes along with the rest of the attire; however, that should be as far as it goes.  The foundational rule for wearing jewelry in a business environment is not to overdo it.

Summer Business Dress. Remember not to abandon your regular business attire when it gets warm outside. Sleeveless tops are very tempting in the summer time, but are usually not appropriate for a business situation. If you do happen to wear one, be sure that you have a jacket to put on when the situation requires. Women can try putting up their hair to stay cool and look sophisticated at the same time.

The Bottom Line. Every time you choose what to wear, think about the message that you want to send with your appearance. Keep in mind that you represent yourself and your organization. Carefully built credibility and reputation can be damaged very quickly by an inappropriate choice of clothing. By following some basic rules and learning the corporate culture of the company will guarantee you a professional look!

For more valuable information on professional dress, view our handout on Dressing Professionally in our Handout Library.

—Written by Anna Morlang, CareerCATS Coordinator for the Office of Career Services

Sources:
www.theworkbuzz.com
www.fashionforrealwomen.com
www.westsidetoastmasters.com



Dining Etiquette Workshop by Christy R

Dining Etiquette Workshop

Do you know the dos and taboos of dining etiquette? Are you prepared to interview during a meal?  The Office of Career Services is pleased to welcome Deborah Thomas-Nininger of DTN Productions to Ohio University to facilitate a Dining Etiquette Workshop. This workshop will guide you through proper dining and interviewing techniques as well as providing tips for pre-dinner mingling.

Due to high demand, Career Services has added one more table to the program.  Single tickets are available for $15, first come, first serve.  Please bring a check (written to: Ohio University Career Services) to 533 Baker University Center to receive a ticket.

When: Monday, May 9, 2011

Time: Dinner will begin promptly at 6:00 pm

Where: Baker University Center Ballroom

Cost: $15 (only checks will be accepted)

*Cost includes four course meal and training materials
**Professional business attire required.

Please direct any questions about the Dining Etiquette Workshop to Ali Woodworth at aw800110@ohio.edu.

More on Deborah Thomas-Nininger
Deborah Thomas-Nininger has been conducting business etiquette, communication and self-presentation workshops and training seminars for over 20 years. During that time she’s coordinated the international etiquette training for the 1996 Olympic Games held in Atlanta for Coca-Cola. Deborah has presented to a wide varieties of companies and universities including Nationwide Insurance, Cardinal Health, Bath and Body Works and Harvard University.  For more on Deborah Thomas-Nininger visit her website at http://dtn-productions.com/home .



Up Your Act in the Workplace, Part 2: Listening Skills by Christy R

Up Your Act in the Workplace, Part 2: LISTENING SKILLS


Developing good listening habits now is crucial to your career plans. The ability to listen well will benefit you no matter what type of job you intend to have. It will improve communication between you and the people you work with, making your working relationship more efficient and effective.

Poor listening skills can affect your performance on the job and create major mix-ups that you could have avoided just by taking the time to listen carefully. Take a moment now to evaluate yourself. Are you a good listener? Are there ways in which you can improve your listening skills? The following characteristics might indicate that you have some work to do:

  • You often interrupt or finish another speaker’s sentence.
  • You can remember what you said in a recent conversation, but you can repeat or paraphrase hardly any of what the other person said.
  • You find yourself “zoning out” when another person is talking.
  • You find yourself concentrating more on the speaker’s quirky accent than on what they are saying.
  • You fidget or shuffle things around while someone is speaking, indicating that you don’t have time to listen right now.

If any or all of these apply to you, it might be a good idea to focus on developing your listening skills with a few of these tips:

1. Don’t interrupt.
One suggested way of breaking this habit is to apologize immediately and ask the speaker to continue what they were saying. After a couple of apologies, you’ll find yourself thinking twice before you jump in again.

2. Keep your mouth closed.
Even if the speaker pauses to think before they finish their sentence, resist the urge to fill in the silence. If you are constantly waiting for the chance to jump in, you aren’t really focusing on what the other person is saying, and therefore you’ll miss crucial information being discussed.

3. Maintain eye contact.
Be alert and lean forward while looking the speaker in the eyes. By doing this, you’re not only conveying interest which helps the speaker communicate better, but you’re also positioning yourself to avoid distractions (such as that bird flying around right outside the window, or incoming emails/text messages).

4. Repeat ideas and ask clarifying questions.
While someone is talking, concentrate on being able to paraphrase the idea and repeat it aloud. This helps you process the information and store it in your memory, and it ensures that you and the speaker understand each other.

Whether you currently hold a job or are still in school, start developing good listening habits now. A conscious effort to improve these skills will prove invaluable in the long run.

For more information on developing good listening skills, visit SalesVantage.com, CareerJournal.com, or CareerPlanning.about.com.

(Illustration credit to Kristy Pargeter).



Up Your Act in the Workplace: Time Management Skills by Christy R

Up Your Act In the Workplace:
TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS

Time management skills are often a major contributor to the success of new employees in any office setting. While professors may be lenient in their grading of a student’s paper that just-so-happened to be turned in three days late, employers are exponentially less patient with deadlines—especially in the workplace.

There are multiple reasons for why effective time management skills are crucial for any worker out in the field. First of all, time is a resource that cannot be stored, or reused. Once it is gone, it cannot be retrieved, so if up against a tight deadline due to procrastination, the chances of producing poor quality work are extremely high—eventually diminishing your reputation within the company.

A second reason why time management skills are important in the work place is because many employers evaluate employees on their efficiency. If a worker is unable to produce high-quality results in an efficient time period, their work will appear less valuable to a company, which might eventually lead to job termination. By utilizing time effectively, employees will come across as being determined, resourceful, and greatly beneficial to any company.

Finally, time management skills are an integral component to careers because prioritizing workload is extremely important in any workplace. If an employee has strong time management skills, is able to budget their time effectively, AND is able to put the correct value on the completion of different tasks, their significance within an office will significantly increase—and so will their potential for future career advancement.

Making a first impression in a new workplace is crucial. While students are often able to be relaxed with their time commitments, entry-level employees are held to higher standards. By understanding the importance of time as a resource, utilizing effective time efficiency, and prioritizing any workload successfully, it is inevitable that any new employee will have an immediate jumpstart into a successful career.

For more information on time management in the workplace, check out Career Success for Newbies.

—Contributed by Katy Taylor, Office of Career Services Special Events Coordinator



LinkedIn: Make the Most of Your Connections by Christy R

LinkedIn: Make the Most of Your Connections

If you are looking to connect with other professionals, job search, or learn more about companies you are interested in, LinkedIn is a great place for you to achieve all of these tasks, all while creating a professional presence for yourself in the social media world. LinkedIn is an online networking site that is a growing trend in the professional world.

LinkedIn serves as a means to connect professionals by focusing on your career and experiences. Given the fact that the majority of jobs available are made known to individuals through networking, LinkedIn can be a very strong tool for you to take advantage of. With LinkedIn you are able to make connections with others you have worked with in the past.  You never know how you may be connected to someone who has the right job opportunity for you. This professional social networking site provides you with an opportunity to highlight your experiences, receive recommendations from past employers, and connect you to professionals in your field.

In order to begin building your professional LinkedIn profile, here are some quick and simple ways to get started and help your profile stand out.

  • Craft an informative profile headline
  • Display an appropriate photo
  • Show off your education
  • Develop a professional summary statement
  • Fill your “specialties” section with keywords
  • Update your status weekly
  • Show your connectedness with LinkedIn group badges
  • Collect diverse recommendations
  • Claim your unique LinkedIn URL
  • Share your work

For more information on all the features of LinkedIn and tips for creating your profile visit the Career Services Handout Library. Here you will find resources on how to build your professional profile, tips for networking, as well as videos to help you get started. Career Services is also hosting a Get Connected with LinkedIn Workshop on November 8th in Baker 503 at 5:00 PM that will share all this information as well.

—Bethany Powell, Career Services Practicum Student



OU Career Week: September 27-October 5 by Christy R

As we’re gearing up for Career Week starting next Monday, September 27, 2010, here are a few things all Bobcats should know about what’s going on for the week and what great opportunities are available.

Several of the workshops are specifically geared toward getting you ready for our Fall Career Fair on Tuesday, October 5. “Career Fair or Bust” will teach you how to interact with employers. First impressions are always important, and this workshop will coach you into making a strong positive impression and recommend how to best prepare for the fair.

The interview is an all-important part of landing that job, but you don’t need to let your nerves destroy your ability to showcase your value to a potential employer. “Interviewing Essentials” will teach you how to prepare for an interview, answer common interview questions, dress professionally, and project an image of competence and confidence! This training will come in handy on Mock Interview Day when every student will have the chance to put their new knowledge to the test by participating in mock interviews with actual employers. This is a perfect opportunity to practice without the pressure of an actual job on the line.

Next to the interview, a well-written résumé is vital in the job hunt. Everyone has questions about what a well-written résumé should look like. How long is too long? How short is too short? Do I need to list every single thing that I’ve ever done? We’ve made it a little easier for you: Bring your résumé to our “Résumé Blitz”, to have it professionally critiqued. You’ll avoid common résumé mistakes and choose words that will set you apart from the crowd.

For those of you who are still undecided about which career path to choose, the StrengthsQuest workshop will be invaluable. You will learn how to assess your own unique strengths, and use them to guide your career decisions. Once you know what your specific strengths are, you’ll learn how to discuss those strengths to your advantage with employers.

We’ve showcased a few of our workshops here, but for a complete list, visit our website workshop page.

I hope to see you all starting Monday!



Employer Perspectives: Common Interviewing Mistakes by Alyse K

Interviewing Mistakes

During our Winter Career, we asked our employers to give us some insights and feedback. When we asked employers what some common mistakes students make during interviews, the top three responses we received from the employers who responded were:

  1. Unprepared/ Don’t do homework about the company

  2. Lack of eye contact

  3. Lack of focus/ Don’t know what they want from a career

These resources may help you improve your interviewing skills:

Career Services’ blog: “Wow” an Interviewer by Doing your Research Beforehand

Career Services’ Basic Interviewing handout

Career Services’ Mock Interview Program

Career Services On Demand Presentations: Behavioral Interviewing & Phone Interview

Last-Minute Interview Prep

Interview Skills: 10 Tips to Improve Interview Performance