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 .



Be Smart. Be Civil. Be Safe. BE EMPLOYED! by erinnunn

Be Smart.
Be Civil.
Be Safe.
BE EMPLOYED!

Though spring weather has not quite arrived, Spring Quarter in Athens sure has. With the first fest weekend now behind us and many more upcoming, it’s important to think about partying smart. The new campaign launched this quarter encourages students to do just that— Be Smart. Be Civil. Be Safe— reminding students that inappropriate party behavior stays on every social media and internet site.

We talk a lot to students about creating a professional online presence, such as getting connected on LinkedIn and keeping status updates and tweets professional. So if statistics about last year’s fest arrests and suspensions don’t get you to think twice about partying smart, civil, and safely, consider how it will affect your job and internship prospects in an already tight market. An employer will think twice about hiring a student whose first link on a Google search is an article discussing their pending court case due to rioting, a picture dancing around a couch fire, or a quote about partying strong since 8 am.

Be Smart. Be Civil. Be Safe. It just makes a whole lot more sense.

—Written by Erin Nunn, Office of Career Services Interim Assistant Director



PwC’s Personal Brand Week by Christy R

PwC’s Personal Brand Week

Last year PwC hosted its first Personal Brand Week. This program provided students and recent grads with an overview of the importance of personal brand and steps you can take to develop your own personal brand.  During the week of February 7-11, PwC is holding Personal Brand Week 2.0, an opportunity to take an even deeper dive into personal brand.  As you know, landing a job today requires more than just good grades. You need to focus on and promote your individual strengths, stand out from your peers and tell a unique story. In short, you need a personal brand.

Each day during Personal Brand Week, PwC will focus on one of five elements they recommend you master in order to develop and refine your unique personal brand:

Day 1, Monday—Building Your Network

Day 2, Tuesday— You Are What You Write

Day 3, Wednesday— Your Online Image Makeover

Day 4, Thursday— Prepare for Career Fairs and Interviews

Day 5, Friday— Your Elevator Pitch – with the announcement of a special contest with a $5,000 prize!

You can access Personal Brand Week 2.0 starting on February 7 on PwC’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/PwCUSCareers or at pwc.com/us/personalbrandweek

PwC also invites you to participate in a Live Chat on Personal Branding at www.pwc.com/us/careercorner on Wednesday, February 9, from 12:00-1:00pm PT/3:00 – 4:00pm ET. This is your opportunity to ask your personal brand questions to PwC’s US Recruiting leader, Holly Paul!  We hope you take advantage of Personal Brand Week 2.0 and please be sure to share this with your friends of all majors!



Brush Up on Your Career Fair Etiquette by Christy R

Brush Up on Your Career Fair Etiquette

As we gear up for the annual OU Winter Career Fair tomorrow, here are a few helpful reminders to help you interact successfully with employers.

BEFORE THE FAIR

1. Identify & research employers: Visit Bobcat Career Link to find out what employers are registered for the fair. Do some initial research about the companies by visiting their websites.

2. Bring multiple copies of your résumé…and don’t forget to organize them neatly in a nice portfolio.

3. Practice your introduction: Be ready to introduce yourself to employers and highlight your major, class status, and how your knowledge/skills would be an asset to the company.

4. Dress professionally: Dark business suits and ties for men, with polished shoes, dark socks, and well groomed hair. Neutral or dark suits work best for women, with panty hose, close-toed, low-heeled shoes, and minimal make-up/perfume.

DURING THE FAIR

1. Make a good first impression: Greet the employer with a firm handshake and smile, and introduce yourself.

2. Demonstrate your knowledge: Let the employer know that you’ve done your research and are able to communicate how you will fit into the company.

3. Remember names and companies: Be sure to get the recruiters name and business card.

AFTER THE FAIR

1. Follow up: Send a thank you note to the employers you spoke to. Reiterate the main points you discussed with them at the fair e.g. your qualifications, interest, and anything you forgot to mention at the event. Be sure to send a résumé/make a phone call if the employer asked you to do so.

—The information above was taken from the Office of Career Services’ “Career Fair Etiquette” flier which is available for students to pick up at any time. For other helpful handouts on a variety of career-related topics, stop by our office or visit our Handout Library online.



Professionalism In the Workplace for New College Grads by Christy R

Professionalism in the Workplace for New College Grads


New college grads need to start putting workplace professionalism higher on their list of priorities as they seek jobs, employers say, according to a recent poll conducted by York College of Pennsylvania’s Center for Professional Excellence. The 2010 Professionalism in the Workplace Poll discovered eight specific areas in which employers have found new grads lacking:

  • Accepting personal responsibility for decisions and actions.
  • Being open to criticism.
  • Displaying a sense of ethics.
  • Being competent in verbal and written communication.
  • Taking initiative.
  • Projecting a professional image.
  • Thinking independently.
  • Demonstrating passion for their work.

The first two traits (accepting personal responsibility and being open to criticism) are the ones listed as needing the most improvement. Information Technology etiquette is another area in which employers are noticing less-than-desirable habits. The growing trend among students to surf the internet, text message, and respond to cell phone calls during class is translating into the work world in ways that employers find unprofessional.

Professionalism in the workplace is not limited to corporate jobs or specific professions (business, healthcare, law, etc.). In answer to the question, “Are all positions considered capable of exhibiting professionalism?” the majority of respondents indicated that they think of professionalism “as being related to the person rather than the position. Anyone in any position has the potential to exhibit professional traits and behavior.”

As you seek to project a professional image, keep in mind the following traits which were mentioned most often as characteristics of the professional employee:

  • Personal interaction skills (includes courtesy and respect).
  • Ability to communicate (includes listening skills).
  • Work ethic (includes being motivated and working on a task until complete).
  • Personal appearance.
  • Self-confidence and self-awareness.


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).