Use Simple Items to Show Professionalism

med234025As you know, employers are developing impressions and opinions about you, starting with the first time they get an email from you, read that email and open your resume document. Since first impressions are hard to mend, here are a few simple, yet professional, changes you can make.

Ensure that your email address is professional; avoid anything cute, silly, odd or suggestive – keep those fun email addresses for your friends and family
Bonus tip: select an email address that has your name listed in it so that a potential employer can visualize your name one more time; when selecting an email address, remember that people can confuse the letter “O” with a zero and the lowercase letter “l” with the number one (underscores can also be missed as well)

Use your email signature to provide your name and contact information and avoid using images, quotes and other add-ons that can be interpreted as unprofessional
Bonus tip: inserted images, from a signature-based business card to a cute airplane picture, can send emails to SPAM or junk filters

Select an appropriate name for your resume and cover letter documents; the documents should be labeled with your name, document type (resume, cover letter or references, for example) and job title if applicable
Bonus tip: some employers do not open attachments or prefer not to receive attachments; if this is the case, you will want to save your resume as a text file, which removes most formatting, and insert it into the body of the email

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Dress Professionally for Interview Success

by Kristy Amburgey

You have researched the company with which you will be interviewing.  You Job-Interview-Dressing-for-Successhave practiced your answers to interview questions.  You have printed out your resume.  You have thank you cards for after the interview.  You are ready to conquer that interview!  But did you think about what you will wear during the interview process?  What you wear makes a distinct first impression, so you want to dress in the most professional and fitting attire for your interview situation.  For many of the career fields within aviation and aerospace, conservative attire is key.  For other career fields, you may find that less formal business dress is appropriate.

Suit

A business suit is the most appropriate attire for an interview.  For both men and women, a suit conveys authority, power and professionalism.  Suits should fit well and be altered or tailored as needed.  Ladies can wear either pant or skirt suits, but the skirt must hit at or below the knee.  Suit colors can vary, but the most conservative color palettes are navy, grey and soft black; dark colors are best when selecting a suit.

Shirt

The shirt you wear under your suit should also be subdued in color and fit.  Gentlemen should wear a long-sleeved, button down shirt.  Ladies can wear button down shirts as well; other choices include knit, rayon, silk or other smooth fabric shirts with a neckline appropriate for an office setting.  The recommended colors of the shirts are white, off white or light blue.  Other shirt colors can be considered, but it is best to be conservative in your choice.  Fit is just as important in a shirt as in a suit.  Ensure that the neckline, sleeves and length fit well and select shirts that do not pull or gap down the front.

Tie

Gentlemen should wear ties with their suits and long-sleeved shirts.  The tie should be in a restrained pattern or a solid that complements the colors of the shirt and suit.

Shoes and Socks/Stockings

Shoes are also an important piece of an interview outfit and can convey a distinct message about how you present yourself.  Always wear clean, polished, un-scuffed shoes that are for a professional work environment.  Gentlemen, wing-tips and lace-ups are common dress shoes and considered professional.  Ladies, closed-toe flats and heels are appropriate; keep the heel height to no more than two to three inches.  If wearing socks, the color should match your pants or shoes.  Ladies, it is recommended that you wear pantyhose when wearing a skirt suit.

Accessories

Gentlemen, a belt, braces, tie bar, cuff links, jewelry, a watch and other accessories can be appropriate.  Just limit the number of pieces you wear to avoid distracting the interviewers.  Ladies can also wear accessories like jewelry and a watch; ensure that the jewelry enhances your look without overwhelming you.

Grooming

Good hygiene and grooming are just as imperative as what you wear.  Pay attention to the small details that can make you look and feel ready for the interview. Ensure that your nails are clean and you are showered and fresh.  Ladies, get touch ups on any outgrown hair color or highlights and select hair styles that will prevent you from playing with strands during the interview.  Makeup should be muted but enhance your look, if you choose to wear it.  Gentlemen, trim facial hair if applicable and ensure your hair has been recently cut and is neat.

There are certain things to avoid when dressing for an interview.  Avoid wearing clothes that are too revealing or too ill-fitting.  Don’t wear pieces with stains, rips, missing buttons or other issues that convey you don’t care about your appearance.  Avoid strong colognes, perfumes and other smells that not everyone appreciates.  Fresh breath is always a benefit; avoid drinking strong beverages or smoking right before an interview.

For the ladies and gentlemen, there are some alternatives to interview dress.  Ladies, you can wear a dress and suit jacket combination.  Gentlemen, for certain industries, you can wear a pair of slacks with a navy blazer and button-down shirt with tie.  At times, certain career fields will find a pressed polo shirt and ironed khaki pants appropriate.

It is important to always research the industry, field and company to identify their standards for interview attire.  For an interview, it is best to dress above the standard of what your future employer would consider professional dress.

Please visit the Career Services Pinterest group and peruse the What to Wear – Men, What to Wear – Women and What Not to Wear – Men and Women boards for ideas on professional dress.

For both the Prescott, AZ  (October 3) and Daytona Beach, FL (October 9) Industry/Career Expos, professional dress is required.  Over the summer, plan your Expo event attire.

Kristy Amburgey is the Associate Director of Career Services – Daytona Beach campus and currently manages marketing and employer relations for the department.  She has been with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for approximately 10 years and with Career Services for nine years.

The Last Thing I Want to Read is What NOT to Do, So Give Me Some Advice on What TO Do!

By Lisa Kollar

I was recently having a discussion among some staff members and student assistants on professionalism.  I was stating that if I was ever compelled to write a book it would definitely be on the topic; in fact, I would title the book, “Where Has All the Professionalism Gone?”. Our conversation followed our largest recruiting event, the Industry/Career Expo, which always provides a plethora of examples of what not to do.  One may wonder if there’s really enough to discuss, but I am here to reassure you that there’s definitely enough.  In fact, I believe there’s a negative trend towards dismissing professionalism, and it’s not just with the younger generations!

In order to fully get the picture, let’s start off by defining professionalism according to Webster’s Dictionary. “Professionalism is the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person. ”  It’s a very clear and easy definition, so I don’t think that anyone is confused about what it is.  What I do believe is that many people just choose not to place importance on being professional, feeling that they are owed respect instead of having to earn it.  Don’t get me wrong; there are plenty of professionals in the world.  I could ask everyone to name people in their lives that exemplify “professionalism” and most people could name numerous individuals that walk the talk.  So, why don’t we all look around, make note of those individuals and ask ourselves if we can live up to their standards.  After years of managing, conducting interviews, career advising, teaching, and spending a large amount of my time communicating with others, here are just a few of those highly desired traits that clearly make you stand out above the rest.  If any of these qualities are in question for you, ask someone you trust, like your career advisor, to be honest with you and give you feedback.

  1. Personable:  Look at the good things in life and put a smile on your face.  It’s a lot easier to be friendly than not, and it makes you approachable
  2. Respect:  First, respect yourself and then allow yourself to respect others, even if they are different
  3. Communication: Strive to be a great communicator both verbally and non-verbally.  Take the time to say please and thank you.  Avoid using slang and text-like language.  Proofread all communications
  4. Work Ethic: Put 110% into your academic and professional life
  5. Reliability: Be the one that others can count on
  6. Competency: Professionals know how to do their jobs effectively and are always willing to learn more
  7. Demeanor: Believe in yourself, and the confidence will show
  8. Organization: The more organized you are, the more successfully  you will execute
  9. Appearance: Take pride in the way you look; be seen the way you want others to see you
  10. Resourcefulness: Know when to share your knowledge and where to find information that you may not know

Lisa Scott Kollar is the Executive Director, Career Services. She completed B.S. and M.S.A. degrees from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and has her C-MEL-I. Lisa has over eighteen years of management experience with fourteen years of experience in higher education leadership roles.  She is consistently successful in strategic planning and marketing for Embry-Riddle’s comprehensive Career Services.

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