In our tech driven society, video job interviewing is becoming the preferred method of determining who gets past the first stage of the interview process. Why? Because it enables organizations to conduct multiple pre-screening interviews in a very cost effective manner. So whether the organization uses Skype, HireVue or any other video platform, consider this a formal interview and the same rules apply for an in person meeting.
Here’s how you get to the next stage in the interview process:
1. Do a sound and tech check – confirm that you are using the most updated video platform version PRIOR to the interview. Additionally, make sure the sound is working properly too.
2. Anticipate & Eliminate Distractions – be sure to shut off your phone (home phone and cell phone) so it doesn’t ring during the interview. In addition, be sure to conduct the I interview in a quiet and secure place or room to avoid outside distractions (trucks, buses, etc.). And if you are taking the interview at your home or apartment, don’t forget to put a note on your door to NOT ring the doorbell!
3. Dress up (from head to toe) – while the hiring manager might only see you from shoulders up, don’t take a chance and only wear a nice jacket/shirt/tie/blouse; be sure to dress in a completed suit. Also, incorporate color into your outfit on that day so that it helps to illuminate your face and give it some light. Avoid small to medium sized prints or stripes because they project a fuzzy like image. For women, keep jewelry to a minimum since they could potentially project a glare and become a distraction.
4. Communicate with clarity – avoid umm’s, ahh’s and any sort of mumbling that might overcome you on that day. Be sure to speak up and speak clearly.
5. Showcase your portfolio – just because the interview is a virtual one, be sure to think of ways to illustrate materials that will showcase your talents and support the reasons why you are the best candidate for the job.
Have you experienced any best practices that you would like to share? Let me know!
Jacqueline Vazquez, Founder of Lifetime Events by Jacqueline
When people spend money, it’s because they feel a connection with your business. The basic rule of professionalism and polish is that your business has to look like the person your customers want to hang out with. This is called your business’ brand, and it consists of image, style and other related elements. When you represent your business, you should always be conscious of the brand you are representing, because ultimately, people are giving you money because they are attracted to your brand.
Recently, I was asked to speak at an event hosted by Jacqueline Vasquez, owner of Lifetime Events by Jacqueline and the topic for the evening was How to Achieve a Professional Image Through Wardrobe and Communication. The audience consisted of members and non-non members of the Association of Bridal Consultants and many of them run their own businesses whether it’s wedding events, corporate events, audio visual and alike. Each business owner is their own personal brand and it’s important they project the right image. I spoke about image and personal branding and reminded everyone that every little detail matters. Everything from the cut of my suit to the topics I spoke about. I am a NYC image expert, and those words are a sort of brand in and of themselves. New York City, the heart of global commerce. Image, I have to look good. Expert, I have to know what I’m talking about. Each of these things are elements of my brand, and when I show that I embody any of these things, my stock goes up. If I were to slip up and show the opposite, my credibility would be damaged, and I might not get invited back to another speaking engagement.
It is similar with brands for small businesses. Whenever your business takes a public stance in the world, it differentiates itself from the competition. When it takes a repeated public stance, it develops a brand around the images, words and media it uses to express itself. The trick is to make sure that your business has the best brand. Image and style are everything where marketing is concerned.
Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and style depends on who’s buying. If you’re trying to be “hot,” the styles and images surrounding your business would look much different if you’re selling to, say, a sixteen-year-old girl than if you’re trying to sell to a thirty-year-old man. When you differentiate yourself in the marketplace, be sure you take your market into account.
There are so many details when it comes to creating a successful, professional, polished brand. Do you know if your business is projecting a polished brand? Take my poll (upper right hand corner) and let me know!
Left to right: Joan Volpe, Joan Volpe Managing Coordinator - FIT Center for Professional Studies - School of Continuing and Professional Studies, Me in the middle and John-Harvard Reid - Director of Development Services - FIT Educational Foundation for the Fashion Industries, Photo courtesy of Smiljana Peros
When I decided to leave my corporate marketing career and venture out into the new world of image consulting, I think family and friends were a bit taken aback and wondered what I was doing! However, when they found out I would attend the Fashion Institute of Technology for my certification, just the name “FIT” seemed to put them at ease. This shows the power of certain brands!
Fast forward to today and here I am, president of the AICI (Association of Image Consultants International) NY Tri-State Chapter and running my own image business. FIT provided me with the tools and knowledge I needed to jump start my business and follow my dreams. Because I love and passionately believe in what I do, part of my chapter strategy is to maintain and attract industry talent and what better place to recruit talent than FIT.
For the first time ever the AICI NYTS Chapter is donating an annual gift to be shared with two outstanding students who have completed the Image Consulting Professional Development Certificate Program. Last month, we donated the first gift to FIT and are in the process of accepting applications to select the first ever recipient of this award. For more details, visit the Image Award Application
Congratulations to my amazing chapter! This is an incredibly important initiative and we led the way in establishing this first ever Student Image Award for our industry!
Oops! Probably shouldn't have said that! Photo courtesy of www.zazzle.com
How often have you been at the receiving end of an unfiltered thought and it has either hurt your feelings or made you angry? I know I have and it leaves me wondering if that person was being intentionally cruel or just clueless. I typically give the person the benefit of doubt but lately I (along with a few of my fabulous friends) have encountered such a lack of “filtering” going on that I’m writing this blog to help people understand why it’s important and necessary to filter their thoughts.
To ensure we are all on the same “blog” page here, I want to define what I mean by “filtering” since there are multiple meanings. One of Webster’s definitions used in verb form is “to flow slowly; trickle” and this is the one we will use for the purpose of this article. When a thought comes to one’s mind and the initial reaction is to blurt it out without any regard for consequences (someone’s feelings) please remember this definition and apply accordingly. Think, process slowly, and let it trickle to your mouth in a slow manner so that the insensitive part of your comment or remark is filtered appropriately.
I recently had a conversation with a few female friends and we discussed the lack of “filtering” that people seem to exhibit these days and it’s baffling to us what some people feel is acceptable to ask or say. For example, before I was married, I was asked repeatedly by relatives and acquaintances “Why aren’t you married yet?” “What is wrong with you?” “Are you a lesbian?” Yes I was asked about my sexuality at a kid’s birthday party held on a Sunday early afternoon on Long Island (about an hour or so outside of NYC and two trains later). Instead of thanking me for coming out for this kid’s party, I was asked this question while on the buffet line! I guess because I didn’t feel the need to ask a random guy to a kid’s party, my sexuality came under question. Now that I’m married (4 yrs), I’m of course asked about why we don’t have children yet? Do you want kids? Do you have fertility issues?? And so on. It’s interesting to me that most people steer clear of talking politics because it’s considered a somewhat private topic but everything else from dating to marriage to children is considered fair game for discussion.
So in honor of all my fellow “peeps” that have had to endure an unfiltered remark, question or conversation, I’m jotting down a few of the more commons questions that should be considered off limits to ask.
1. Are you dating anyone? Are you going to get married?
If your friend or family member is dating anyone seriously, trust me, they will tell you. If they aren’t, they don’t need to be asked repeatedly as it could be a sore subject for them. And if they are dating anyone seriously, don’t ask about when they plan to marry. They might be fine with never getting married and that’s OK. However, if your friend or family member thinks it’s time to get married and he or she hasn’t popped the question, this is a sensitive topic so don’t ask.
2. When do you plan to have children? Do you want children? Are you trying?
Really people? This is a topic that is extremely private and should be kept that way. You never know if a couple is struggling with this issue. However, some couples might not want to have children and aren’t comfortable saying it out loud because there is at times a judgment placed on adults who come out and say this. For some reason, their character is questioned because they consciously opt out of procreation.
3. How old are you?
Never ask anyone how old they are. Age doesn’t define a person and most people are uncomfortable with giving out that information for fear of being judged about where he or she is in their stage of life.
4. How long have you been unemployed?
Being unemployed in this economic climate is frightening and stressful so asking for the precise months (or years) someone has been collecting unemployment only makes that person feel worse.
5. How much do you make? Or how much did something cost?
Why would it be necessary to know this information?
These are just a few of my top offenders for lack of filtering. Do you have any to add? Would love to hear them!
Growing up I was taught to send thank you cards to those who were kind enough to give me a gift for special occasions such as a birthday, communion, graduation etc. or performed an act of kindness that my parents felt warranted a thank you note. While I didn’t look forward to this ritual I did learn the importance and meaning behind it and as a result, it has helped me both personally and professionally.
Sending a thank you doesn’t just apply to gift givers but also includes acts of professional kindness such as a client referral, a business introduction, or an interview. Taking a few minutes out of your day to craft a nice thank you note will most definitely set you apart.
I’ve recently become surprised at how many people no longer think it necessary to send a thank you note; for anything! I cannot determine if it’s because of the perceived “casualness” of today’s society and people view thank you notes as a more “formal” task or is it that people just don’t know any better?
If you believe that a thank you note / email / phone call is “old school” and not necessary in today’s world, here are 5 (I think) great reasons to counter that argument. After reading, let me know if I’ve changed your mind!
1. It eliminates the guesswork – a gesture, whether it’s sending a gift or maybe a client referral, business contact etc. should be acknowledged because it enables the giver/sender to know that it was received. How often have you wondered whether your gift was received? Or if that a client referral or connection worked out for the receiver? With technology at our fingertips at all times, a simple thank you takes only a few minutes to craft and send.
2. It builds rapport and establishes long-term relationships – taking a few minutes out of your schedule to acknowledge a kind act helps to build rapport and trust in both personal and professional relationships. People want to do business (or develop relationships) with people they like.
3. It shows respect – thanking someone shows that you have respect for that person and their time. If someone takes the time out of their schedule to do something nice for you, why wouldn’t you show respect to that person and acknowledge their kindness?
4. It demonstrates good manners – think about how you feel when someone doesn’t say please or thank you to you. It’s not a nice feeling right? Why? Because as early back as you can remember, your parents instilled the importance of manners so when it’s not returned to you, it’s disappointing.
5. It shows gratitude – at times I feel there is a strong sense of entitlement amongst people today and I often wonder if this is why showing gratitude is a foreign concept for some. Recently, a friend sent me a client referral and I was grateful that she took time out to not only recommend me but she called to give me a little background on this individual so that I was prepared for the conversation. I was truly grateful and sent her a handwritten thank you note. Once received, she called to tell me that she cannot remember the last time she received a note like mine and it made her day.
So did I change your mind? Will you be sending more thank you notes when appropriate?
Thanks for taking time to read this blog article
Much of my professional career was spent in technology marketing up until a few years ago when I decided to become a certified Image Consultant and founded my own business. Having worked in a corporate environment gave me unique insights into behavior that got people noticed and ultimately promoted. Many employees overlook their misuse of email and are surprised to learn that it does negatively impact their image in the workplace.
Here are a few tips you can start to implement in your email messages that will help you communicate more effectively with your colleagues, customers, prospective customers and vendors and also provide you with a competitive edge in the office.
1. You craft a great subject line – I’m not suggesting you take creative writing classes and craft an award winning subject line; I’m suggesting that your subject line represents (in a succinct manner) the body of your email. Have you ever received an email with a long chain of responses and by the time it gets to you, the body of the email has nothing to do with the subject line?
2. You highlight next steps – On average, we receive approximately 200-300 emails a day so if you need the recipient to take action, be sure to indicate and highlight action items or next steps.
3. You summarize an email chain – Don’t expect the recipient to read through an email chain and respond accordingly. Take a few minutes to summarize the chain and indicate why you are forwarding it to recipient.
4. You don’t “reply all” – If the content isn’t applicable to everyone on the original email distribution, don’t hit reply all. If you do, it is a complete time waster for all those on the email.
5. You don’t forward “sensitive” emails – Before forwarding ANY email check the content and be sure it doesn’t contain any confidential information or negative comments about a manager, colleague, customer, etc.
6. You spell check – There is a function called “Tools” so be sure to turn on spelling & grammar.
7. You don’t use acronyms – refrain from LOL, LMAO, DL, WTH, etc. Corporate email communications are business related and should written in a professional and more serious tone rather than an email written to a friend.
Do you have any effective email tips that you want to share?
It’s that time of year again when eating drinking and acting merry is the norm. The holiday season is filled with endless celebrations both at home and in the office. What one does in their own home is their business but the office is a public venue and can make or break one’s career.
Having worked in the corporate world as a marketing professional for some time, I can tell you that I’ve seen my share of careers gone bad because of inappropriate behavior at the annual holiday office party. It’s OK to have fun and enjoy your accomplishments at year end but why risk your reputation and potentially your job by showing poor judgment in one night.
Here’s my take on 8 career limiting mistakes that happen at the holiday office party and I can say that I have witnessed many of these.
1. Don’t do club wear – plunging necklines (yes this is for both men & women) short mini’s, excessive make up, funky footwear, overpowering perfume and cologne can be left for weekends not the office party.
Dress is too revealing for an office party and guys need not show chest hair
2. Don’t do shades indoors – not sure how this “trend” started but I assume some celebrity thought it was hip or cool to wear sunglasses indoors so the rest of society considered this to be acceptable. Unless a person has entered into thewitness protection plan and doesn’t want to risk being recognized, please don’t wear sunglasses indoors. It looks ridiculous and communicates “I have something to hide” or “I’m too cool to look you in the eye when speaking to you.”
3. Don’t gossip, point or poke fun at your colleagues or management team. This is a sure way to limit your ability to move up in the organization.
4. Don’t over indulge in alcohol or food – while this might seem obvious to many, for some reason, employees still do it. If you get drunk, you will be the person everyone talks about for year’s to come. And while the food buffet or passed hors de vours are yours for the taking, it’s not necessary to eat as if it’s your last meal. Ample portions are good, super size portions not good. One could be perceived as ill mannered or selfish by over indulging.
5. Don’t be an ingrate – companies don’t have to provide a holiday party but they do it to thank the employees for their hard work throughout the year so don’t complain about the venue, food, or the fact they didn’t have “premium” alcohol.
6. Don’t be inappropriate – while the event is festive in nature, it doesn’t mean you should discount the do’s and don’ts of appropriate office behavior. This means no ogling at co-workers and no overly outward displays of affection.
7. Don’t be ill mannered – thank the hosts for their generosity in throwing the event, don’t ignore the staff who are serving you instead thank them, introduce yourself to a colleague if you don’t know him or her and be sure to look as if you are enjoying yourself and not as if you want to make a clean get away when no one is watching.
8. Don’t not attend – we all have hectic schedules, particularly around this time of year but it’s considered disrespectful to not show up for your company party. Of course if you are out of town that’s an appropriate excuse but if you just don’t want to make the effort, that’s showing a lack of team spirit or lack of leadership.
Eat, drink and yes be merry but do it appropriately and in moderation!
5 Tips to Get You to Round 2
I was recently invited to help out my esteemed image colleagues, Catherine Schuller and Judith Ann Graham at a Job Fair in midtown Manhattan. No, we were not accepting job applications but instead providing image, resume and communication tips for those individuals seeking employment. With a 10% unemployment rate the competition is fierce so it’s our mission to help job seekers present a polished and professional image that will get them hired.
I’m writing this blog because to be honest, I was a bit surprised (ok well horrified) at how ill prepared some of these job seekers were. Everything from their attire, body language, and resumes screamed “I am just not into this!”
Attention Job Fair Attendees: It IS an interview and a very important one! It is your first contact with the company and could be your last.
1. Turn the cell phone/blackberry OFF and be “present!”
I watched a woman waiting on line to speak with a potential employer, talking loudly on her phone. Not only was she disrupting the others on the line whom were probably trying to mentally prepare themselves for their interview, but she was saying to the potential employer “I have other things to do today.” Really? The only thing that you should be communicating to all the employers in that room is “There is nothing more important than being here today and getting hired!”
2. Leave apathy at the door and bring enthusiasm into the room!
I stole the apathy part from my colleague Judith Graham and realized how right she is. Yes, many Americans are struggling right now and millions have been unemployed for quite some time BUT here’s your opportunity to get employed! Bring solutions to the table, not problems. Don’t walk into the job fair as if you are tired of doing this “gig” because chances are, the person that exudes energy, enthusiasm and a desire to be there will get through to round 2 and you won’t.
3. Dress up because it IS an interview
The same woman I mentioned above chatting loudly on her cell phone, thought it appropriate to wear a long sleeve rocker type t-shirt paired with jeans a few sizes to small and Ugg Boots. Do you think an employer will say “wow, this is a great candidate, she’s definitely making it to round 2?!” I think NOT. She could encompass all the qualities and skills they are looking for but her “attitude” and “attire” will only get her standing on line at the next Job Fair. Get your suit tailored, shoes polished, hair, make up and nails done, and for men, if you must have facial hair, keep it well groomed. If you are a smoker, PLEASE refrain from smoking until AFTER the job fair. Lastly, there is no need to have a cocktail prior to your “interview” so please refrain from this as well!
4. Practice your pitch
Your sole purpose at a job fair is to sell your skill set so that you differentiate yourself from all other candidates in that room that are vying for the same job. You have a very short window to do this (many people waiting on line) so practice your pitch. Know the answer when asked “why would I hire you” or better yet, don’t wait until you are asked, tell the interviewer when you meet him/her why you would be the best candidate for the job.
5. Your image encompasses your resume
Please have a professional review and critique your resume. Trust me, whatever the cost; it will be well worth it. If you don’t have an email address, get one; they are FREE! When you open up the account, do not pick a funny email address like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org; simply use your name! Also, when you print your resume, print it on heavy stock paper not ordinary printer paper. Your resume is a leave behind so make sure it gets passed on in the organization and not thrown in the recycle bin.
I implore everyone that plans to attend a job fair to please take these above tips into careful consideration. If you have specific questions, please feel free to write a comment here in this blog or send me an email directly at email@example.com
As the media continues to sensationalize this year’s Black Friday shopping day frenzy, here are a few tips to help you have a more productive (and safe) shopping experience.
1. Strategize – know the store and where your items are located so that you can cut down on the time spent searching. Bring a friend or family member and split the list of items you need to purchase.
2. Make your list – simple enough idea but even when I work with clients on wardrobe purchases, they never have a readily available list of items that they NEED and as a result they wander aimlessly around the store trying on items that they don’t need. Always have a “back up” item on your list so that if the store is out of stock or for some reason it becomes unavailable, you already have a replacement item on your list and it takes the “thinking” out of the equation.
3. Accept defeat – if an item is out of stock, move on to the next item on your list. It’s not necessary to waste time thinking about what you are going to get instead.
4. Be civil – even though Black Friday can be a stressful and at times an aggressive situation, always remember that purchase is worth a life or injury. The words, “please,” “thank you”, “excuse me” will help you navigate through this frenzy.
5. Be comfortable – wear comfortable shoes and clothing so it doesn’t distract you from your mission. Unlike me, it’s not necessary to wear 4″ heels to endure a day like Black Friday! And don’t forget to bring a few extra bottles of water so you keep yourself hydrated and happy!
Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson in one of her beloved hats
I read this article on Yahoo news and I’m wondering what would possess this newly elected Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson to try and overturn a rule (from 1800′s) that bans hats on the House floor. Why? Well the real reason is probably because she has an affection for hats as evidenced by her collection of over 300. However, she is claiming that the ban is sexist because when the ban was put into place, men wore hats (and not indoors) and women didn’t but now they do. Huh? Her argument makes no sense to me and it’s not a sexist issue but simply a matter of respect. These positions and conversations taking place in the House are of serious nature and it’s not appropriate to wear a sparkly big ole’ hat; male or female. With all that is wrong today in politics, is this really the battle she wants to channel her focus and energy on?
If she gets her way and succeeds in overturning this rule, does this mean that baseball hats, cowboy hats, chic and stylish fedoras, berets, etc will be allowed on the House floor?
Do you think hats should be allowed? What are your thoughts?