Friday, July 3, 2009

Looking in the Rear View Mirror (Part3)

[This is the fifth/final part of a discussion on Rejection in our Job Search. Please read the previous posts for context]

One of the essential skills in driving is using the rear-view mirror. You don’t want to drive the entire trip looking backwards (and if you do, I certainly don’t want to be your passenger), but it is helpful to know what’s behind you.

In our job search journey, it’s equally important to take time periodically and evaluate where we’ve been. This is especially true in relation to the jobs we did not get. In the past several posts, we’ve been looking at what can we learn from the experience of rejection. We’ve discussed the reasons for rejection over which we have no control. More importantly, we’ve focused on those areas that are in our control. This is the final one in our list.

Appearance: You cannot visit a job search site or a recruiter’s blog without finding this subject, along with countless examples of how job seekers continue to ignore it. Wise up! This ain’t rocket science. But for those who need it simplified, there’s one simple word to keep in mind. For you see, I’ve found that if we take all the “dress code” advice and boil it down, one word continues to come up over and over: too. Too short, too tight, too much (makeup, perfume, cologne) too low, too casual, too many (e.g., tattoos, piercings, rings, bracelets, etc.), too purple (as in hair), too Amish (just making sure you’re paying attention!).

For the majority of the jobs we will be applying for, a standard, traditional wardrobe will be expected. (I’m assuming you aren’t applying for a management position at Goths Are Us or as a Receptionist for Clown College) So, for the standard job interview, we want to make certain we look presentable. Remember, our goal is to make an impression, but SHOCK is not the impression we’re looking for.

If you’re going to a job interview and have any doubts about your wardrobe, STOP! Ask someone for an honest opinion. If you can’t find someone, do some research on the Internet; there’s lots of good information. Some of the site even include pictures of what to wear and even what not to wear. If you are still resistant to the idea of such conformity, I suggest while you’re surfing the ‘net, you try to learn the meaning of such words as decorum, modesty, appropriate, respectable and professional. (Yes, I do realize that I sound like your grandmother!) Working in business often means abiding by their rules and fitting into their mold. As the clichéd motivational speaker will tell you: “There is no ‘I’ in team. I will add this: there is “me” in unemployment!

You can argue all you want about your need to be yourself, but until that rigid individuality can pay the mortgage, you might also want to learn the concepts of compromise and adaptability. Otherwise, you’ll continue to learn the lessons of “Next!”