How to Interview for a Job: Take My Advice

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A previous internship I’ve been at

If you’re like me starting out, interviews were kind of a “wing it” event. You didn’t know what to do or how to prepare. I had to learn from experience. I have been the recipient of 7 different internships, selected as an ambassador for World Vision International, the foreman for a local junior jury, received two scholarships to attend a young leaders program in Santa Barbara, and was recently selected to be a crew representative for a boutique in Florida (more on that to come!) Needless to say, I have been through a lot of interviews! I want to share with you real information and tips on how to win big in your next interview.

The first thing I learned was that if you’re interview is over the phone (which many of mine have been) it is crucial that you maintain a positive voice and don’t make comments that could possibly be taken the wrong way. The interviewer can’t see your face and therefore cannot tell how you feel or whether something you say is meant to be taken as humor or not. In other words, don’t try to be funny. Be pleasurable and personable, but don’t try to be funny, because you never are when you have to try.

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My surprised and annoyed face!

The next thing I learned is to be prepared for the unexpected. Do you know how many questions I’ve been asked that I did not have a prepared answer for? Too many to count. I’ve been asked things such as “What United Stated economic policy was, in your opinion, the least effective?” My first thought was “Uh, what? Come on, who asks this stuff?” Well, because it was a think tank in Washington, D.C. they will always have questions to throw at you that weren’t expected. If you are interviewing for a position that you feel unsure of, then have someone else pretend to interview you and ask questions you aren’t prepared for.

A third thing I have come to expect is to be asked what my weaknesses are. For heaven’s sake if it’s punctuality don’t say that! I’ve learned that the safest answers are either worrying, perfectionism, or impatience.

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Group outing to Mt. Vernon!

Something else I have picked up on in the corporate world is that companies are putting new emphasis on team work and group cohesion. Group activities such as bowling or a cook out are becoming a very important part of building a team-centered atmosphere. If you’re hoping to get a new job, expect this to be part of the company culture and say so in your interview. Employers want to hear that you like working in teams but can also work alone. Both are important.

In your first interview, I do not advise that you talk salary or benefits unless they bring it up. Most companies will set up a series of interviews with you and the first one is typically where you go through your resume and explain everything in detail (make sure to have your resume with you) and they get to know you as a person. After that, the questions get much more specific. The second or third interview is when you might start talking about salary. Be sure not to make that your very first question.

Here’s my final piece of advice- ask questions! At the end of every interview an employer will ask if you have any questions for them. You better have some! This shows you are interested in their company and not just getting the job. Some of my favorites to ask are:

1. What’s a typical day like in the office?

2. What do you like most about working for the company?

3. Is the company active in the community (i.e. do they support any charities, do volunteer work etc.)?

You want them to think you’re interested in what your life will be like if you worked for them. It also shows that you have actually thought through why you would like to work for the company.

Go forward with all the confidence in the world! You can do this! As the saying goes, “Hold your head high gorgeous, there are people that would kill to see you fall.”

P.S. Wondering what to wear for an interview or even to work? Check out this helpful post! Signature

 

Staple Items for a Lady’s Closet

Nothing says regret like the things we wore 10 years ago that are so bitterly tacky and outdated now. One of my infamous outfits from circa 1998 was my ballet leotard paired with a butterfly print sarong, straw hat, red tights, my tap shoes, and a rainbow colored xylophone. Yes, you read that right, a xylophone. In my defense, I had watched a kid’s tv show that day about being and dressing for yourself. Boy, did I ever. In all seriousness though, there were outfits we all wore that were trendy at the moment but now we would like to burn the evidence that we ever wore them.

However, there are some things worn by some people that never go out of style. Sure, over the years how they were made and fitted changed, but in most aspects it has remained in tact. These articles of clothing are called “staple pieces” and they’ve been in every well-dressed woman’s wardrobe for years.I’ve created a little visual for you to follow along with as I explain exactly why these pieces are so important and useful! Enjoy!

Staple Items

The top left-hand corner showcases a gorgeous trench coat! It’s a throwback to Breakfast at Tiffany’s when Audrey Hepburn is drenched in the rain looking for her cat. Ever since then, it’s been a classic piece and here’s why: it matches everything, has multiple uses, and can be dressed up or down. Burberry makes a stunning one (with a stunning price) and every year these lovely coats can be seen in places like Overstock.com and New York & Company. Invest in a decent one! Find one in either this classic tan color or a navy blue!

Next we’re moving on to the Little Black Dress, a staple made famous by Coco Chanel! Unfortunately it’s also a staple that has been hijacked by the clubbing scene and all those who come with it. This is a classy piece for any professional woman and even their younger counterparts. Please, for the love of all things Coco Chanel do not choose an LBD that’s too short, too tight, or too revealing! This dress should be worn for evening dinners, cocktail parties, or night time events that do not involve bouncers or 16 year olds trying to get in. Mod Cloth┬áhas several options in all shapes, sizes, and budgets.

Oh look where we are! A navy blue blazer. My how classic! Boring you say? Oh how wrong you are! This is the staple that can be worn to work, school, dates, lunch, brunch, church, to the park, and so many other places! It isn’t meant to be worn by itself; it’s meant to be accessorized and made stylish by the top and jewelry you pair with it. Find a good one. The one pictured above is from Ralph Lauren. However, you can find a decent one at Target. It may not last forever, but it will last until you can afford another one.

My favorite thing to pair with a blazer is a great pair of dark wash jeans. My favorite brand is Lucky Brand but I paid through the nose for them. It was worth it in the long run but I understand it can be pricey! I found some that are a bit cheaper and still good quality at New York & Co (bonus: they’re having a buy one, get one sale right now). I prefer a skinny jean but straight leg is great too. Avoid boot cut unless you’re into baggy in the calf and slightly too long in the leg.

Another thing you can wear with that great blazer is a pair of shorts! No, not Daisy Duke shorts, more like the J Crew style. I have so many pairs of shorts but the ones I get the most use out of (and look the classiest) are my chino style shorts like the pair above. You can find similar ones at Target, but the best come from J Crew. I get them on sale every August and save them for the next summer because it saves about $20.

Moving on to pencil skirts now! I love these for so many reasons but mainly because I can wear it to work with pretty much anything on top (sometimes I don’t even need to iron mine but don’t tell anyone!) My favorite ones come from Banana Republic. Yet again, they can be pricey. My solution for savings? Go to their factory store and browse the clearance section. I found a great navy blue pencil skirt for only $10 one time! I suggest finding one in either a cream color or a black.

Cardigans are a lovely thing to pair with just about anything. Buy them in a grey or black and then a red/orangey color for some zip. To get a really good quality cardigan you’ll be needing at least $40. I’ve made it through life with a few from Forever 21 and Old Navy. I can’t say the quality is stellar but it’s good enough for a lower budget.

A cardi looks great with a buttoned up oxford shirt underneath (and guess what? It goes with that blazer again). The best ones I’ve come across are from Ralph Lauren. Once again, head to the factory store and browse clearance. My blue oxford came from the clearance rack and it looks amazing for only $22. If you aren’t near a Ralph Lauren store, then check out Old Navy, they usually have some.

Last but not least, t-shirts. Everyone can rock these and they are the one item that we wear all the time. Get them in neutral colors for the most versatile wardrobe. A good brand of t-shirt I like is Zara but Old Navy can make a good one too. Check to make sure it isn’t too see-through. No one wants to see your bra when you’re walking down the street. At least I hope not.

To finish out this staple piece series tomorrow I will be covering staple accessories and a few other items! Check back for this grand finale!

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