5 Ways to Ensure You Are Work-Ready

Sitting on the couch, flipping through the latest Vogue, and sipping on tea seems most pleasant for a lifetime ahead. But, there comes a point in life when reality sets in stone and things get oh-so-serious. September is a month of reflection and transition. Reflecting on the joys of summertime but pondering in thought about your career. Well, if you’re sitting there twiddling your thumbs and worried about how to tackle this next chapter of your life, here are five of the best ways to ensure you’re work-ready and be more than ready to apply, interview, and succeed with confidence!

PHOTO: Lex Kelly

1—Appearance is everything

An initial impression is everything. The way you present yourself will show a lot to your employer. Be sure you know what the dress code is and whether it’s smart casual or professional attire. A statement piece for every wardrobe is a tuxedo blazer. You can pair this with anything, whether it’s with a pair of jeans and boots or with a pair of tailored slim pants, a classic heel, and a white shirt with a collar.

PHOTO: Kenia Viezcas

2—Have your résumé up to scratch

A professional résumé is essential. This is what you will give the employer when applying for the job, so an engaging summary, proof of expertise, education highlights, and relevant past experience must be listed on your résumé. A cover letter is always a great thing to have as well, so you can target the job and employer in a very specific way, outlining that the job is attractive to you and why. Get creative and stand out. Remember to tailor each cover letter to the specific job you are applying for.

3—Organization is key

The key to staying organized is having a good diary or planner. Whether you’re old school or tech-savvy, this should be your go-to bible. Make checklists, write down what you need to do for the week, and take note of important dates, ideas, and thoughts. This will guarantee that you will not miss or forget a thing.

PHOTO: Valerie Cammack

4—Don’t forget about time management

Plan wisely before any interview. Plan your outfits, your work schedule, your departure times, and your alarms. Having a good grasp of time will help you make conscious choices, enabling you to work smarter even when time is tight and the pressure is high. Have a watch on every day. Not only can you look stylish with a rad watch, but you will never be late.

5—Be prepared for anything

In any interview, questions are going to be posed to you, so you may as well be one step ahead of the team. Research, read, repeat. It’s so important to be confident in your answers, and, above all, be you.

Comment below any helpful ways to get ready for your next career move, whether it be a dream internship or job aspiration. What is an essential way for you to be work-ready?

4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Retail Job

This summer I took on the challenge of working in retail, as most of us lovers of fashion and style chose to do at one point or another. Not far into the season, I came to the realization that this was my first college summer and I should be making the most of it. To get more than a paycheck out of my summer gig, I found a few small ways to broaden my horizons and add some sparkles to my resume.

Disclaimer: I worked at a small boutique. Some of these tips may be less applicable if you are working for a large chain retailer.

Build a social media presence. The job I worked was at a locally-owned specialty store in a beach town. I noticed that the owners had created an online sales presence and a popular Facebook page, but were not utilizing any other social media channels. I asked permission to take over a forgotten store Instagram account for the summer. Using my coworkers as models, and the scenery around the store as a set, I photographed new merchandise and advertised sale items to a growing number of followers. This experience not only made my job more exciting, ut also allowed me to add several new skills to my resume.

Design a display. Visual merchandising is an important part of marketing. Displays draw customers in and show off new products in their best light. I had the opportunity to use my creativity and design knowledge to put together complete looks for mannequins and arrange products on tabletop displays.

Become an expert. Many brands offer online training videos that teach sales associates how to pitch their product to a customer. The more you learn about a product, the more you will be able to talk to customers about it, and the more likely they will be to buy it. Some brands even offer a rewards program and if you sell a certain number of their products, you might get something free. This is a terrific way to strengthen your marketing skills and possibly score some freebies.

Share your ideas. If you think those cute new skirts should be up front where customers can admire them more easily, tell someone! If you think there is a more efficient way to put price tags on a new shipment, let yourself be heard! Keep a stylish notebook on hand to jot down your thoughts. If you think every business has it all figured out, you’re wrong. Your idea could create positive changes that are needed for a business to grow. Tell your boss about a new brand you found that you believe would do well in your store. Brief your coworkers on the best questions to ask customers in order to figure out what they’re looking for. The possibilities are endless.

These ideas helped me get through some rather dull days on the sales floor. If you have any other tips please share them in the comments below!

How Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone Can Kickstart Your Career

When going off to college, there are a myriad of choices that are presented to you. What college will you attend? What classes will you take? Who will you befriend? But, for many of us, the most intimidating question is how do I start my career?

The pressure to get a head start on our chosen career path can be scary enough for us to want to hide in our dorm rooms in an endless Netflix spiral. But, have no fear! Check out a few tips on giving your career a jump start while you’re still in college.

1—If there is an opportunity, take it (no matter what it is). Especially at the beginning of your career, seeking out any kind of opportunity (even if that means being an assistant to an assistant) is vital. It is the first few steps toward your career that build the base and give you character. Even though the job itself may feel mundane, demonstrating that you have the hustle and can-do attitude to do those not-so-glamorous jobs can really show future employers that you work for everything you get. Let your resume tell the story of “started from the bottom now we’re here.”

2—You’ll never be ready if you wait until you are. Hesitating when presented with challenging or intimidating opportunities is natural. However, wanting to wait until you’re ready, have more experience, or feel more confident in your skills will only result in career stagnation. Being in college comes with a lot of struggles and learning opportunities, but some of the most rewarding experiences are those you didn’t think you could handle but do. If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll never be.

3—Network with upperclassmen Depending on various factors, networking with upperclassmen can be a delicate matter. However, it is often one of the best ways to get those first few jobs in your career field. Talking to upperclassmen about their previous internships, jobs, or interview experiences can give you a step up and even a job or internship of your own. Granted, it can sometimes be challenging to build relationships with upperclassmen, showing them that you are tenacious and driven can go a long way. Try going out of your way to ask an upperclassman in your program out to coffee to chat about their experience. I have found that some of the best jobs I’ve gotten so far in college have been from upperclassmen recommendations or previous positions.

4—Fake it ‘till you make it! If you don’t feel like you deserve the job, internship, or opportunity, your employer won’t either. Dress smart, look confident and fake it until you feel it.

Do you have any more tips or experiences about getting your career going in college? Comment below or tag @CFashionista on social media!

The Dos and Don’ts of Resume Writing

Looking for a job or internship is a very daunting experience for us college students. On average, every corporate job attracts around 250 resumes and according to the Forbes website, only 20 percent of the applicants get called in for an interview. Not only that, but recruiters spend an average of only six seconds before they make the final decision whether you would fit in or not.

Makes you feel like just a tiny number right?

It is safe to safe that a resume should be brief, but should also correctly convey the message that you want to send. It should state who you are, but also how you want to be presented. Many people still make very basic and easily fixable mistakes over and over again, often times leaving out things that should definitely be included, and including things that must be removed. This is the main reason that hiring managers end up interviewing only 20 percent of the total number of resumes they received. So clearly, your resume needs to be as good as you can possibly make it.

In order to do this, I have set up a list of dos and don’ts.This list will specifically state what needs to be included your future perfect resume and what you should avoid adding to it because it is just plain unnecessary. If you follow these rules, I am 100 percent sure that your hiring manager will put you in the “fit in” pile of resumes. So, grab a cup of coffee and let’s get started!

Resume Dos

1—Be clear, concise, and neat.

2—Use a consistent format for dates, headings, etc.

3—Be positive and honest.

4—Check grammar and spelling. 

5—Everything should fit on one page.

6—Put an in reference page and use the same font always. 

Resume Don’ts

1—State salary requirements.

2—Give reasons for leaving employers.

3—Limit geographic range.

4—Present or explain views on philosophy, religion, or politics, unless asked.

5—Offer any negative information.

Will you make these key changes to your resume? Let me know in the comments below or show us on social media by tagging @Cfashionista!

Resume, Portfolio, or Both?

When applying for your next career, you want to make sure that you have a successful resume before presenting it to any potential employers. Having a resume is crucial but having a portfolio isn’t a bad idea either, especially in the fashion world. A portfolio is a great way to get your name out there and showcase how great you are at what you do. A portfolio is the best way to present a wide spectrum of things you are interested in doing, as well as showcasing your talent in multiple fields.

When creating your resume you want to make sure that you include all of your information accurately. Make sure to double, triple, and quadruple check your information. Also, it is always beneficial to have multiple prints of your resume handy for anytime necessary. Your resume is your business card until you get one of your own.

Volunteering, serving at homeless shelters, church activities, charity work, and providing hours to your community looks great on a resume and is a simple and easy way to improve it. Employers love to see that their employees are involved in some sort of outside work. Not only does it help the community and the people around you but it is also a generally good characteristic to present. Another good characteristic is not only having a successful resume but a successful appearance as well.

When it comes to dressing for success, there are some things you need to consider. How are your overall look and communication skills going to reflect you as a person? Present yourself as the person you strive to be, with confidence and purpose.

When preparing to engage in social interaction, make sure to check these don’ts off your list in order to make the best first impression. First thing, do not show an over abundance of skin (i.e. no short skirts and absolutely no strapless tops.) As cute as they may be, they aren’t for the workplace. Also, never wear dirty clothes, obviously. However, some people might think that they can re-wear that shirt one more time before washing, don’t. Clothes tend to hold an odor that you may not notice, but others will. In addition, never think that you can get away with wearing a wrinkled piece of clothing because you can’t. Lastly, always wear clothes that fit your body the way they should. Avoid clothes that are too baggy for your body type as well as the tops you should have gotten rid of before your freshman 15.

Any ideas or tips on how to improve your resume or portfolio? If so, please be sure to comment with suggestions and don’t forget to tag @Cfashionista.