Corporate Headshots: Best Practices (And What To Avoid)

Corporate Headshots: Best Practices (and What to Avoid) | CorporetteWhat are the best tips for looking good in a corporate headshot?  Should “looking good” be the goal? Reader J wonders:

I have a professional photography session coming up. Any general recommendations?

Good luck, J!  We haven’t talked about corporate headshots, or whether to wear eyeglasses in your corporate photo in a while, so let’s revisit. As I’ve said before, above all else, I think the main goal in a corporate photograph is to look FRIENDLY. Don’t try to look “smart” or interesting or (God forbid) beautiful or stylish. It’s ok if you END UP looking like smart, interesting, beautiful, or stylish, because, you know, you are, but don’t try — leave the duckface and burning, non-friendly smizes for when you’re taking pictures with friends.  As for “looking smart” — most times, your corporate headshot will be displayed next to an abbreviated form of your resume and experience.  Let people evaluate your intelligence based on those years of work, not one single photograph.  (I’d say that the model pictured here is trying to look smart.  Don’t be that model.) The purpose of the headshot is really for that two second, subconscious, gut decision: do I want to work with her?  Does she look like someone who would get me what I want, on time, with no errors?  I could say “look responsible” here instead of “friendly,” I suppose, but I think attempting to “look responsible” or “look competent” is a fool’s mission beyond combing your hair and making sure that your face and clothes are free of smudges and so forth.

For my $.02, these are some other tips: [Read more...]

Happy Administrative Professionals Week!

Gifts for Administrative Professionals | CorporetteAlthough Wednesday is officially Administrative Professionals Day, it’s been spreading into a weeklong affair for a few years now.  Readers, what are you getting your administrative professionals to celebrate?  Some past reading for you: we’ve taken polls on administrative professionals day gifts before, talked about how and what to delegate to your assistant, and swapped stories of amazing assistants (Pictured: It’s Your Day Bouquet® Thank You, available at 1-800-Flowers for $39-$49.)

For my $.02: in my BigLaw experience, this day and week paled in comparison to the year-end assistant’s gift, and a card + flowers presentation from the numerous people sharing a secretary was more than fine.  As we noted in our last poll, the vast majority of people gave less than $50.  Don’t discount the floral/balloon display as part of the gift, though — I’ve always thought that part of this holiday is about broadcasting to the world (and your higher ups) that YES, you remembered the holiday, and YES, you are capable of ordering flowers for your assistant without his or her assistance.

Readers, how much are you spending on your administrative assistant or secretary this week (cash plus gift)? What gift are you getting him or her?  In general, what kind of things do you delegate to your assistant?

 

How to Deal with Political Talk at the Office

How to Deal with Politics at the Office | CorporetteHow do you handle a lot of religious and political talk at the office — particularly if you disagree with it?  Reader S wonders:

Could you do a post about politics at the office? I am a moderate liberal, and my approach has always been to avoid discussing politics at work at all, except when necessary to serve the needs of a client (i.e., analyzing a judge’s leanings or referring a client to a PR/lobbying specialist). I now find myself in a small-ish firm (about 35 attorneys) in a conservative, evangelical region, and political conversations are very common in my office. Some of the partners with offices near mine are constantly making derisive comments about president Obama and his policies, the liberal agenda, the liberal media, etc. Sometimes the critiques venture into gender issues. I find many of the things they say to be pretty offensive. I try to avoid participating in the conversations as much as possible so they don’t ask me what I think, but I can’t help overhearing them. Do you have any advice on how to handle this situation, short of (or until) leaving the firm?

Yeouch.  We’ve talked about election politics at the office many years ago, as well as pressure from coworkers to give to charities at the office (which sometimes veers into the political realm), but we haven’t talked about either in a really long time.  (We’ve also talked about how to handle it when your coworkers are sexist pigs.)

I’m curious to hear what readers say here, but in this particular situation, this sounds like a Fit Issue.  A big time, capital letters, serious fit issue.  It sounds like you don’t agree with or respect their opinions regarding politics or religion, and you feel like your opinions wouldn’t be respected either.  Not only is it unpleasant and awkward at work, but honestly I think your career prospects are also limited, because Fit is a major reason why people get promoted (or don’t).  So: for you, it’s time to move on. [Read more...]

What to Wear for a Polygraph Test

polygraph testWhat do you wear for a polygraph test, particularly if it’s in the same building as HR?  Reader L wonders:

Help! I applied for a position that requires a polygraph. Mine is scheduled for next week and I am concerned about what to wear. It is in the same building as HR and I do not know if I will have an interview then. I would normally wear a business suit but my suits are all paired with camisoles (due to style, 3/4 sleeves, etc.) I am concerned about this because isn’t there a chest strap you are hooked up to? This is a professional position and I am thinking of wearing a blazer and dress slacks and dark cashmere shell that hopefully I will not sweat into from nerves. This is my go-to outfit I wear to work when I do not have court because it is most comfortable and still looks nice. Have you had to think about a physical comfort issue when interviewing and choosing your outfit? For what it is worth I was informed the polygraph will be 90minutes long.

Interesting question!  We’ve talked about how to stay professional at the metal detectors, and how to wear an ID badge with style, but we’ve never addressed polygraph tests for job interviews.  My gut instinct here tells me, “call and ask” (always an option, ladies!) but in case anyone in the readership has experience with this, I’ll open it up to the readers. Poking around online I did find a number of similar questions, primarily from men about to take police exams — the serious answer seemed to be “business casual,” with the less serious answers ranging from “chicken suit” to “For your polygraph wear a tuxedo. Then go naked to your psyc eval.” Ha! Ha. Ok. [Read more...]

Emails and Quitting: What to Do About Your Email When You Leave a Job

What to Do About Your Email When You Leave a Job | CorporetteWhat do you do with your company email after you quit your job?  When you go on vacation, most of you probably set up an out-of-office message to tell anyone who sends you an email that you’ll be back soon — but do you do an OOO message for when you’ve quit? Reader M is heading to a new firm and wonders what will happen to incoming messages after she’s gone:

I am an attorney and am leaving my firm next week to go to a new firm. I conduct a lot of email correspondence with not only opposing counsel(s), but clients and vendors. It is not possible for me to notify everybody I correspond with that I am leaving, but my fear is they will email me after I leave and get no response. Is there a way for me to fix this problem? Should I post an autoreply? If so, what should it say? I don’t think my firm will pull down my email address immediately.

We’ve talked about how to quit gracefully, and what to say in a maternity leave email, but we haven’t covered goodbye or “I no longer work here” messages. I’m curious what the readers say here, because I suspect this is going to vary widely by company, as well as maybe region and practice area. Some ideas: [Read more...]

What to Wear When You’re Out of Town & Working Late

What to Wear When You're Working Late | CorporetteWhat should you wear when you’re planning to work late — and you’re traveling?  Reader H is gearing up for trial and wonders what to wear in the war room after hours:

I am going to be attending a two week out of town trial with two partners at my firm. During the day we will all be in suits, but in the evenings we will likely be working late. I will want to be in comfortable clothes, which for me would constitute yoga pants, but do not think that would be appropriate with my boss. Any suggestions?

Interesting question! We’ve talked about what to wear on the weekends, what to wear for a month in court, and traveling for work, but not this question.  I was in exactly this situation a few years ago — and I’m not sure I made the right decisions.   [Read more...]