Interview Advice

Interview advice for the professional woman, including what to wear for interview attire, from skirt suits to high heels. Please be sure to check out our Guide to Interview Suits!

Job Hopping: Yea or Nay?

Job HoppingLadies, let’s talk about job hopping: Do you view it as the only way to get ahead? Do you worry about being viewed negatively if you’ve had too many jobs in too short a time? What do you think is the minimum time to stay in one job?  

In the recent past, job hopping was universally seen as negative. It was said to make employers question your commitment and reliability, and job hunters were often advised not to include short-term positions on their resumes and to stay a certain length of time at jobs they hated to avoid tarnishing their employment history.

The GenXers and Baby Boomers among us — especially those with parents who stayed at one company for their entire careers (can you imagine that today?) — may still have a negative impression of frequent job changers. In the last few years, though, the news has been full of headlines reflecting an evolution in how short-term jobs are viewed. Articles that wonder if job hopping is “losing its negative stigma” or “losing its bad rap” and those that give tips on how to change jobs “strategically”  are just a few examples. While job hopping isn’t exactly welcomed by employers, surveys and studies have shown a change in attitudes, especially among Millennials, about switching jobs more frequently. Check out these representative stats:

[Read more…]

5 Things to Always Bring to Interviews

what to wear to office holiday party bring to interviewsWhat should you bring to interviews? We’ve rounded up stylish interview totes in the past with a few suggestions for what to pack them with, but I don’t think we’ve ever talked about our explicit list of the 5 things you cannot forget to bring…

  1. Your paper resume.  If there are any new accomplishments since you started corresponding with the company, make sure you give it to everyone with whom you interview — it’s a great excuse to bring up your new accomplishments.  Even if there is nothing new, bring it and offer it to everyone you interview; it makes you look prepared and like an open book. Keep your resume in…
  2. Folder.  If you’re handing out your resume it shouldn’t be folded or crinkled at all.
  3. & 4. A pen and notepad.  You never know what the interviewer is going to throw at you — he or she may want to rattle off a list of job duties, or projects/subjects you’ll need up to speed immediately, etc.  They may mention a great book that you don’t want to forget.  Instead of reaching for your phone — which can be misinterpreted as “time for me to check my emails/text messages/Instagram,” grab a notepad instead.  You’ll also get bonus points for looking prepared.
  1. Walkable shoes.  Especially during an interview, you never, ever want it to appear that your fashion choices limit your mobility or actions.  If you can’t keep up walking down the hallway with someone… or you need to change your shoes to walk two blocks to a restaurant for lunch with an interviewer… or you’re in such pain that you need to kick your shoes off under a conference table… you lose points with all of that. (Check out our guide to comfortable heels if you’re on the hunt for a good pair for interviews.)

Ladies, what do you always bring with you to interviews?  Would you change anything on the list?  How do you handle writing samples and other accomplishments (i.e., do you bring a brag book or the like?) 

Psst: we’ve talked in the past about how to keep your resume updated, and what to wear on interviews.  

[Read more…]

The Worst Career Advice You’ve Ever Heard

worst-career-adviceHere’s a fun question for today: what is the WORST career advice you’ve ever heard? I just saw an article about this at Inc. — about how “follow your passion” is really dumb advice — and I thought it might make an interesting topic for us over here. The worst advice I ever got was a version of the “follow your passion” advice, when a career coach once advised me to “Find something you love — like baseball! — and then go be a lawyer for baseball.” I kid you not, those were the exact words. Putting aside the wonky sentence structure, so many things struck me as wrong about this. Maybe I like baseball because I like drinking beer in the stands while talking to friends! Maybe I like the excitement of the game, or the statistical analysis of players’ performances! Maybe I like collecting baseball cards, or following the players over the course of their career as they move from one team to the next? Whereas someone who ends up loving sports law would, presumably, have a passion for contracts, intellectual property, and all the other things that go into the game and the business of sports. [Read more…]

What to Wear for Informal and Informational Interviews

informational interviewsWhat’s the best way to dress for informational/informal interviews that may or may not lead to “real” job interviews? Should you play it safe and wear a suit, or is it appropriate to dress a bit on the casual side? Reader L wonders…

I was invited to have “a conversation” with a very powerful woman at a foundation where I would love to work. For the initial conversation, I was advised to wear business casual. I felt my choices were right on — sleek understated black pants, closed-toed shoes with some skin showing, a high-end plum jacket in wool crepe, and some very interesting but not flashy jewelry. My conversational partner wore exactly the same components, but my choices were a couple steps dressier than hers.

The conversation went well, and we will continue our discussions. My question is what to wear to the next meeting. I have a summer suit I would be inclined to wear; even though it’s casual (navy/white linen tweed pants with a matching open jacket), it is more serious than anything I’ve observed at the foundation. But, I’m not sure if this meeting is the time to wear it. What if this meeting is then followed by a formal interview? I will already have worn my best choice for an interview suit.

Congratulations on starting the conversation, Reader L! These casual interviews are always nerve-wracking, whether they’re informational interviews, internal interviews, or even everyone’s favorite, the “not-an-interview interview over coffee.” Previously, we’ve talked about how to dress for a kind of “pre-interview” that might lead to a real one, what to wear for an “informal” interview, and what to wear for a networking lunch, and I think your outfit instincts sound spot on thus far. A few notes though:

[Read more…]

Negotiating a Salary (and Other Benefits)

negotiating salaryLadies, have you ever negotiated your salary or other benefits? Share your tales from the negotiating table with us — we want to hear your wins! This probably won’t be terribly relevant for all of the summer associates out there about to accept job offers, as those are usually lockstep/nonnegotiable offers — but perhaps one of you has a story about someone who actually did negotiate that offer.

Some thoughts out of the gate:

[Read more…]

Black Suits and Summer Job Interviews

interview suit - hot weatherCan you still interview in a black suit in the summertime? When you have to attend a job interview in hot weather, is there a better, lighter alternative to the standard black or blue suit? Reader D wonders…

I had a sudden job interview this week and had to wear a suit. Although they had air conditioning, it was very hot. My suit was black and it seemed too heavy. Aren’t there better alternatives to the black/blue suit when it’s over 80 degrees? Thanks!

Interesting question. We’ve talked about whether seasonless suiting is truly seasonless, as well as discussed lightweight blazers, dressing professionally for summer, and maintaining a professional look when it’s blisteringly hot — but we haven’t talked about this exact question.

I’m curious to hear what the readers say — my gut reaction here, possibly tempered by spending pretty much every summer since reaching adulthood in New York City is this: Not wear black? What’re you talkin’ about? So: with everything else, know your region (much like with colorful suits). Still, some notes:

[Read more…]