Job Hunting Advice

Hunting for a new job? This advice will help you along the way -- from networking to interviewing, even to changing careers.

Reader mail: Will braces hurt my interviewing chances?

Can You Interview With Braces? | CorporetteToday’s reader mail comes from a 1L, who’s just been told she needs braces…

I have recently been advised by a number of orthodontists and oral surgeons that I need full braces (including rubber bands — eek!) on both my top and bottom teeth for at least two years, followed by retainers, etc. My question is: would getting braces adversely my job prospects? I’m concerned that employers might somehow be distracted and/or put off by braces in interviews. Will they take me seriously? Have you ever come across an adult with orthodontia in your practice and, in all honesty, did it affect your perception of her and/or her performance?

Wow. This is a really difficult question, and, while we don’t have any answers, maybe our readers do.  (Pictured:  Tom Cruise, who got braces in 2002.) Our advice is: if you’re being advised by orthodontists and oral surgeons, go ahead and get the braces, because there just isn’t going to be a better time, and people will be understanding about whatever circumstances (money, dental insurance, changing teeth, whatever) that prohibited you from getting braces before this point in your life. We actually have worked with one adult who had braces — it struck us as slightly odd, but not unprofessional (and his teeth were pretty bad so it was obvious that this was a necessary thing).  The harsh truth is that yes, we noticed the braces, but we would have noticed his teeth anyway, and at least the braces showed he was being proactive about it.  Go as high end as you possibly can — upgrade to invisalign or ceramic braces (or whatever) as soon as your doctors will allow it.  Normally, we don’t advise people to go in debt for vanity’s sake, but we might break that rule here if you know you’re going to be able to pay the debt off soon.  If money is a real issue, you might want to approach someone at your law school and see if they know of an alumni who might be willing to sponsor you, or perhaps look into peer-to-peer lending like or


Otherwise, get the braces and be absolutely vigilant about keeping them clean.  Try to avoid picking up any brace-specific ticks that make noise or look odd — in other words, the kinds of things that will call attention to you if you’re sitting in a meeting listening to someone else speak.  You might also check out sources like ArchWired, a site for adults with braces.

Readers — particularly those of you who’ve had braces or other dental problems — please weigh in — we’re sure our reader would love your thoughts and advice.

Poll: When Wearing a Collared Shirt and Blazer, Does the Collar Go Out or In?

We’ve been curious about this for a while — ever since we advised that a collared shirt should always stay IN if you’re wearing a suit, and numerous readers wrote to say that they had always been advised (by various career counselors) to wear their collars out. So we thought we’d take a poll.

collars in or out madonna-in-business-suit

For our $.02 — which purely comes from observation, as we have never heard a “rule” on it — a tucked-in collar looks better with a suit. More fashionable women tend to do it (Angelina, Madonna) when wearing a suit; and it gives them a neat, sharp look. It also puts the emphasis in the desired place, as our eyes are drawn to their face, not their clavicle or shoulders. We suppose it’s possible that there are greater rules here that we’re not aware of, for example dealing with fabric (cotton goes in, silk goes out) or the type of collar or lapel. Perhaps it’s a regional rule — e.g., in DC, collars go out with suits; in Hollywood, collars go in with suits. Either way, we thought we’d start a dialog…

Readers, what say you? Please comment, particularly if you choose #3…

What to Wear When You’re Laid Off and Looking

what to wear when you've been laid offWe’ve been mulling this reader’s question for a while now… first, here’s the request:

My work wardrobe after 30 years is pretty set. However, I’m currently in recession mode, i.e. my job has been misplaced. I find that my non-work clothes are just not suitable for walking around in the supermarket, given that in my community (high tech in Silicon Valley) I might meet someone there who would hire me. So I want to upgrade what would be my weekend wardrobe (if I were working). Can you help? I have my dilemma posted here.  I hope this doesn’t take you beyond the scope of your blog, but once we get to the executive ranks, I have found that networking etc. can extend the requirements and definition of “professional style”.

We went to her website, and this is what she wore out to drinks with former coworkers: [Read more…]

10 Things: About the Art Of Saying Goodbye*

how-to-end-internship-on-great-terms*The Pat Benatar song is actually “About the Art of Letting Go,” not saying good bye, but so it goes.

As the summer dwindles for summer classes of future MBAs and JDs, we thought we’d give some advice on how to say goodbye (and hello).

While you’re still working there…

1. Give people a head’s up that your last day is approaching — do your best to set up lunch, coffee, whatever. Until you’ve accepted your offer there is still very much an air of “let’s make the summers happy,” so now would be a good time to approach that Big Wig and see if you can set something up. (Hint: If you’re trying to organize something with the CEO or Executive Partner you may want to try to get a few other summers on board — it’ll be less awkward for you and it’ll be seen as more time-efficient for the Big Wig.) [Read more…]

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