To our recent high school and college graduates, sorry your senior years got cut short, and some of you missed out on prom and a traditional graduation ceremony. It stinks. It really does.
As you have probably already figured out though, life isn’t fair. Bad things happen outside of your control. You just have to learn to deal with it, and move on.
The bad news is that I can’t help you with any of that. The good news is that I can offer you some real world advise for the next chapters of your lives, which for many of you will include landing that first job or internship that will hopefully put you on the path towards a productive and prosperous career.
This may include some stuff that no one has seemingly bothered to tell you based upon some things I have seen over the years. Be forewarned, it is also going to include some things that some of you probably don’t want to hear.
Your attire matters.
First off when you go to a business to drop off a resume or fill out a job application, be polite and respectful to the secretary or receptionist that you are dealing with. Otherwise, that resume or application may be hitting the trash the second you walk out the door, or might otherwise get “misplaced” for a few weeks until said job opening is filled.
Second, don’t show up for a job interview wearing a pair of blue jeans with holes in them and an old T-shirt you bought at a concert. You probably shouldn’t show up to drop off your resume looking like you just rolled out of bed either. News flash – people at businesses pay attention to such things.
The basic assumption of those in charge at most businesses and most of those who just work there is this. We presume you are going look your best and be dressed your best at your job interview, and that your appearance and your attire will go downhill from there.
For the job interview, don’t wear your blue jeans. Yes, this includes the “good ones” without the holes. If nothing else, buy a pair of khaki or black dress pants. Get a shirt with a collar. Iron out the wrinkles, or get some wrinkle releaser spray and treat both the shirt and pants the night before your interview.
Let’s talk appearance.
Not only does your attire count in the real world, but so does your appearance.
Gentlemen, facial hair is fine, but keep it trimmed and presentable.
Yes, your orange, pink and purple hair color may represent your individuality and is your own form of expression.
For a student, this is fine. For a professional, not so much.
People judge you based on your appearance. Is that fair? Probably not, but it’s a reality.
You’re going to have a hard time being taken seriously with hair that makes you look more like a Muppet than a working professional. You will also likely find yourself having a hard time advancing professionally with such an appearance.
Remember that low paying summer internship you have is often an audition for a future job.
Yes, your supervisor and co-workers are paying attention to whether you show up on time, your attire, your attitude, your work ethic and how often you sneak off early from work.
At the News Journal, we have had great interns that we have raved about. We had one in particular, who we extended a fulltime job offer to on two different occasions because we were so impressed with that person.
We have had others, who we would have hired if they were looking for a job when we had an opening.
We have had a few lousy interns, who we couldn’t wait to leave too. We would have to be extremely hard up to even consider hiring them again.
You want to impress the boss during your internship?
An attorney friend of mine told me a story about interning one summer, and living in an apartment right next door to the office. He wanted to impress the boss, who was an early riser. He set his alarm clock early, and made it a point of being there when the boss got to work each morning with the coffee already made.