Interview Guide

Dressing the Part: Interview Attire

Back by popular demand are the three most viewed articles from our original blog.

OVERVIEW

Despite changing fashion trends and informal workspaces that are popularly sought out by today's young professionals, we've spoken with several coaches, stylists and Hiring Managers across North America and in many European countries and the verdict is out: Administrators still prefer prospective employees to come to their interviews in tasteful traditional business attire with a confident attitude and good knowledge about their company and what you can bring to their community.

The basic Aristotelian concept of Ethos, Logos, Pathos applies here: Know what you want and who you are dealing with and appeal to your audience by looking and acting the part.

The goal at an interview or networking event is to make a connection based on a positive first impression. When meeting someone for the first time, it's so important to make a positive first impression that will get you the job or connection you want. While it's nice to let your personality shine through in an interview, however, Hiring Managers expect you to do this by using your words, positive body language, and tidy, organized appearance. While a slightly decorative tie or scarf might be a nice touch, donning gaudy oversized accessories, tops/bottoms with "ambitious" hemlines and blindingly bright colors or patterns are reportedly major turnoffs to most Hiring Managers. It's important to dress for the job and respect you want, not for a pop rock video. (Blog Post Link: Dress for the life you choose.)

THE "GOLDEN MEAN" OF INTERVIEW ATTIRE

Some jobs do require slightly different attire than others, so it's always best to research a new prospective workplace to get a sense of the office culture.

In 2020, with the rapid expansion of the startup culture, some business circles have embraced a more casual style. We do take this into consideration and recommend that you research a company very well before your interview to get a sense of whether it's a formal or casual work atmosphere. However even at places like Google, we recommend sticking with business casual attire for an interview. In general, it's best to err on the side of a more conservative look if you're heading to a prospective employer for the first time, especially if you're applying for an executive position.

If your style is not particularly conservative, follow Aristotle's outline for the Golden Mean by finding a good median between the extreme liberal and conservative.

STILL STUMPED? GET A CONSULT

Our strategic partners at Styled Sharp provide consultation services for men

Our private consultant Anne-Marie Antoinette Designs provides consultation services for women. 

For details on the colors and styles that are generally appropriate for an executive job interview, click on the articles below. 

Pro-Tips: How to Ace an Interview

Additional resources are available! resources

Preparing Resumes that Suit Your Needs

We've prepared a few helpful templates and explanations to get you started.

OVERVIEW

What is the difference between a resume, a CV and an Executive Bio/Summary?

  • A Resume is usually a focused 1-page summary of your professional and academic accomplishments.

  • Generally, A CV (Curriculum Vitae) is a comprehensive list of professional, academic and philanthropic work designed for those who are pursuing an advance program or position (usually in a university).

  • A CV is a great tool for everyone to keep -- one major CV listing all your work from your first job to your current job just so that you have a reminder about your own personal journey to reference when asked. It also helps you update and tailor your resumes more easily as much as is needed throughout your career.

  • An Executive Summary is a summary provided for an online profile and does not require any great detail, both for the sake of brevity and also for the privacy of the person being described. (It is meant to be similar to a minimalistic LinkedIn profile.

How do I know which resume template to use?

Assess your needs and goals, research the school or company to which you're planning to apply, and follow the Ethos-Logos-Pathos approach to determine which is appropriate for you to share with a prospective employer. 

RESUME TEMPLATES

DYI RESUME TIPS

  • STRUCTURE: Stick with a uniform structure to draw the eye naturally from start to finish.

  • SYMBOLS & FONTS: Avoid fancy symbols and fonts that are hard to read. 

  • HEADING FORMAT: Highlight the important headings in a color that draws the eyes but is not too bold. If the main font is 12pt then all headings should be 13-14. Blue or Green are good, optimistic colors to use and are the only things that should be bold on your page to help direct the eye.

  • MONTHS & YEARS: Always list the month and years for HR purposes. Be prepared for people to ask or verify your listed start and end date.

  • STANDARD HEADINGS: Standard headings include... 

    • Name: At the very top of the page...

      • Write your name, bold, centered, and no bigger than the biggest heading size you plan to use (13-14).

      • Have a long, complicated name? (Me too.) Just list First Name, Middle Initial, Last Name.

      • Don't write out the full name or nicknames, bracketed names, etc.

    • Contact Information: Include your address, best phone number and professional email.

    • Objective: Prepare a short one-line GOAL.

      • Do not go on and on with a personal summary about your character, being a team player, etc.

      • No one in HR or Admissions has time for non-essential blurbs.

      • Be kind to your reader, understand their time is finite and stick to the point!

    • "Experience" vs. "Related Experience"

      • This only applies to paid experience.

      • Use “Related Experience” for very shortened resumes.

      • List only jobs pertaining to the industry to which you are applying.

      • Anything beyond the past 10 years should be saved for the interview unless it is extremely relevant to the current job.

    • "Education vs. "Education & Certification"

      • Education comes BEFORE "EXPERIENCE" for new college graduates but goes TOWARDS THE END of the resume (near "SKILLS") for those with a great deal of work experience. 

      • Do not add your GPA unless it is specifically requested.

      • This space is for an honor like Summa/Magna/Cum Laude.

      • All other honors (dean's list, scholarships, etc.) can be listed in "Honors & Awards."

      • Use “Education  & Certification” if you only have a high school degree.

      • If you have a college degree or higher, only include high school information if you're working specifically with your old high school as a mentor. DO NOT include it in standard resumes presented for jobs.

    • "Skills" vs. "Related Skills"

      • Keep the list formatted in short bulleted sections with specific titles separated by simple commas. It should not be in sentence format.

      • DON'T write a narrative paragraph about personal characteristics or unrelated hobbies.

      • "Related Skills" is used for individuals who have various levels of training but are providing a shortened list relevant to a particular job type.

    • "Philanthropy" or "Related Philanthropy" are typically in CVs but can be included in resumes if...​​

    1. there is space;

    2. the information is relevant to the job;

    3. it was within the past 10 years.

    • Publications & Presentations: These are specific to academic CVs are are not necessarily found in resumes.

    • Grants & Research: These are specific to academic CVs are are not necessarily found in resumes

    • Honors & Awards: These can be included in resumes if...

  1. there is space;

  2. the information is relevant to the job;

  3. it was within the past 10 years.

NOTE: If you have a college degree or higher, only include high school information if you're working specifically with your old high school as a mentor. DO NOT include it in standard resumes presented for work.

  • Always conclude with "References & Additional Information are available upon request."

  • ADDING HEADERS & FOOTERS:

    • Double click the top of your page to create a header and footer for your resume/CV.

    • The standard first page HEADER is just your name, address, phone and email. (There's a special header for multi-page CVs, near the page number; this way, no matter WHERE the reader stops, your information is available.)

    • The FOOTER on a resume is optional and can simply be the last day that you updated your resume (which is helpful).

WHAT TO EXCLUDE FROM YOUR RESUME:

  1. ANY personal pronouns

  2. ANY personal details

  3. ANY inaccuracies about your training/experience 

  4. ANY past, present or future salary details

  5. a long monologue about your life journey

  6. a diatribe about your former employer or coworkers

  7. gaps you can't explain

WHAT IS A COVER LETTER?

This is simply a short space to

  • Offer a polite greeting, indicate your interest in the job

  • Use keywords from the job description that you were not able to comfortably apply in your resume

  • Invite the reader to schedule a time to meet

  • THANK the reader for his/her considerate attention to your application.

WHAT TO EXCLUDE FROM YOUR COVER LETTER

  • ANY personal details

  • ANY meandering monologue about your life journey

  • ANY type of diatribe about anything in your past, present or future

  • ANY past, present or anticipated salary details 

STAYING SAFE WHILE JOB HUNTING

Make sure you are only submitting your resume to safe, secure job sites and not to questionable sources. (More on this in a separate article/video.)

STILL STUMPED? PICK A TEMPLATE OR GET A CONSULT

Our team provides expert reviews and consultation services for resumes and cover letters.

STAYING SAFE WHILE JOB HUNTING

(revised 2020 edition coming soon!)

Make sure you are only submitting your resume to safe, secure job sites and not to questionable sources.

We've given talks and prepared informational brochures on this topic in previous years. We will be posting the material shortly and are reviewing the possibility of converting the material to a video format.

Material will include critical information about

  • Red Flags that a job or employer is not legit;

  • Red Flags that a work environment may be toxic and unproductive;

  • Common interview protocols during COVID;

  • Your rights during an interview.

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