How to Be a Great Employee Without Being a Drone

My dad used to tell me that if someone offered you a job you took it and you did whatever you were told! And he also walked 150 miles to school through hungry Visigoths or something like that. There’s a bit of a misconception among entry-level job hunters that to be a good employee means unquestioning obedience, head down compliance and soul sucking assimilation.  It doesn’t. What it means is the secret to long term success, career satisfaction and, ultimately, respect for your abilities. Being a good employee is good for YOU.

So how do we do this?


Top Ten Job Interview Tips (Or why it’s not a good idea to hug the hiring manager)

By  Lisa Correu and Kathryn Lorenzen, The CareerMongers.

Let’s be honest, interviewing for a new job can be a nerve-wracking and intimidating experience. You’re nervous, anxious, vulnerable and one step away from running for the door. On the other hand, if you are prepared and confident it can be a positive encounter with a potential new boss or co-worker. These tips can take some of the anxiety out of the interview process and make the experience suck a little bit less.


A few words about wardrobe

By Kathryn Lorenzen, Principal/Career Development Coach, AfterSchool Career Workshops

We’d all like to think that we’re judged on our skills and abilities rather than by our appearance. And that it’s more important that we are knowledgeable and capable than that we look good.

Well, it would be great if we got to hang on to Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny as well.

Welcome to the grown-up world of Making a Good First Impression. You’ll do well to master this now, as it will influence your career a great deal. As shocking as it is, those who meet us for the first time make up their minds about us (subliminally but powerfully) within the first few seconds. And what we wear is a big part of that impression.

Fortunately, this is not too hard to figure out, for both men and women. Even if you’re not a fashionista or you run screaming out of the room at any version of Runway or Launch My Line, there’s a method for dressing to always be perceived as a professional potential employee.

Stick with the classics. Avoid the trendy, new-this-season items. Invest in a few good pieces that can be mixed and matched, top and bottom. And of course good shoes. (Women: I said good shoes, not sexy shoes.)

So, here are your shopping lists to be prepared for interviews. (In case you needed an excuse.)

For women:

  1. Two or three button-down blouses or shirts (at least one white or solid color)
  2. Solid-color blazer or jacket (at least one)
  3. Dark-colored slacks (one or two pair)
  4. A solid-color belt
  5. Solid-color skirt, no more than 2-3 inches above the knee
  6. Low to medium-heeled shoes (no open toes; flats are also okay)
  7. Stockings (optional, but keep conservative)

For men:

  1. Two or three button-down shirts (at least one white or blue)
  2. Solid-color dress slacks (one or two pair)
  3. Solid-color blazer or jacket (at least one)
  4. Two dress ties, one conservative and one with more personality
  5. A solid-color belt
  6. Khakis or Dockers (at least one pair)
  7. Two pair of non-athletic shoes, one to go with dress slacks (loafers or tie) and one with Dockers
  8. Dark-colored socks to coordinate

Extra advice for women: The blazer or jacket is very important. It’s your signal that you take yourself seriously and are prepared for a professional environment. If you choose to wear a dress, make sure you can wear a blazer or jacket on top of it. If your outfit needs ironing, do so! Keep your blouse buttoned up near the collar and do not show any cleavage. Do not ever wear open-toed shoes or sandals to an interview. Don’t over-accessorize; follow Coco Chanel’s rule and before you walk out the door, take off the last accessory you put on. No dangly earrings or jangly bracelets. If you wear a scarf, keep it conservative. If you have a tattoo, cover it up. If you have facial jewelry, leave it at home. Wear your hair off your face and in a simple style. Avoid cologne and heavy fragrance.

Extra advice for men: As is the case for women, the blazer is your calling card in an interview. If anything needs ironing, see to it! Make sure shoes are shined. Hair should be clean and neatly trimmed, with minimal facial hair. It’s desirable to have no visible tattoos or piercings.

There’s every chance that your interview is the most dressed-up you’ll ever be on that job. But you only have one chance to make this impression, so look sharp!