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Thursday, 11 October 2012

How to dress to impress for your interview

So you’ve graduated from university and you’re ready to take the first steps into your career. You’ve handed out numerous CVs and slowly but surely the offers start filtering through. You’re prepared for any questions they can throw at you with answers that you’ve rehearsed over and over again, but have you decided on what you’re going to wear for the interview? This may seem like the last thing on your mind but remember this - first impressions are everything. If the assessor has two candidates who performed equally as well, it could come down to the little imperfections such as what they were wearing, how well they presented themselves and their attitude towards the role. Choosing the right attire can help fix these problems so make sure you’re wearing the right outfit to secure the job.
It is important that you choose clothes that are smart but also ones that you feel comfortable in. If you feel awkward and nervous because your clothes are too tight this will come across in your interview. The more relaxed you are, the better you will be able to deliver and present yourself confidently, giving your interviewer no reason to doubt your abilities.

Interview Attire: Formal
With regards to interview attire, dark colours are best suited as they don’t reveal too much about your personality. They keep you looking formal and smart, exactly the persona you’re trying to create. For men, a dark coloured 2- piece fitted suit with a long sleeved light coloured shirt will help you create the smart look you want. The tie should match the suit and the tip should reach the top of the trouser belt. Avoid character or patterned ties; this can project an image that you’re not serious about the job! Shoes should also be dark and polished and along with the socks and belt, they should match the colour of the suit. Keep in mind if you are called back to a second interview there is no need to buy another ensemble, simply change your shirt and tie. Ladies should consider dark coloured trousers or a pencil skirt combined with a light coloured blouse. A suit-dress is also acceptable but make sure both outfits are conservative, worn with a blazer and avoid showing too much skin. Footwear should be sensible; flat shoes or shoes with a low heel are a good option. Don’t wear heels that are so high you can’t walk in them; your interviewer will deem you as unprofessional.

Interview Attire: Casual
When attending a casual style interview, men can wear chinos or smart trousers. Avoid wearing shorts because this can be seen as too informal. A polo neck shirt can be worn instead of a long sleeved shirt but make sure it is a block colour. For footwear, choose smart boat shoes or loafers though ensure they are in a good condition – fit enough for an interview! For women, day dresses and maxi-dresses are suitable when combined with a blazer. The rule of exposing too much skin still applies so make sure you have leggings or hosiery to fit with the day dress.

Don’t over accessorise!
Keep accessories to a minimum. A watch and a ring will add some character without being too showy. Visible body piercings should be removed and tattoos covered as they can distract the employer from dealing with the task in hand which is deciding whether you’re suitable for the role!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Apprenticeships - What’s the deal?

For many people leaving school and university, the number of options open to you can be overwhelming. Do you continue your studies with a Masters or PHD? Or should you go out and find a job in the big wide world of employment? Many even opt to start up their own companies in order to create a job for themselves in difficult times. For many, though, the answer might just be an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships are a unique way of furthering your academic qualifications at the same time as working and earning money. There are thousands of jobs for which the best way to progress is to learn on the job: builders, decorators, plumbers, mechanics and carpenters being just a few. An apprenticeship will allow you to begin work straight away, earning a wage whilst spending perhaps two days a week at college in order to pick up the academic skills you need to become fully qualified in your new career.

The advantages are many: you have a job, for a start! Your foot is firmly on the first rung of the employment ladder and you’re on your way in your new career. When your apprenticeship is completed, your company will most likely want to keep you on, giving you some job security as well. Going through an apprenticeship tells prospective employers that you are dedicated to the job, wanting to get into work as quickly as possible whilst also being keen to learn new academic skills.

It’s worth considering a couple of points about apprenticeships, though. You will have to spend a couple of days a week at college, which can sometimes feel like being back at school. Apprenticeships tend to last for a couple of years on average, so you should bear this in mind before applying for one. Although you do get paid for being an apprentice the pay is usually very low, reflecting the fact that you are not yet qualified in your chosen career. Post-apprenticeship salaries are usually very generous, though, so hold on tight and you will be earning good money in no time at all!

If you’re interested in finding apprenticeship vacancies, why not take a look online? There is plenty of information to be found, enabling you to sum up the advantages and disadvantages in order to make an informed decision of your own.