No matter how old you get or how far you are in your career, interviews are an unavoidable part of life. Here are 7 tips to help you minimize your stress on the big day:
- Figure out where you’re going and how long it takes you-This is especially important if you’re going somewhere you haven’t been before or if the venue is situated somewhere out of the way. Take a drive to the interview venue and monitor how long it takes you. It’ll save you from being late on the day of the interview. And if the “did you have trouble finding this place?” pops up in conversation, you can show that you know how to plan ahead. I did this for one of my earlier interviews and while I did not remain in that position, this was something that impressed the hiring manager (who tracked me down a few months later for another job).
- Research the business and if possible the interviewers- check out the company’s website and social media pages to get an idea of their work as well as their values. This helps you to learn more about them as well as see if you fit in with their company culture. If you know who is your interviewer, try to find out more about them too. LinkedIn is great for finding who knows who but you can also try social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Maybe you and your interviewer went to the same university or have similar interests which you can use as a talking point during the interview. However I do recommend confessing to cyber stalking. Remember you are trying to build a connection, not get a restraining order.
- Make sure to get a good night’s sleep- Ensure you’re well rested before an interview. If necessary do something the night before to ease your stress such as a workout or meditation. I have a bedtime ritual of tea, face mask and then colouring that always calms me before an interview.
- Revise your resume and cover letter- Go over your cover letter and resume, paying special attention to what projects or job roles may help you in this interview. Have you demonstrated teamwork? Excellent leadership skills? Figure out how you can tie your past and present experience into this job role. This is also a great time to practice your elevator pitch.
- Pick out a professional outfit- be sure to pick out an outfit that looks professional but is also comfortable. The last thing you want is to be tugging and adjusting your clothes throughout the interview. It’s uncomfortable for you and distracting for the interviewer.
- Promote yourself to yourself- An important part of an interview is to project confidence. Remind yourself of all of your amazing accomplishments both in and out of work. Keep a list of everything you’ve done that you’re proud of. You want to project confidence in your interview so it’s important that you remind yourself why you’re so great.
- Prepare questions and your answers- Do your research and prepare answers to some common interview questions. I like to look for general interview questions and as well as questions specific to the field that you’re applying for a job in. Be sure to also make a list of any questions you might have (and make sure they show your sincere interest in the position).
Interviews may be nerve-wracking but with enough practice, you can train yourself to be calmer as well as more prepared.
I discovered “The Bold Type” during a tough time in my life. I had just screwed up an interview for a job that I knew would have been perfect for me and I was in desperate need of a pity party. Now, a year and three seasons later, “The Bold Type” is still a source of constant comfort for me. Whether it is personal or professional, there are tons of great life lessons I picked up from the show.
- Stand up for what you believe in– Kat is one of the most outspoken females I have ever seen and does not shy away from confrontation. She is always comfortable expressing herself and her beliefs no matter what.
2. Failure is a thing. It happens. Move on– As a perfectionist, this really hit home. In life, people fail. It is just a part of life. Onwards and upwards. Just because you failed at something doesn’t mean you can’t try again or there’s something else out there for you.
3. Find Yourself a Mentor– Watching the amazing Jacqueline Carlyle motivate and support the girls of “The Bold Type” has really made me appreciate the great female leaders in my life. I specify “great” and “female” because I have only just realized both how rare and amazing they are. Find yourself a kickass mentor who will help you to be your best self.
4. The Importance of a Support Group– Kat, Sutton and Jane support each other through everything (the girls even accompany Jane to a mammogram which is both over the top and against the rules). Get yourself friends that are there for you no matter what. Everything is a million times better with a great support group. Take it from me. 2019 would have been hell if it wasn’t for my girls.
5. Do it if it scares you– My former manager is always saying that “nothing grows in comfort zones” and this is something I believe in 110%. If something scares you, you should seize the opportunity and do it. There is so much that you could learn and so much growth that you can experience.
6. It’s Okay to Be Undecided About Your Career– Over the course of 4 seasons, Sutton has gone from personal assistant to fashion assistant to aspiring designer to stylist. She admits that she is undecided but is also willing to try out new opportunities to see what suits her. As the girl who decided on her career path at 12 years old, I love this!
7. You have to start at the bottom– From season 1, I loved that the girls knew where they wanted to be and they were on the way there. However the flashback episode in season 3 showed us that Jane started as an intern, Sutton was a temp and Kat worked for someone who had no clue how to make hits on social media. I loved taking this look back and seeing where the girls started. This was a great reminder that everyone- even in glamorous TV shows- starts at the bottom.
Do you watch “The Bold Type?” What is the biggest lesson that you have learnt? Let me know below.
I detest cover letters. Is there anything more difficult to write? Thankfully, cover letters are one of those things that get easier to do with time. Below, I’ve listed a short guide to what your cover letter should look like.
Address to who you’re writing
(it’s always a good idea to know who’s going to be receiving your application and then addressing them here. It shows that you have done your research on the business).
Paragraph 1: Introduce yourself. State your name, where you go to school and what you’re studying. State why you’re applying. Make sure you catch the readers attention so that he or she is eager to continue reading.
Paragraph 2: Highlight anything important you think they need to know. For example, have you have previous experience in this field?
Do you have a skill that makes you excellent for the job? EVERYTHING is important. Jobs teach you skills that can be used in any field.
Paragraph 3: Make it clear that you will be an asset to them. Whether it’s because you thrive on pressure and deadlines or because you have amazing qualifications, show the company that they should want to hire you.
I look forward to your response
Enter full name here
No matter if it is your dream job or not, not every day at work is going to be perfect. Some days are just awful and there is nothing to do but get through it. Here are five tips to deal with a bad day at work:
1) Keep it to yourself
Just because you’re having a crappy day doesn’t give you the right to take it out on anybody else. Keep your mood to yourself and if it helps to isolate yourself from others, then do it. I keep to myself whenever I’m in a mood and I’ve worked in the same company long enough that I’m left alone whenever I need that space.
2) Take a walk
Sometimes just getting out and having some fresh air and sunlight is exactly what you need. If it is possibly for you to go take a walk outside, DO IT. I remember once having a day so horrible that I was close to crying. I took a walk to the nearby garage during my break and returned to work feeling a million times better.
3) Share your concerns with a friend
Sometimes opening up to a friend as to why you’re feeling the way you are, can help you feel better. Just be careful not to be disrespectful about co-workers, management or the company.
4) Do something to cheer yourself up
Go shopping, eat your favourite meal, listen to upbeat music. Do something that you know will make you feel better immediately.
5) Stay away from social media
I don’t know about you but I feel like social media is the one place I can feel free to just be myself. Which is why I avoid it when I know I’m upset or angry. Don’t let your single bad day at work be broadcast to your 500+ friends and followers.
What do you do when you’re having a bad day at work? Let me know below.
I’m writing this at 7PM on a Saturday. I worked today and I am totally and utterly exhausted. I was watching a video on Youtube where one of the lifetstyle vloggers spoke about her internship experience. She mentioned not enjoying the office environment and found it crazy that she had to wake up at 7:30 each morning (I wake up at 5:30. I’m very jealous). I feel like there’s a huge difference between the college life and the working world. Most of the time, graduates are not prepared. So here are some of the things I think college graduates need to know about their first job.
- This may not be the job for you- Guys, this is SO SO SO important. Sometimes your first job may not be for you. I had a friend join a company where she was utterly miserable and could not hide it. She would do the bare minimum of work to get by simply because it was not what she wanted to do. Not every job is for every person and I don’t think lots for people realise that.
- You may not have your dream job- Similarly your first job may not be the job you wanted. I spent four months looking for jobs in Media and Publishing before giving it and taking the first job I got. Was it in the field I wanted? No. Did I learn from it? HELL YES!
- There will be a transition period for you- Adjusting from the world of skipping classes just coz you could to a workplace where you need to be in is a HUGE adjustment. I’ve been working for ten months and it still makes me sad that I can’t just skip work on Fridays and stay in bed. Damn you, Uni for spoiling me.
- It is not always pretty or fair- Such is life. Guys, I can’t even tell you how many times I have been left gaping at the sheer unfairness of life especially in the working world. There’s lying, back-stabbing, betrayal. Think about a Housewives reality show and you have a good idea. WATCH YOUR BACK!
- You probably won’t have the salary you want- Starting salaries are incredibly low. I also feel like Durban salaries are especially pathetic. Please can someone explain to me how to survive on R2000-R3000. Have you heard of a little expensive thing called petrol?
- Your degree probably won’t count for much- It is very rare to find a job in your field especially if, like me, you studied something in Humanities (also, can I please point out that Humanities is the biggest college in my university and yet they do nothing for the students to find a job? Yes, I am still pissed about that. You’ll soon see why). At the beginning of your job hunt, your degree might not make much of a difference in your career. I had a friend (non-Humanities of course) who worked for three years after university before he finally got a job in his field. I was equally parts impressed and jealous.
- It’s not what you know- Following from the above point, it’s more about who you know that what you know. The wonderful job where I learnt so much? My aunt recommended me for the position. While I am grateful to her, it annoys me that my degree was so useless. Why did I waste three years studying when I could have just had someone recommend me for a job. That being said, NETWORK! It is a great way to make connections and you never know where your next opportunity will come from.
Job-hunting is difficult. It is even more difficult when you’re unemployed and have nothing to distract you from job-hunting. Here are five productive things to do while you’re looking for a job.
1) Volunteer somewhere- This shows that you haven’t just spent your time as a job-seeker at home. You made a meaningful change. Also, staying at home can get depressing so volunteering lets you make a positive change to someone which in turn makes you feel better. It also looks great when you can show that you did something productive without needing to get compensated in any way.
2) Learn a new skill- There are so many amazing online classes out there. I found some on Criminology and Management only to be distracted by the free Microsoft tutorials offered on the Microsoft Office website. (Fun fact- after I finished the Microsoft Excel tutorials I actually ended up getting a job that used Excel regularly).
3) Take time to perfect your resume and cover letter- A great thing about not having a job is that you have lots of time. Spend some of that time on tailoring your resume and cover letter for each position. This will maximize the impact of your application as well.
4) Network to get a job- Talk to people you know to see if they know anyone who is hiring. This was one of the best ways that I could get my CV out there and I definitely recommend it to others. You never know who knows who and where you could land up.
5) Take unpaid work or an internship – While working for no pay is not something most people want to do, sometimes the experience and lessons learnt are invaluable. You could learn skills that could be put to use in another field.
These tips are sure to help you be super-productive and ready to kick butt at your next interview.
Remember back when you knew nothing about anyone and had to actually interact with a person to find out more about them? Yeah, I don’t remember so far back either. In today’s age of social media, you can find out much about a person by simply stalking them online. But while this is great for when it comes to checking out your crush, this technique can backfire when it comes to jobs. Employers can reject your simply because of the image you project on social media. Here are five tips to help you clean up your social media presence:
1) Rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t want your gran to see it, don’t put it up. This rule works great for me since I do actually have my grandmother on Facebook. This rule has served me well in social media…mainly because as a teen, I was always getting in trouble for posting something or the other that people deemed offensive.
2) Set your profiles on private: I think this is a great rule since you have some sort of control over who views your profile. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all have settings that protect your privacy. However if you work in a field like social media or marketing, doing this may be like shooting yourself in the foot. My Facebook can only be viewed by friends while my Twitter and Instagram are open to the world since I use those accounts for blogging.
3) Google yourself: Googling a person online is the fastest way to learn more about them. Google your name and see what comes up. If there’s anything that could be considered as rude, unprofessional or portrays an image that you don’t want, get rid of it.
4) Delete past posts: Delete posts that are rude, mean or just have a negative air about them. Untag yourself from pictures of alcohol, drugs, that picture of you in the bikini, etc. You don’t want to be seen as a party girl by potential employers (even if that is who you are).
5) Ask a third party to double-check: Get someone you trust to do a Google search on you and evaluate the results as well as checking your social media. Having someone else look through your stuff lets you see how others may view your online presence.
While the popularity of social media has killed the concept of privacy, using the tips above can help you use this lack of privacy to your advantage.
It was a Friday and we were having a social at work. I had dressed up in a gorgeous leopard-print dress with matching leopard-print pumps and leggings. Everything was going great until the sole of my shoe broke. I had back-up shoes in the car but I was still horrified. How did I- the girl who was prepared for pretty much everything- not have a way of fixing my shoe? Things like this happen and you never know what you need to carry with you until you don’t have that item on you. So here are my handbag essentials for work:
- Wallet (with cash in it)- I never go anywhere without my wallet mainly because my wallet contains my driver’s license. However, I have, on occasion, gone out with an empty wallet. Apparently not all the stores take cards (but they really should).
- Pen and notebook- You never know when you will need a pen or piece of paper. Especially in the workplace. Don’t be that person that has to borrow from someone else.
- Glue- So you don’t have any shoe issues like I did.
- Safety pins- To help protect you from any other wardrobe mishaps.
- Pain tablets- I always carry pain tablets because I always seem to have a tension headache. It is also helpful if a co-worker has a headache and you have Panado in your bag (I say Panado because I have yet to hear of any harmful side effects. Please don’t share any tablets that may have side effects).
- Toiletries- As a female, it is always a good idea to have toiletries in your bag if you or a co-worker may need them.
- Tissues/Wet wipes- I just found wet wipes in a store recently and I absolutely love them. I carry both wet wipes and tissues with me. The wet wipes are for when I need to wipe my keyboard or desk and the tissues are for soaking up spills.
What are your handbag essentials for work? Do you have any suggestions that I must have missed out? Let me know below!
Job interviews are absolutely nerve-wracking. But while there is no way to escape them, you can help make things easier by following these five simple tips:
- Check out the location of your interview the day before- My first job interview was at a place that was really difficult to find. However I made my dad take me to the venue the day before so I would know how to get there and how long the drive would take. When I went in for the interview, the manager was super-impressed that I found the place without any trouble and that I was early. Especially when I explained to him that I had visited the location the day before so that I wouldn’t get lost.
- Print out multiple copies of your CV/Resume- Print out atleast five copies of your relevant documentation in case your interview is conducted by more than one person. I did this just because I read this advice somewhere online. I never thought I would actually need it until I went for an interview that was conducted by two managers. They each had a copy of my CV and the receptionist took one for their records. It’s better to have extras just in case.
- Leave home early- You certainly don’t want to be late for an interview. It reflects very poorly on you no matter what the circumstances were. Make sure you leave home early enough to get to the interview on time.
- Learn everything you can about the company and the position that you’re applying- I always like to distract myself during interviews by making friends with the other interviewees. I met a girl once who had no idea what the position we were applying for was (it was debt collecting) and when this was revealed in the interview, she was sent home.
- Ensure that your outfit is professional- Dressing professionally shows that you are serious about the job. First impressions matter and when it comes to an interview, it might be the only impression that you make.
What are your tips for handling job interviews? I’d love to know below.
I posted this before but I’m sharing again for anyone who needs cover letter help for the new year.
1) Personalize your letter for each application- even if you’re applying for the same position at different companies, it is important that your cover letter is tailored for each company. For example, your application for a fashion magazine and a newspaper should each mention what you could bring to the specific company and position.
2) Try to stand out- Standard introductions are boring. Remember that the person reading your letter goes through several other cover letters as well. Try to stand out in your letter to get their attention. For example, instead of starting with “my name is x and I am applying for y”, start with something out of the box like a quote or motto that you believe in.
3) Do not write an essay- a cover letter that is succinct is more successful that a three – page – essay. Ideally a cover letter should say who you are, what you can bring to the table and briefly list your experience or qualifications for the job.
4) Show what you can bring to the job- I’ve stated this before. This is just to emphasis it. The company has hundreds of applicants. Obviously everyone wants the job. Obviously they have something to offer. But what do you have? Stellar social media skills? Writing experience? Show that you stand out from others with your unique skills.
5) Stick to the format- a cover letter is just that a letter. So stick to the usual format of a letter. Don’t know the format? Google it! And remember to ensure that you have no typos. Nothing spells unprofessional easier than a badly-formatted, typo – riddled cover letter.