This week I start a new job and I am a little nervous and a little excited at the same time. I really want to make a good first impression so I thought about some of the important things on which I should be focusing and hopefully these will help you when you need to make a great first impression in a new job or work setting.
1) BE WELL RESTED - Hopefully you have a few days off between jobs and have had a chance to relax and rejuvenate. You should be well rested and coffee'd up so you and your attitude to start something new are ready to go!
2) READ THE COMPANY HANDBOOK - Usually HR will be happy to send you an employee handbook before your start date. Why? Because this gives you the rules of the road at your new company. For example it should state operating hours of the business so you know when to show up and when is ok to leave. It should let you know the company dress code so you know whether to dress in formal business or business casual. The handbook is a good first glimpse into the "how to's" of the new company.
3) GROOM WELL - You will be meeting lots of new people the first week of work; so you should make sure nothing about your grooming stands out - negatively. Get a fresh hair cut so your bangs are not hanging in your eyes. Clean up your manicure. You will be shaking lots of hands this week! This attention to detail may not be noticed but it definitely will make sure you don't give a negative first impression. Plus, you know you will know!
4) DRESS SMARTLY - You have already read the handbook right? Well if you have not, take cues from the people you have met like HR representatives or at the very least the company website on what people wear to work. Make sure your clothes fit well and are wrinkle free. You want to ensure your shoes and bags are not scuffed or ratty. I don't think you need a whole new wardrobe. You just want to make sure that your clothes fit you well and are well pressed. Your clothes say a lot about you when making a first impression and you want to show in your attire that you care about yourself and your work product! I also recommend comfortable shoes. My go to work shoes are linked below. I have 6 pair in various colors of this brand because they worked with a tennis show manufacturer to make sure they were comfortable for all day wear. They are a little pricier than your average heel but to me they are well worth it (usually between $150-$250). I have also linked a few of my favorite work staple options (many available in regular, tall, and petite) that are easy to dress up or down. Even if your company is not business formal, I think you can afford to dress up a little your first few days or weeks on the job. Try adding a crisp blazer. It shows you take it seriously and really want to do well. Just click on the pictures below to go straight to these items.
Now go get them!
What to wear to a work networking event is hard enough to know but have you ever tried to read a room? That is real work. So I help you break down both dilemmas here.
When in doubt about what to wear to a work event outside of the office, I go with all black look and a statement bag. Why? An all black look is an easy pallet that you can easily dress up or down with statement bags or jewelry. Plus nothing shows on black if you spill a little wine or sauce on a sleeve. Also an all black look can easily go from day to night by changing a flat shoe to a heel. It's a no worry look that is always flattering.
This look is linked on the scrolling pictures below. Just click on the pictures to shop directly. Almost all Items linked are under $100 with this top as low as $16 (check measurements before ordering). I also have some great top dupes for under $30. My exact threader earrings are linked here and my exact bracelet/necklace wrap here. You can get an extra 25% off of these great genuine gemstone pieces with code POLISHEDPROFESSIONALS. You will look like a million bucks!
READ THE ROOM
Now for the really hard part. You got your look together and you get to the work event. What do you do? You don't know anyone. Who should you talk to? You want to make the most of this event and network effectively but how?
Reading the room and the non-verbal communication that people give is the way to make these next choices and make sure you get into the right conversations. Here is the polished professionals' guide for reading nonverbal cues that will help at you network like a pro.
1) Is the person facing outward/open to the action and smiling? That is a person who is giving an invitation to talk. Go network!
2) Is there a bored looking group, talking sporadically, looking at phone a lot? If you can liven up the party with them, you will be a hero. If you are not up for that, this group will be hard to break into.
3) Big smile, aggressive hand shaker, business cards at the ready? He's selling something...run. Those folks rarely want to help others - they are there to collect cards.
4) Solo person but with a smile? Offer conversation. Those situations often offer the most bang for the buck as everyone is grateful to find a group at a party.
NOTE TO SELF
Which one of these groups do you fall into at a party? You may be ruining your chances of great networking opportunities if you use the wrong non-verbal cues. Smile and maintain an open posture with shoulder down and back and don't cross your arms. Avoid corners of the room and always keep a free hand to shake others.
Do you have some other tips for your fellow polished professionals? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Here's to an eventful networking event!
Recent research shows that if you are dressed more formally, you will have an edge in business transactions. What does that mean? It means what we have known for a long time; people make most judgements based on what we see, not on what we hear. In fact 80% of people's judgments are based on such nonverbal cues.
You really want to make sure it is your ideas, work product and accomplishments that are standing out to an employer or audience, not that you look disheveled or inappropriate in the work place. In order to make sure your great ideas are really heard and your work is what stands out, how should we change the way we dress?
Take it one step up and consider:
1) Make sure your duds fit well. A tailor is your best friend. Nothing hanging,nothing wrinkled, nothing pulling, and nothing you are are constantly rearranging. For my tall girls (5'10" and taller) here and here are of my favorite places by buy suits for work that are modern, reasonably priced and have long and extra long pants , shirts and blazers! For my petite girls, my bff is 5'2" and she swears by this retailer for great, petite suits for work.
2) Ensure your pallet says power. Darker colors generally translate better in business than lighter colors. Also watch many patterns that may come off as less professional than solid colors pallets. You have seen me wear the above and below pictured suit a lot - I have it in three colors - a blue-gray, a black and a tan. And I agree the darker suits are stronger, especially if you are going for an interview. I have also linked the matching dress and matching skirt. I mix these pieces with other wardrobe staples all the time so I get a lot of wear out of them. They are classic and versatile. This is a lightweight wool - that even works in the heat of Texas - and has a little stretch to it so it always fits well. My go to under shirts is linked in sleeveless turtleneck in 4 colors and in a basic tee in 2 colors (both $120). I know these are a little pricier than a plain t-shirt but trust me, they are so worth it. They feel amazing, always fit well, never pill and never wrinkle. YES!
3) Finish strong with good accessories. Shoes should not be scuffed and purses should be appropriately "business." Structured bags usually can help with this. Jewelry should fit you like your clothes do and nothing too flashy. Be comfortable in what you put on and tasteful. For some of my favorite bags that are structured to look more like a briefcase but are still more fashion forward than that try this bag in 4 colors (similar to my quilted bag and just $60) and a chevron tote (total dupe for $2500 YSL bag and just $60). If you want an investment piece my Gucci bag is linked here. Also on one my go-to jewelry designers is Laura J. Finery. Her white beaded necklace and bracelets are shown in pics below and with code POLISHEDPROFESSIONALS you can get a great discount on any of genuine gemstone finery!
As a caveat, all of these suggestions should be tailored to your business area. If you are in a creative environment like ad design or fashion merchandising, add some flare to your patterns or accessories. Show how artistic you can be. See below how I paired a graphic tee with a suit. More ideas on this here. If you are in the legal field, consider more conservative color pallets and accessories and show them how much thought you have put into every detail!
Now go out there and grab your success!
Think you cannot get away with a graphic tee at work? I disagree. I think a graphic tee can be a fun way to express your personality and can be added to your work wardrobe staples like....
Do you need the perfect pearl necklace for work or play? Well I have found it from Pink & Rowe. The pearls look and feel amazing. Plus they have added in crystals to put a little more sparkle in this necklace. A pearl necklace is a classic staple to dress up any wardrobe. Just see the great details directly from Pink & Rowe below and all the info on their necklace and bracelet giveaway!
M.E.L. is an attorney and small business entrepreneur whose mission is to help professionals conquer the workaday world with style and poise.
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