By Joe Stein
As we are in the midst of the August “Dog Days” of summer, it is very easy to fall into some common job search traps for this time of the year. It is very easy for even the savviest job seeker to enter into some bad habits that will serve to make a difficult job search even harder.
For the most part, the errors involve becoming too relaxed during this time of the year. It is important to maintain your focus, despite the many distractions and perhaps the more casual atmosphere of the season. Let’s examine some of the most common traps of summer and what you can do to avoid falling victim.
· Attire – This is probably the most common mistake and will therefore be the primary focus of today’s review. The fact that you are running errands or hitting the beach after the interview is no excuse for your failure to wear proper clothing. If that is the case, carry your change of clothes in the car and make a switch later (off the premises of the prospective employer). The following are some attire errors to avoid:
Shoes – Regular footwear should be worn when completing your application or appearing for an interview. Avoid the flip flops that have become so popular over the last few years. Flip-flops are bad for many reasons, ranging from the exposure of feet (many should stay covered) to the sound they make that can drive some people bonkers. For females, some versions of sandals are OK, depending on their overall appearance.
Tops - Be careful not to show too much skin when selecting your top. I do not recommend going sleeveless at any time, but if you must, make sure you have at least one inch of strap on the clothing. By wearing sleeves (even short sleeves), you may also avoid displaying a tattoo that could damage your candidacy in the eyes of the Hiring Manager. Finally, if you are going to wear a t-shirt (for non-professional positions), don’t wear one that displays any slogans, etc, for fear of offending someone.
Shorts – Shorts can be trickier compared with tops where the standard can be fairly consistent. In some non-professional settings, shorts can be acceptable as long as it is not the mesh or jersey type. Shorts should not be worn in any position beyond a non-professional/entry-level type of position (even if it is the pressed type of look).
See-Through – In the summer, clothing material tends to be a lot thinner than in the other seasons. Unless you are seeking a position in adult entertainment, clothing should not be of the see-through variety. Take a glance in the mirror prior to departing your house/apartment and make sure nothing can be seen.
· Stay Fresh – I was not sure how to exactly describe this area. The point is…make sure you look and smell fresh for the interview. I know temperatures can easily be in the 80s, but it is important that you don’t look and smell like it. So, if you were working in the yard, please make sure you shower immediately prior to visiting a prospective employer.
· Become Frustrated – A summer job search can become a bit disjointed. You will often have to navigate around summer vacations in your quest to make contact with a Recruiter or Hiring Manager. Go into the process understanding that it may take longer than it normally would to move through each step in the process. Don’t take time off from your job search as an outlet to relieve your frustration. Others may make that same mistake and therefore reduce some of the competition for you. You can use any existing downtime to increase your networking efforts in your quest for future leads.
· Stay Accessible – In the summer, you may naturally tend to be outside and away from the phone more than during the winter. Make sure you can be reached by a Recruiter or Hiring Manager in multiple different ways, whether by a landline, mobile phone, or e-mail. Even if you do leave the house check your messages often so you don’t delay receiving a very important call. Avoid taking extended time off, such as a week-long vacation that will delay your ability to meet in-person with a Recruiter or Hiring Manager.
The warm air, long days, and casual atmosphere can sometimes cause a Job Seeker to have a lapse in judgment. A savvy Job Seeker takes the same focused and professional approach to the task regardless of what the calendar may read.
As always, best of luck in your job search.