Stop Sabotaging Yourself: 9 Important Tips to Get the Job

Today’s labor market has proven itself to be challenging in every field from skilled construction workers to administrative personnel.  Nowhere is that more evident than right here in Polk County, Florida.  Looking for a job in Bartow, Lakeland, or Winter Haven can, at times, be frustrating.  Most people know the old saying, put your best foot forward, but you might be surprised how many people just don’t understand that talent alone is not enough to join the professional workforce.

WRONG: Though the outfit is cute, this isn't an outfit that an employer would consider serious or professional enough.
Though the outfit is cute, this isn’t an outfit that an employer would consider serious or professional enough.
This outfit is much more professional. It shows that she’s serious about getting employed.

We all know in our head that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Yet, every day we subconsciously judge things on face value: whether a restaurant is good, whether a neighborhood is safe, whether a car is fast, and yes, whether a person or potential employee is intelligent and capable.

As a job-seeker (whether you’re looking to be a temp or a full-time employee), when you find yourself face to face with a hiring manager, a firm handshake and good eye contact are not the only things they will judge.  Personal style and hygiene are things that no one wants to talk about, and yet they are so important in the employment game. The following list includes some sadly overlooked points that will make a crucial difference in your hire-ability:

  1. Bathe, wear deodorant and use mouthwash; all on the same day as the interview.
  2. If you are a man, shave; if you are a woman, wear some tastefully applied makeup.
  3. Unless you are interviewing to be an exotic dancer or rap artist; don’t dress like one. Wear professional clothing; iron your clothes; wear matching socks and shoes.
  4. Dress at least one level higher than the job you are seeking.
  5. Keep your hair neat and professional style; with a human color.
  6. Cover your tattoos, no matter how proud of them you are.
  7. Speak well and speak clearly.
  8. Three words: Regular Dental Care!
  9. Do not bring your kids (parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, sister-in-law’s third cousins visiting from Polk City, or friends) with you to fill out an application or to an interview.

How you manage these simple things will tell a potential employer at least as much as your well-written résumé.  That trendy style that looks great in the nightclub can appear juvenile or sloppy, even in the business-casual workplaces common in the Bartow, Lakeland, and Winter Haven metropolitan areas.  It’s time to get real, and get the job.

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