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wear to a job interview

What to Wear to a Job Interview

What’s the best outfit to wear to a job interview? The answer will vary depending on the type of job and company you’re interviewing with.

You always want to dress to make the best impression, but the outfit you choose depends on whether you’re interviewing at a company with a formal dress code, at a casual startup, or for an informal summer job or internship.

What to Wear to a Job Interview

Dressing appropriately is important because the first judgment an interviewer makes is going to be based on how you look and what you are wearing.

If you wear a suit to an interview for a camp counselor, or a T-shirt to an interview at a bank, it’ll send the message that you don’t truly understand what’s involved in the role. Find out what to wear (and what not to wear) for interviews at every type of company.

To dress appropriately for a job interview, follow the employer’s dress code. If the job interview calls for business attire, wear a suit, a sweater and button-down shirt, or a professional-looking dress or skirt. Startup jobs may call for more casual interview attire but be sure to dress professionally. Also, choose accessories carefully to ensure that they don’t distract the interviewer. Let’s dive into this further!

Business Professional Attire

Generally, a job interview calls for you to wear professional, or business, attire. This might mean:

  • A suit jacket and slacks with a button-down shirt and tie
  • A sweater and a button-down shirt
  • A blouse and dress pants
  • A statement dress

You can also incorporate some modern style trends into your outfit. All interviewees should consider color when selecting an interview outfit and avoid wearing anything too bright or flashy that will distract the hiring manager.

The more important thing to consider when you’re dressing for a job interview is that you should look professional and polished regardless of the type of position you’re seeking. Even though your interview attire depends on the role you’re applying for, no matter what the position, you should go to the interview looking neat, tidy, and well-dressed.

Business Casual Attire

If you have a job interview in a more informal work environment, you might wear a business casual outfit. Business casual outfits are less formal than a suit, but they are also more professional and polished than, say, a T-shirt and shorts or a sundress and sandals.

Of course, make sure you know the dress code before you assume that business casual is acceptable. And if you aren’t sure, call the office and ask the administrative coordinator, or contact the person who scheduled the interview and ask them for advice!

Always dress a bit more professionally than the average employee at the company. If everyone is wearing shorts and T-shirts, for example, you might wear khakis and a polo shirt or button-down.

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laid off

Laid Off? Here Are the Next Steps

If you’ve been laid off, or if someone you care about lost their job recently, you’re not alone—and we want you to know it’s going to be okay. We’ll walk through some practical and effective ways for you to move forward, even in the face of anxiety and uncertainty.

Just because you lose your job doesn’t mean you’ll lose everything else, so don’t let fear blow this event out of proportion. You’ll have to decide to press on—and we’re here to help you take the first step.

Laid Off: What Does this Mean?

If you got laid off, it’s not because of something you did—getting laid off means your employer had to let go of team members. The harsh reality is, when the economy grinds to a halt (like we’ve seen in the past few years), companies simply can’t meet payroll—which leads to layoffs. Unfortunately, most businesses aren’t letting people go because they want to, but because they have to.

Usual Causes of Layoffs

Sometimes layoffs happen because of hard economic times or because a company goes through a major change, like being bought out. In both situations, jobs are cut. Here are some other common causes of layoffs:

  • A recession
  • There’s employee overlap
  • Downsizing
  • Restructuring
  • A company closes

No matter the cause of the layoff, you have what it takes to move forward after this setback.

Next Steps After Being Laid Off

You’re probably feeling a lot of emotions right now. That’s to be expected. Whether you’re feeling scared or angry (or both), give yourself time and space to process before you move forward. No one makes good decisions when they’re panicked, so let’s start by calming down.


Layoffs are shocking because they’re usually unexpected. Lots of leaders don’t want their team members to suffer, so they turn to layoffs as a last resort to help save the company or cut costs. But the reality is, losing your job just sucks. So, give yourself some time to pause, process and find perspective. This could be a chance to finally switch careers and start your dream job or go back to school to finish your degree.

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5 LinkedIn Tips To Set You Up For Success

LinkedIn has been around for a while now, so we won’t bore you with all the obvious optimization LinkedIn tips.

Yes, you should have a high-resolution profile image. Of course, you should write a compelling summary. Without a doubt, list all your relevant job experience. However, let’s go deeper…

Below, we outline pivotal LinkedIn tips and tricks you’ve (likely) never heard before. These tips have the potential to grow your brand, boost sales, expand your connections, and accelerate your career.

Top LinkedIn Tips To Implement

1. Bump Up Your LinkedIn Social Selling Index

Have you heard of LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index (SSI)? If the answer is “no,” don’t worry—plenty of people have no clue this tool even exists.

You can find your SSI in the LinkedIn Sales Navigator. It measures your social selling skills and execution by looking at 4 primary components:

  • Establishing your professional brand: Complete your profile. Fill out every single thing on the page. Summary, experience, education, groups, recommendations, skills—everything. Next, start regularly posting engaging posts and publishing LinkedIn articles.
  • Finding the right people: LinkedIn wants to see you using Lead Builder to find people. They also want to see you saving leads—saving leads lets them send you insights so that you can take action.
  • Engaging with insights: LinkedIn wants to see you engaging on the platform and following their recommendations. Sometimes, the platform will prompt you to update part of your profile or to publish a post. Follow these suggestions, and LinkedIn will be happy with your effort. Also, ensure you answer all your messages. Even if it’s for a job you don’t care about, at least mark the box “Not interested” to show LinkedIn that you’re active and playing a part in the community.
  • Building relationships: There’s a right way and a wrong way to go about building your connections on LinkedIn. The wrong way is to start blasting anyone and everyone with a connection request. The right way is to be thoughtful about who you connect with and to send personal messages in your connection request. LinkedIn wants to see a high acceptance rate for your connection requests, meaning most people are connecting instead of rejecting.

Each of these components is worth 25 points, so your SSI score can be as high as 100. Why does this seemingly arbitrary score matter?

Well, LinkedIn cares. Whether they admit it or not, LinkedIn is factoring this score into how well the algorithm works in your favor.

Improve your score, and LinkedIn will show your content to more people. The platform will also recommend your profile to more job recruiters and those looking to network with new individuals.

In short, if you do what LinkedIn says and boost your SSI score, you’ll do better on the platform.

2. Explore Job Transitions with Career Explorer

Another tool most users are unaware of is Career Explorer. Career Explorer helps you uncover potential career paths and real job titles based on your skills. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Select Your City: Choose where you live or work.
  2. Enter a Job: Select the job you’re interested in.
  3. Analyze Skills and Skills Overlap: Look at what skills are necessary for the job. Then, look at the skills overlap between your selected jobs to see what skills you have already and what you need to build to transition.
  4. Find Jobs and Connections on LinkedIn: Click to find current job openings for those positions, or find potential connections with those job titles on LinkedIn.

3. Engage with Every Message, Job Request, and Connection Invite

LinkedIn wants to see you engaging with the platform. If a salesperson or recruiter uses InMail credits to send you a message, LinkedIn wants to see you answer—even if the answer is “no.”

Whenever you get a job request or connection invite, answer it. If you’re not interested in the job, politely decline the request. If someone sends you a connection invite, don’t let it sit unanswered in your “My Network” tab. “Ignore” or “Accept” it.

When you engage with the community on LinkedIn, LinkedIn boosts your profile. You now get more reach, more connection exposure, and more profile visits.

Don’t believe us? Try it for yourself.

Post consistently on LinkedIn every day for a month. Finish each day at inbox zero—no unanswered invites, no unanswered messages. Watch your LinkedIn performance head up and to the right.

4. Capitalize on Your Cover Image Real Estate

Most LinkedIn users understand the value of a good profile image—it’s the first (and often only) thing people will see on the platform. Whenever you’re publishing posts, liking, or commenting, other users see your headshot.

However, the cover image is the next best piece of real estate. It’s the first thing (even before your profile image) users will see when they visit your profile page. It takes up an incredible amount of real estate at the top of your page, but many people fail to take advantage of it.

At the bare minimum, change it to something that represents you. Anything is better than the default image that screams, “I don’t care.”

If you really want to kick things up a notch, add some design and a call to action (CTA) to your image.

5. Search Like a Pro

LinkedIn’s search abilities are robust if you know how to use them. You can use quite a few modifiers to narrow down your search and find exactly what you need.

Here are a few:

  • Quotation Marks: Find an exact phrase by putting quotation marks around your words. For example, “Founder.”
  • AND: Type “AND” in all capital letters between two or more terms to search for profiles that include multiple terms. For example, “Founder” AND “Tech.”
  • OR: Type “OR” in all capital letters between two or more terms to get results from profiles with either term. For example, “Founder” OR “Entrepreneur” OR “Co-Founder.”
  • Parentheses: If you want to get really fancy, you can combine modifiers to narrow down your search. For example, Founder AND (“Tech OR SaaS”)
  • NOT: Type “NOT” in all capital letters before the terms you want to be excluded. For example, “Founder” NOT CEO.

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How To Learn To Love Networking

“I hate networking.” We’ve all heard someone in our life say this. They tell us that networking makes them feel uncomfortable and phony—even dirty. Although some people have a natural passion for it—namely, the extroverts who love and thrive on social interaction—many understandably see it as brown-nosing, exploitative, and inauthentic.

But in today’s world, networking is a necessity. A mountain of research shows that professional networks lead to more job and business opportunities, broader and deeper knowledge, improved capacity to innovate, faster advancement, and greater status and authority. Building and nurturing professional relationships also improves the quality of work and increases job satisfaction.

The Harvard Business Review studied 165 lawyers at a large North American law firm, for example, and they found that their success depended on their ability to network effectively both internally (to get themselves assigned to choice clients) and externally (to bring business into the firm). Those who regarded these activities as distasteful and avoided them had fewer billable hours than their peers.

Fortunately, their research shows that an aversion to networking can be overcome. Here are four strategies to help people change their mindset and learn to love networking.

Learning To Love Networking

  1. Focus on Learning
    Most people have a dominant motivational focus—what psychologists refer to as either a “promotion” or a “prevention” mindset. Those in the former category think primarily about the growth, advancement, and accomplishments that networking can bring them, while those in the latter see it as something they are obligated to take part in for professional reasons.

Consider a work-related social function you feel obliged to attend. You can tell yourself, “I hate these kinds of events. I’m going to have to put on a show and schmooze and pretend to like it.” Or you can tell yourself, “Who knows—it could be interesting. Sometimes when you least expect it, you have a conversation that brings up new ideas and leads to new experiences and opportunities.”

If you are an introvert, you can’t simply will yourself to be extroverted, of course. But everyone can choose which motivational focus to bring to networking. Concentrate on the positives—how it’s going to help you boost the knowledge and skills that are needed in your job—and the activity will begin to seem much more worthwhile.

  1. Identify Common Interests
    The next step in making networking more palatable is to think about how your interests and goals align with those of people you meet and how that can help you forge meaningful working relationships. Northwestern University’s Brian Uzzi calls this the shared activities principle. “Potent networks are not forged through casual interactions but through relatively high-stakes activities that connect you with diverse others,” he explains. (See “How to Build Your Network,” HBR, December 2005.) Numerous studies in social psychology have demonstrated that people establish the most collaborative and longest-lasting connections when they work together on tasks that require one another’s contributions. Indeed, research that Tiziana from HBR conducted with INSEAD’s Miguel Sousa Lobo showed that this “task interdependence” can be one of the biggest sources of positive energy in professional relationships.

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What’s The Difference Between A Letter Of Interest And A Cover Letter?

Difference Between a Letter of Interest and a Cover Letter
A letter of interest and a cover letter have much in common — they are both letters that job seekers send to employers in hopes of obtaining employment.

But there are key differences you should be aware of, such as the circumstances when one or the other is appropriate, and how exactly they should be written.

What Is a Cover Letter vs. a Letter Of Interest?
The differences between a cover letter and a letter of interest are pretty simple.

A cover letter is a one-page letter sent with a resume when applying for an open job that is publicly advertised in a help-wanted ad or some other kind of job listing.

A letter of interest is a one-page letter sent to an employer that is not advertising an open job you want — but you really want to work for that employer anyway, that’s why another name for it is an expression of interest. You’re writing to let the employer know what skill sets you have that appear to match its needs, and to inquire whether there might be any openings that match your qualifications.

How To Write A Letter Of Interest Vs. A Cover Letter
The idea behind a cover letter is pretty straightforward. It provides a personal appeal for the job, showcasing your character, offering reasonable arguments regarding your value as a professional and aims to connect with the hiring manager on a human level.

The letter of interest, however, has one additional element in its writing – a direct offer to take you on as an employee, with you as the initiator of this procedure.

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5 Ways to Find Your Dream Job

As a part of your referral network, let us know how we can help you find your dream job! Here are a few other tips that can complement our efforts to help you find your ideal career.

Ways to Identify Your Dream job:

1. Understand your job search criteria

2. Create a list of jobs that meet your criteria

3. Read the job description thoroughly

4. Customize your resume and cover letter

5. Activate your referral network

Contact Building Careers to learn how we can best help in this process.

Originally published in by Carolyn Sun.

Take a look a the full article for additional resources and links: 5 Ways to Find Your Dream Job

How to Build Rapport in the CRE Workplace

Regardless of what role you have in the CRE field, the ability to build rapport among your colleagues is crucial. Not only does it help propel your career, but it also lubricates and strengthens team connections and interaction.

However, while this is a skill that comes naturally for some, others must learn how to build these strong connections and affinity. Fortunately, with just a few simple tricks up your sleeve, virtually anyone can build rapport with fellow CRE professionals and co-workers.

What Is Rapport?

One of the cornerstone skills needed in commercial real estate is business communication. And workplace rapport is the technique of opening up more effective communication through relationships and understanding.

Sometimes referred to as a connection or spark, rapport is what makes people more likely to listen to you and give your idea a chance. In this reciprocal relationship, your colleagues better understand your point of view, are more inclined to trust and like you, and will generally feel at ease around you.

This matters so much in a workplace environment, because our own success in business is often dependent upon others. And the success of the company or organization as a whole is dependent upon our ability to collaborate and work together.

Rapport in the office makes these collaborations and interactions more effective and productive. This vital interpersonal communication and business asset allows us to more effectively exchange thoughts and ideas in many aspects of our job. Whether it’s selling, negotiating, interviewing, or any other form of interaction, our ability to build rapport and foster eager cooperation is vital in many scenarios.

Secrets to Workplace Rapport

If you want to improve your ability to build rapport, internalize these techniques. Practice them. Develop them. And then begin implementing them across your workplace interactions as you see your success in communication improve.

1. Actively Listen

Active listening is a powerful communication hack that allows you to better understand those around you so you may better relate to them. By being present in the conversation, looking people in the eye, listening to understand rather than respond, and noticing non-verbal cues, you will become a better listener. In turn, you will better understand the intent behind the words as well as the kind of person you are dealing with.

And here’s the secret: when others feel you have truly heard them, they will like you more.

2. Don’t Overlook Casual Conversation

Especially in a workplace environment, it can be tempting to overlook casual chit chat. After all, this is business. And you don’t want to waste time, yours or theirs. But casual conversation is a powerful lubricator and rapport builder.

If you are interviewing for a job and the interviewer starts with some casual small talk, this is your chance to find commonalities and better relate. If your co-worker drops by to check on a project, mention what you did over the weekend or bring up the game their favorite team just played. If not carried to extremes, these little moments of casual banter are the building blocks of strong relationships and rapport.

3. Spend Quality Time

When appropriate, schedule quality time with workplace contacts. Going to lunch or having a genuine talk in the lunch room can take your casual connections to the next level.

4. Ask Good Questions

Especially early in a relationship or at networking events, your ability to ask creative questions will help you shortcut the relationship building process. Here are some helpful questions to bring up:

  • What subject would you most like to be an expert in?
  • If someone were to say you had a superpower, what would it be?
  • What kind of books do you like reading?
  • What are some skills you learned as a child that you continue to use today?
  • What’s your personality type?
  • What’s your proudest accomplishment?

5. Be Genuine

Nothing can put a damper on a relationship like inauthenticity. If there is a hint of being fake or trying to present yourself in the best light, it will hamper your rapport. Above all, be authentic.

If you can’t find common ground that you are truly interested in, then learn more about an interest of theirs to become genuinely interested in it. Don’t pretend to be the expert, but open yourself up to learning about their passion.

This sets you up for some great questions. And you’ll both learn more about each other in the process.

Learn To Love Your Job Again

We fall in – and out – of love with our jobs all the time. Though we rarely think of it that way.

Remember the butterflies of excitement you had on your first day? You loved those weekly staff meetings, adored your training, and couldn’t wait to chat with new co-workers on coffee breaks.

It was when the honeymoon period ended that things changed. You started thinking “Really, this all over again?” when you woke up. Small irritations turned into large ones, and you started getting coffee at a different time to avoid Dave in Accounting.

Before you hand in your resignation letter, take a moment to realize that quitting isn’t your only option. It’s not possible to always love your job, but you can love the idea of working at it, and you can love different aspects of it.

How To Love Your Job Again

1. Is It Your Job Or Your Boss?

You might not want to leave your job, you may just want to leave your boss. One study found that 50 percent of employees left their job “to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point in their career.”

If you find yourself in this situation, but still really enjoy the company you work for, you may want to entertain the option of switching departments. Give yourself opportunities to work with other teams and see if it’s your manager or it’s the job you don’t like before you hand in your resignation. Small changes can make a significant impact in helping you love your job again.

2. Learn Something Different

If you have been doing the same tasks for the past 5 years, it is very possible you are simply bored and uninspired. Challenge yourself by learning something new and exciting.

Offer to help out a different department. Volunteer to take on new responsibilities. Take a course to advance your skills. Attend professional development seminars. Whatever you do, make sure it is interesting to you. It will help you look at your role in a new light. Boredom will never help you love your job, but being excited about something new will.

3. Ask For What You Want

Instead of waiting for your exit interview to mention all the things you wish you had been offered – ask for them! Your manager is probably not a mind reader, and they cannot provide you with what they didn’t know you were interested in.

Speak out about your goals and make your case for change so you can love your job again. Ask to be put in charge of a project. Talk about your dream role. If you are looking for a flexible schedule or salary increase, ask for that too. Have these conversations first instead of assuming your only option is to quit.

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Define Company Culture

Company culture is a hot topic right now. Since 2020, COVID-19 has made a BIG shift in this area for many organizations. In this blog post, we are going to define company culture, how it works, and why it’s important!

Define Company Culture

Company culture refers to the attitudes and behaviors of a company and its employees. It is evident in the way an organization’s people interact with each other, the values they hold, and the decisions they make.

Company culture encompasses a variety of elements, including work environment, company mission, leadership style, values, ethics, expectations, and goals.

How Does It Work?

A company’s culture may be expressly and deliberately cultivated, or it may simply result from the accumulation of decisions made over time. With a strong company culture, employees understand the expected outcomes and behaviors and act accordingly.

Some companies have a team-based culture that emphasizes employee participation on all levels, while other businesses have a culture where formal, traditional, or hierarchical management is valued.

When you work at a company with a traditional management style, your job responsibilities will be clearly defined, but there may not be opportunities to advance without going through a formal promotion or transfer process.

At a more casual workplace, employees often have the opportunity to take on new projects, and additional roles, as time permits.

One example of company culture can be seen at Netflix, where it is encapsulated in their philosophy of “people over process.” In its company culture document, Netflix spells out its company values: judgment, communication, curiosity, courage, passion, selflessness, innovation, inclusion, integrity, and impact. These values are expected to be upheld by employees in every action and interaction, resulting in a creative, collaborative, and successful organization.

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Top 3 Steps to Help You Identify Your Dream Career

You don’t always have to hit rock bottom to figure out your career path, but there are some things you need to learn about yourself if you want to identify your dream career.

These three steps might come immediately, or they might take years to uncover. Either way, consider them without judgment or blame for not knowing the answers, but with curiosity.

1. Identify Your Strengths

Stop everything you’re doing and take the Strengths Finder assessment today. It’s the most valuable assessment tool I’ve used. Know your strengths to the finest degree to discern what job is best for you.

According to Donald Clifton, founder of Strengths Finder, we’re the happiest when we get to use our strengths on a daily basis.

2. Who Is In Your Support System?

Another step is to identify your dream career is to think about who is in your support system. Sure, you might not have enemies in your job search, but it’s important to know who’s in your inner support circle. Sometimes, it can take a while to identify who is your ally, but pay attention to who gives you strength and who squashes your ambition.

Notice all of your conversations. Who is continually supportive? Who encourages you? Who makes you feel afraid or anxious?

Many people feel scared when you are reaching and leaping towards an edge, and they will project their own fears onto you. Don’t let them. Make a point to cut them off (kindly) or resist from talking to that person about your “big, hairy, audacious goals.”

3. Pinpoint Your Goals

Where do you want to go? It’s a big question and if you don’t have the answer now, ask yourself every day until it starts to unfold. Take out a big huge notebook (the kind you’d buy a kindergartener) and colored sharpies and let your creativity flow.

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