Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sweat the Small Stuff, 2

I was just reading an article on about how not to get a job. Many of the listed errors are rather obvious, but if people continue to need reminding, then perhaps we do not all understand them well enough.

Where the article emphasizes job interviews, its points pertain to many business transactions: meeting a potential new client, customer, supplier, or associate.

So, the article is about now not to make a good first impression.

Begin with inappropriate dress. Clothes still make the man or woman, and a profession appearance is the first impression you will make. Get it wrong and your prospects will instantly decline.

Of course, you know what it means to look professional. You have watched television shows where stylists transform frogs into princes and princesses, seemingly over night.

Whether the subjects have gained a new glamor or a new manliness or just a new look... they always close the show by proclaiming that they feel great about themselves and have gained a new sense of confidence.

Unfortunately, this gives us the impression that a professional appearance can be turned on and off. You get a new haircut, put on a new suit, whiten your teeth; then you can go out and strut your stuff. Your high self-esteem will be infectious.

Or it won't. If you walk around all the time in stained sweats, unshaven and unshorn, when you put on the new suit and have your hair cut,you might look like you are playing dress-up. And if you look comfortable in an outfit that feels like alien skin, you will not exude confidence. You will look fake.

It takes time to grow into a new look, a new outfit, or a new professional attitude.

If you only put it on for special occasions, do not be surprised if your relationship with the potential employer, client, or customer is limited to one special occasion.

It is not enough to make good appearance a staple of your job interviews or client need to make it a habit.

Next, mistake, guaranteed to make a bad impression: badmouthing other people. It could be your ex-boss, your colleagues, associates, or partners. Or it could include your spouse, children, and neighbors.

People do this because they believe that making someone else look bad makes them look good. It doesn't.

Or else, they may have gone to a fancy college where critical theory convinced them that finding fault is a sign of superior intelligence. It isn't.

A habit of badmouthing means that you are not a team player and that you will spend your time disrupting disrupting whatever group you find yourself in.

The last mistake, for today, is revealing too much personal information. It could be in a first interview, a first client, call, or a meeting with new associates. It could also-- God forbid!-- by on your blog.

The therapy culture might have told you that true communication involves expressing your feelings openly and honestly. The trouble is: this makes you look unprofessional. It makes you look like you are easily distracted from the task at hand.

Moral exhibitionism may be legal tender in your therapist's office, but that is because therapists have been trained to overcome their normal human tendencies to reciprocate. Anyone else will take your indiscreet disclosures as a demand to do the same.

If you picked up this character flaw in your therapist's office, make sure you leave it there. But not before asking why he or she has been encouraging you to develop bad habits.

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