Career Advice: The final 5 tips for new graduates and experienced professionals

Erinn Dumas is a  marketing and communications professional in the Greater Washington-Metropolitan Area.

Erinn Dumas is a marketing and communications professional in the Greater Washington-Metropolitan Area.

By Erinn Dumas

Last week, I shared my overall top four tips for moving towards the career you want. This week, I’m wrapping up my Career Advice Tips with my final five tips for new graduates and experienced professionals. You’ll notice that these last five require you to invest in yourself in more ways than one.

  • Dress the part. You’ve probably always heard the saying dress for the job you want, not the job you have. This adage still rings true. Always dress professionally. Wear nice slacks, Oxford shirts, and polished shoes. People will remember your appearance so if it’s sloppy and unkempt, people will remember that and if you’re always dressed well, people will remember that too. And you’d rather be remembered for the latter.
  • Invest in professional work clothes. Looking back at some old pictures from my college internship, I wondered why my mother let me go to work like that. I wore jeans, shirts that showed a bit of my stomach, summer skirts that should’ve been worn on vacation, etc. Most of my attire was unprofessional and my mother should have told me that I needed to invest in work clothes. It’s alright to be fashionable in the office, they just have to be professional.

Make sure your wardrobe includes the basics:

– Slacks
– Oxford shirts
– Loafers
– Pencil skirts
– Low heels (2 – 3 inches max. Do not wear your 5-inch heel to work. Those belong in the club, not in the office.)
– Cardigans (if you like them)
– Dresses
– Blazers

  • Keep learning. Never stop learning, especially within your field of choice. Stay abreast of industry trends. This knowledge will come in handy with a current work project or a future one, you never know.
  • Don’t leave a job until you have another one lined up. Some people think it’s cute to get fired from jobs – well, it’s not. That is not a blemish that you want on your record. Sometimes it’s out of your control and your employer sets you up for failure, but if it’s within your control keep your job, even if you hate it. Stay there until you find something better. 
  •  Have a hobby. Having a hobby helps keep us well-rounded and some companies ask about your hobbies during interviews. Hobbies allow you to really do something that you are passionate about, and during interviews it shows a lot about your character.

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