All posts by JRP

Dec 27_Blog 3

Be our (Gracious) Guest

It’s very tempting to take the host’s statement of “make yourself at home” literally, especially if you’re close friends. It’s good to remember that no matter how close you may be, there’s still etiquette that you have to adhere to as a guest.
Being a good guest starts even before you get to the host’s home:

Reply to the invitation.
Remember to reply to the invitation as PROMPTLY as you can. A simple ‘yes, I’d love to be there’ or ‘no, I’m sorry I can’t make it’ will suffice. If you cannot go, try to avoid giving a detailed explanation.

Never turn up empty-handed.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but try to get a thoughtful item you know the person will use, or consume. Remember to keep your host in mind. You don’t want to bring wine, if your host doesn’t drink alcohol.

Arrive on time.
Try to arrive within ten or fifteen minutes of the designated time on the invitation. Getting there too early may mean you’ll get in the way of party preparations, while getting there too late is just rude.
Once you arrive:

Don’t be picky.
Once the food is served, try to eat everything the host has prepared. If there are things you particularly do not like, don’t comment on it, and just try to avoid that particular food. The only reasonable time to say you will not eat what the host has prepared, is if you are allergic to this particular food.

Converse with everyone.
Don’t stay on your phone the whole time, and wait for the host to approach you, and talk. They’re probably busy making sure everyone feels comfortable, to always come and chat with you. Be confident, and mingle with the other guests, and who knows, you might leave the party with a bunch of new friends.

Enjoy yourself.
Lastly, enjoy yourself! It’s what your host wants — for her guests to mingle, and be comfortable enough to really have fun. Remember to make sure your host knows this as you leave his/her house.

Learn more at John Robert Powers.

Dec 18_Blog 2

Dress the Part

December is everybody’s busiest month. With all the social events that are happening (weddings, business meetings, office gatherings, friendly meet-ups, and holiday parties), it’s a little hard to keep up. Plus, you have to remember to dress appropriately for each one of those events, and honestly, that can be tiring. Luckily, we’ve got some tips on how to dress the part for any social gathering.

Casual Attire
This can mean anything from your favorite jeans and a t-shirt to khakis and a button up or a simple dress. Try out a number of options before deciding.Check if you’ll be indoors or outdoors today, and above all else, make sure you’re comfortable in what you are wearing.

Business Casual
This should always look neat and well put together. Women typically wear skirts or dress slacks, a blouse, and closed toe shoes while men wear dress slacks, chinos, a collared shirt, and dark shoes with dark socks. Make sure that your clothes fit you well — not too tight or oversized. Trends can come and go, but a good fit will always be in style.

Formal Business
A matched (coat and slack as of same color and fabric) business suit doesn’t have to cost a fortune to look expensive. It shouldn’t be too flashy or appear cheap. You want to be taken seriously, and look like you want to get ahead. Women can wear some solid neutral pumps and men can wear dark dress shoes to complete the look.

Semi-Formal
Satin or sparkling fabric dresses can save women in any cocktail party, dance, or any other semi-formal event. If not, invest in a trusty LBD (little black dress). Men, on the other hand, should always wear a suit at any semi-formal event

Weddings
If the invitation doesn’t state how to dress, let the time and location of the wedding be your guide. If you’re still in doubt, call the bride, or someone from the bridal party and ask. Most of the time, women can wear a nice dress, skirt, or pantsuit; while men should wear slacks, a button-front shirt, and a tie.

Complete any look with confidence, and you’re good to go! Learn more at John Robert Powers.

Dec 1_Blog 1

Ask Me Something

A tale as old as time – a client invites you to a party or social event, and you accept because it’d be rude not to. When you get there, you discover you’re surrounded by clients and other people you’re not too familiar with. You make an executive decision to just sit in a corner and wait for an acceptable time for you to take your leave.
A lot of us would rather exclude ourselves from an event rather than make small talk because small talk is difficult. It actually doesn’t have to be, and we can help with that:

1. Look for possible conversation partners.
It can be a little awkward looking for possible people to talk to during a social event, but we have three scenarios that might make it easier. Look for either (1) a fun, inviting group, (2) loners who will welcome your attempt at dialogue, and (3) familiar faces.

2. Establish common ground.
Once you’ve found a potential conversation partner, the easiest way to get the conversation going (right after “So what brings you here today?”) would be to find common ground. Asking questions about their work, their interests, or their lives will enable you to interject every now and then with your own anecdotes, and liven up the conversation.

3. Make them feel comfortable.
Ask questions that will make people feel at ease with you, when you find that common ground, or if you notice they have a particular interest, or passion for a certain topic, probe a little bit more about it! Genuine interest in another person’s interests will make them feel more comfortable in talking to you.

4. Match your questions to the environment around you.
Topics that are too sensitive may lead to heated conversation and you don’t want to end up making a scene in front of strangers. While shop talk is fine, avoid intricate details and sensitive topics (e.g. politics, religion, etc.) because you aren’t sure if everyone within earshot is trustworthy of such sensitive information.

5. Have a good attitude.
It’s easy for a conversation with someone new to get a bit dull, but don’t let it show. When asking questions, always sound interested, and not bored. You never know if the person you’re talking to could be a potential client or someone that could help you with your current clients, or a potential friend.

Small talk is difficult, but it doesn’t have to be when you have confidence. Learn more at John Robert Powers.

Nov 20_Blog 3

Handling Rejection Like a Pro

How do you add stress to the already stressful job-hunting process? Rejection letters, that’s how. While it’s true that there are some opportunities that just are not meant to be, it doesn’t mean that we don’t get disheartened when we receive one rejection letter after the other. Don’t worry! Rejection is normal in the job hunt. We’ve got some ways to help you handle these rejections positively and gracefully.

1. Don’t take it personally.
Remember, this isn’t like rejections in a romantic setting. It’s not personal. There are a number of factors that play into a recruiter’s decision like your asking salary, or how well you’ll fit into the existing team. Plus, you’re up against who knows how many people, and there’s only one job for the taking.

2. Feedback is important.
If possible, try to politely ask your interviewer for helpful feedback, so that you can prepare yourself in the future. A lot of interviewers are happy to tell you what you can improve on, and it’s also reassuring for you to understand why you didn’t get the job, instead of coming up with your own explanations.

3. Do other things.
If the fish just aren’t biting, try to do other things that make you feel good first so you don’t wallow. Binge on a series on Netflix. Read a book or go visit your grandma like you said you would last month. Distract yourself for a bit first; then come back to the hunt when you feel more refreshed! A positive outlook will be noticed by employers.

4. Take a step back.
Try to take a step back, and look at your job hunt approach the way a recruiter will. Reflect on your approach — how you talk to people on the phone, or how you craft your e-mails. Check your resume again and see if there are unnecessary things you could leave out or important things you may have missed out on.

The job hunt is never easy, but if you deal with it with confidence and poise, your dream job will come. Learn more at John Robert Powers.

Nov 17 Blog 2

Make Sure You’re On LinkedIn

LinkedIn: probably one of the most underrated websites of all time. This site could actually make or break careers, and the majority of us simply use it as a place to post our most basic profile, resume, and our graduation picture. A killer LinkedIn profile and LinkedIn etiquette is mandatory if you want to strengthen your personal branding and be noticed by top recruiters. Here are a few tips to utilize this great site:

1. Customize your URL.

When you first create a LinkedIn profile, the site generates a random combination of letters, numbers and backlashes as your URL. It’s high time to change that. Just like your Instagram and Twitter, usernames, or in this case, URLs, are important so it’s easier for people to find your profile and check you out. Customize your URL but make it a professional one!

2. Personalize invitations.
LinkedIn’s default message for sending invites is dull and impersonal. People will not always be compelled to accept when the message is manufactured. Try to be a bit more personal when sending out invites to connect. Mention where and how you met, or bring up a topic you’ve previously discussed.

3. Don’t export.
Remember, just because someone has connected with you on LinkedIn, DOES NOT give you permission to add their e-mails to your own personal database. It’s completely unethical.So, if you want to export their details to your database, ask permission first.

4. No to stranger recommendations.

While we don’t really adhere to the whole “don’t talk to strangers” rule anymore (see: Uber, Grab, and Tinder), try to practice this rule on LinkedIn. Do not ask for recommendations from strangers and do not recommend people you do not know. If they do not know you, they cannot give a proper recommendation, and if you recommend a stranger, your credibility is very much on the line if this stranger turns out to be unprofessional.

Deepen your knowledge on how to expand your network at John Robert Powers.