Nailing that Virtual Interview

Nailing that Virtual Interview

If it has been awhile since you have interviewed for a job you might be surprised at the hiring process that is used now.  To save everyone time, keep traffic down and to test your tech savviness, hiring has gone online. Your chance to shine in person has been replaced by a chance to shine (and possibly be recorded) in the vast virtual world.

What can you do to show up and shine forth your best side? Just four things are needed Prepare, be on time, nail the technology and practice.

  1. Preparation – Prepare for an online interview just like you would an in person interview.
    • Make sure you know where you are meeting and how you are going to get there even though it is in the virtual world. Keep any meeting id’s or passwords  handy and make sure your computer or phone are charged so you won’t run out of power at an inopportune time.
    • Dress the part. Research the company’s dress code and dress up one level. Yes. I recommend dressing top and bottom and putting on shoes. Then you will feel like you are doing business and not chatting with your mom (although there is some benefit to feeling as relaxed and comfortable as if you are chatting with your mom). Wear a flattering color near your face that gets the message you want to share across. (blue is typically seen as a trustworthy reliable color while purple is seen as more creative and or more juvenile) Showing up ready to shine shows respect for yourself and the interviewer
    • Have your notes and any questions you want to ask placed nearby for easy access. Have a paper and pen for note taking.
    • Figure out where you will have the interview. This will have to be a place that is quiet, free from distractions and with good internet.
    • Prepare your background. What is behind you should look organized and clean. An online interview lets the interviewer literally see into your home if you let them. A blank wall or one with some neutral photographs of nature or landscapes is the best. A pile of boxes and disorganized papers or dirty dishes is not. Some technologies will allow you to set up your own neutral background like a wallpaper behind you. This can be a good choice if it is hard to find neutrality in your home.
  1. Be on time – Give yourself 10 or 15 minutes to get set up and be ready to go online a few minutes ahead of the scheduled time. Close out all distracting windows on your computer or phone and turn off audio or visual notifications that might distract you. Don’t eat or drink during the interview and move any food or drink away from your interview space.
  2. Nail the technology – Explore the platform the interviewer will be using and download any needed software ahead of time. Test it out. Make sure your phone or computer camera, microphone and speaker can be accessed by the platform.
  3. In addition to the usual preparing for possible interview questions, practice interviewing on a video. It can be disconcerting to look at yourself while you are interviewing and using the camera and microphone to record yourself and play around ahead of time can be helpful to get comfortable. Find someone to practice with to see how you sound and look. Have them look closely at how you present yourself as well as evaluate your background and surroundings. Know where the camera is and practice looking at it to make eye contact with your interviewer. Play around with the best placement of your computer or phone for a flattering angle. Sit up straight.  Practice smiling and being enthusiastic.  Practice appearing relaxed and confident as well.

This extra time you take preparing for your first online interview will help you feel like a pro at online even if it’s your first time. Good luck. I wish you the best with your job search.

I now offer online interview personal image sessions to help you nail the interview and show your best stuff.

Style words for the day = nap

Style words for the day = nap

How are you owning your 9 while you stay at home? Have you put any thought into how you feel when you get dressed for another day (probably at home)? Now is the perfect time to play around with what you put on for the day to see if it changes the way you feel.

Today was grocery day so I wore what I wore yesterday knowing it was going to have to go into the wash as soon as I got back into the safe zone so I am actually on my second outfit for the day. And it is pretty obvious the words I was looking for for the rest of the day were comfort, slouch and warmth.  This outfit is sort of a danger zone however because it is all stretchy meaning there will be no clothes binding discomfort if I overindulge (I will pay for it with some internal discomfort if it happens).  And we’ll see if I actually get my intended work done. I’m supposed to be putting energy into social media scheduling and with comfort, slouch and warmth in the vocabulary my social media today might just be a picture of me napping.

If you didn’t take a few minutes to create some words to express your style today, take a look at what you are wearing and see what sort of energy they are giving you. Does it make it easier or harder for you to get your work done when you are dressed for naptime?

 

How has your week been?

Have you been sitting around in your indoor clothes? Items you would not want anyone to see? Has it affected your mood?

It did mine. Those clothes allowed me to dawdle and waste a lot of time lurking on social media. They were my purposeless clothes. I couldn’t wear them outside to weed or even to the grocery store. It was too much effort to change so I didn’t go outside and weed, or go to the grocery store or do anything except those aimless pursuits those clothes encouraged. And there is no shame in that until there is.

You know the point when it is time for a change. When you can see that at least for now this is the new normal. I can choose to sit around purposeless or I can go ahead and live life as it is.

I decided to give life as it is a try on Thurs. I decided to put on some jeans and a shirt I had never worn before. And then some earrings – but still no makeup. And then on Friday I was inspired to have a word for the day. And that word was intentional. This helped me set up some activities for the day and set the timer again to limit time spent on those pointless activities like reading my web news feed and Facebook. It helped me think of some good questions to ask my dad to try to find out something new about him. I still didn’t wear makeup but it was intentional this time.

Which came first? The clothes or the thoughts? Not sure but it was obvious to me they were connected. What you wear can manipulate your own and others perception of you.

I have watched the transformation in myself and others when the combination of clothing accurately portrays exactly what wants to be said without words. I don’t even have to ask if I have gotten it right, the face says it all.

Are there items in your closet that make you feel absolutely amazing? Explore the energy that you get from certain clothing items as you go through your day. Is there a link for you between energy levels, mood and what you wear?

Tips for Dressing Well as your body changes shape

Tips for Dressing Well as your body changes shape

Congratulations! You have worked hard and lost ten pounds (or 20 or 30 or more!). This is a huge accomplishment that involved a lot of mind shifts and learning.

One way to cement this accomplishment in place is to put some effort into how you dress your new body. There may still be a little work left to help sync the new thin you into your closet. And some of this work is mental.  Maybe you still have some ghosts of your past self hanging in there. Maybe you haven’t yet embraced your new body. Maybe you can’t believe you will keep this fabulous new body. All of these thought symptoms show up in your closet and they may prevent you from keeping the weight off if you aren’t aware of them.

Investing in new clothes as you lose is one way to recognize, reward and acknowledge your accomplishments. 

Here’s what you should consider:

  • If you have lost a clothing size (this is typically 10-15 pounds)) and your clothes are starting to hang on you, for goodness sake go out and get some clothes that fit. Celebrate the new you. The mental lift that comes from being a size smaller is nothing short of miraculous. If you hesitate because you still have weight to lose, don’t let that stop you. You may have gained weight initially because you didn’t believe you deserved the time and effort it takes to care for yourself. Don’t keep that old thought of not deserving things in your head. It is part of what kept you stuck and I want you to keep moving forward towards whatever great things the future holds for you.
  • Take your actual measurements and compare them to a size chart with your favorite brand to save time in the dressing room (or to save time on online returns)
  • Buy clothing that fits you well right now. Don’t buy clothes that are too small because they will make you feel fat and may defeat you mentally.
  • Don’t keep the clothes that are now too big (unless you want to keep one item as a reminder of your accomplishment). You don’t ever want to wear those clothes again and leaving them in the closet is like an invitation to return to them and the thoughts that got you there.
  • If you are still in transition to a smaller you, buy only the basics to get you through this period. If you overbuy guilt may keep you in this size that is only a stepping stone to your next stage. The basics are different for everyone. Only you know what you need to get you through a typical week.  And a week’s worth of clothes is all you need. A new bra, underwear for a week and  2-3 bottoms, 3 tops and 1 or 2 third pieces could take you through this transitional phase in style. If you aren’t sure of your clothing needs you can download my activities evaluation and the instructions for filling it out here.
  • I have discovered that when you have been overweight you may have had a tendency to hide behind your clothes or wear a lot of black. If this is you, consider experimenting and trying new color or styles.

Ways to transition your wardrobe without spending a lot of money

When you are in transition (and even after) consider buying clothing at consignment stores. I prefer in person but there are online options for this also including Postmark, Thread UP and the Real Real. Consignment stores typically carry clothing that is in season and has been vetted for stains, tears and condition.  At some consignment stores you can find new items with tags still on as well as designer items. Clothing is arranged by type, color and size making it easy to shop. Having a pre-determined  list of the clothing you need will make shopping even easier. Most consignment stores also carry all the accessories you need including shoes, handbags and jewelry.  You can bring your old clothing that is now too big to a consignment store and get a little cash to purchase your new wardrobe with.  Clothing should be in season, in good condition and not dated or old fashion. Any old clothing that doesn’t meet these conditions can go to a charity. They will typically sort out clothing that isn’t useable anymore and sell it to a clothing recycling facility that pays them by the pound.

As a bonus this kind of shopping is also much kinder on the environment than typical retail and fashion production.

Once you have reached your final size, carefully consider what clothing you need. Invest in a good set of basics and expand seasonally from there. If you aren’t sure how or where to begin, consider hiring a wardrobe coach to help you begin your new wardrobe at your new weight. You will be surprised at how much you learn and how much time and money you will save by having a plan.

Congratulations on your weight loss!

Beth Dewey is a sustainable image consultant and wardrobe coach at Joyous Style. Joyous Style solves the problem of a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear. She works  with business owners and salespeople to make sure the image they are showing on the outside matches the value and feeling that is within. She also helps you clean your closet of all those past selves disguised as clothing that no longer works for us and that is simply consuming valuable head and closet space.  She can be reached at 206.792.6171 or beth@joyousstyle.com

Is Overconsumption serving me? (or you)

Is Overconsumption serving me? (or you)

I am moving. I have only lived in my current home for 7 years but seem to have acquired plenty of items in that time. I am not a huge shopper but somehow my count of jeans in my closet has upped to 6 pair of regular denim and 2 pair of other colored denim. I bought 3 of the 8 pair retail and the others are thrifted. They all fit me but I think the move is a good time to downsize to just 2 pair of denim and maybe the colored denim.

Now let’s move on to the cream colored shirts – sleeveless and sleeved and tanks- I’m embarrassed to say I have 13. I’m sure it would be safe to cut that back to 2 sleeveless, 2 short sleeve and 2 long sleeve without too much deprivation.
How does this happen? For me it happened by not having a plan. By letting my mind create the thought that I didn’t have the time and money to buy clothes, I created a result of not having a shopping plan for those times when I did find myself with extra time in a store that sells clothes. Thus 8 pair of jeans and lucky 13 cream colored shirts.

For some people pointless shopping and finding a “bargain” fills a hole that could be filled by more mind invigorating and emotional pursuits. Clothes and shopping are not my crutch but food is. For years I have relied on food (and drink) whenever I didn’t want to feel discomfort. This over consumption has created excess pounds and wasted time as well as lost opportunity.

Not having a plan and letting my thoughts rule me instead of me ruling my thoughts has created an uncomfortable abundance of things I don’t need and a body that is a little more than I need. It was an uncomfortable but exhilarating realization that I was not in control of my thoughts and they were creating my results. Uncomfortable because I didn’t see how I lived this long without knowing but exhilarating because I am now aware of my thoughts and can consciously change them to be supportive instead of harmful. I am working to create a conscious life with purposeful instead of thoughtless actions.

Your thoughts create your feelings -create your actions -create your results. Time for me to have a mind shift about my own closet. Instead of the scarcity thought that I can’t get rid of something that fits and the fear that I will regret getting rid of it (maybe destined to have the one I keep get a red wine spill?), I am going to look at the abundant thought that I am creating much more room in my life and closet for other things and ideas. I know I won’t be bringing those extra jeans to my new home. Now I just hae to decide which ones to keep. Hmmm. Once I tackle that hurdle what’s next? Maybe my computer folders then on to the garage…….

Overconsumption and holding on to excess is not serving me. Is it serving you? What is your experience with excess? Please share!
If you need help creating a more minimalist life I can help. We will begin by evaluating your activities and clothing needs and then looking at how much is enough. It helps to have a guide when letting go.

Fall dyeing in Northern Michigan

Fall dyeing in Northern Michigan

This the season for fall colors. As I spent two weeks recently in Northern Michigan with time on my hands I pondered what new activity to try. Every ditch was overflowing with purple and yellow flowers.

Photo to show Joe Pye weed

A flower from the abundant Joe Pye weed near my father’s house

There were fall leaves starting to turn and red sumac berries and purple wild grapes everywhere. Maybe this was the time to try dying with natural materials.There are many good websites to research this subject and I browsed them all.I knew I didn’t want to use any mordants (the material that binds color to fabric) that were harmful to the environment or me since that is exactly what I was experimenting to avoid. I discovered that alum and cream of tartar (sold at the grocery store and used as a food ingredient) would work for my experiment and it wouldn’t take much.
I found two large pans and filled them with enough water to cover the fabric in one and to cover smashed down plant material in the other.

Shows the plant being boiled to produce dye

Plant material is steaming away

Fabric in water with mordant

Fabric in mordant

I bought a couple yards of 100 percent cotton muslin and split it into three pieces. In one I put a teaspoon of alum, 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar and one of the fabric pieces.In the other pot I put my gathered plant material. My first experiment used Joe pye weed. I had read this lovely purple flower would actually make green dye but I went ahead anyway. I gently boiled the fabric and the plant material in their separate pots for about 90 minutes. Then I turned everything off and went to bed. In the morning I ran the water wit the plant material through a cheesecloth covered sieve (actually in tis case my sieve was an old curtain I found in a cupboard). I put the fabric in this water which was now green and boiled gently for another hour. I stirred occasionally and then let it sit for several more hours. I poured off the water and rinsed the fabric with more water until the water didn’t have color in it. I had a nice light green fabric color. I hung it to dry and then repeated the process with the goldenrod and was delighted with the pale yellow result.At that point I thought I was done but then discovered two quart jars of dried sour cherries that were way past the period of safe eating so I poured those in and started the same process again. The result was a subtle red brown.

Bucket of Natural Dye

Bucket of Natural Dye

Not what I was hoping for but the drying process and age may have removed some color.I will try it again because it was an interesting process. When you go through this exercise you can see how dyeing fabric has he potential to be a toxic and water intensive process.Some companies in the industry use dyes and mordants which are toxic. There is a history of leftover dye water being dumped straight back into the environment without treatment.Thoughtful companies today are making an effort to use less toxic chemicals and reuse water and dyes. The way our clothes and home goods get their color is yet another elephant in the room that needs to be considered and addressed for the textile industry to be sustainable.As consumers we can do our part by buying only what we need, seeking out responsible color production and keeping our clothes in good shape for as long as possible.