Happy Monday! I’m back to finish up answering all of your amazing job search questions. If you’re interested in some more guidance remember that you can use the $50 discount (code: ELANALYN) for the Conquer Your Job Search course through Friday and I hope to have some of you in the group! It comes with over 6 hours of video lessons, a 50+ page workbook with exercises after every lesson, and weekly office hours where you can ask questions just like this. If you’re thinking about it and would like to test out one of the lessons, just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send one over.
Let’s get into it!
I’m applying to fashion jobs. Should I wear the brand to the interview?
When I walked into the Tory Burch office to interview for my own job, I wondered this myself and I decided to do it. Turns out, this was a good move and it was the first thing my future boss commented on.
If you’re interviewing with a brand you love and you own an interview-appropriate piece from them already, absolutely wear it. If not, your dress code for the interview can still align with the brand’s aesthetic in some way. This shows enthusiasm for the brand and that you likely already have some knowledge of their product line (which of course you should, if you’re walking in for an interview!)
All this being said, don’t go overboard. Wearing head to toe of any brand is probably a bit too much. Keep it understated!
I don’t have certain skills on the job description. Should I tell a white lie in the interview because I know I’d be able to learn it quickly if I got the job?
I don’t recommend lying about anything in an interview. Especially if it’s about a skill, all your interviewer needs to do in order to catch you in that lie is ask one more innocent probing question. Lying is a deal breaker. Not having as much experience with a skill might not be.
If you don’t have one of the skills listed on a job description, I just say go out and get it. If the skill required is the ability to use Excel formulas, take a free hour-long tutorial on YouTube and practice using those formulas with fake data before your interview. If they want you to know email marketing/MailChimp, go through MailChimp’s free tour on their website, make an account, and start playing around in it.
Then when you get asked, “Have you done X before?” you can say, “I haven’t used Excel formulas in any of my jobs but I know it’s an important part of breaking into the X field and so I recently [describe what you did, what you became familiar with, and any other detail].” That shows a ton of initiative and shows that you have the skill they need. It’s a win-win.
I started a job six months ago and I hate it. People are super competitive and the work is super boring. Plus I work crazy hours. Is it a total red flag to switch jobs before a year? How should I explain that in interviews?
People have recently started getting really hung up on this concept of the magical year mark at a job. As a former recruiter I can tell you that whether you were at your job for 8 months, 10 months, or 14 months, the impression is pretty much the same — you left relatively quickly. And that’s fine by the way! Sometimes, for whatever reason, things just don’t work out and a job that you thought was going to be great doesn’t end up being a good fit. You will be asked why you’re leaving in an interview and of course will need an answer for that, but it’s not a deal breaker.
What is an issue, is someone who consistently leaves jobs after 10 months/12 months/14 months and never stays in one place for longer than that. It’s really the pattern of job hopping that may end up hurting you a bit vs. one isolated time. So if you know it’s time to move on and you’ve given it a fair shot, you don’t need to wait until the year mark to move on.
I was laid off because the startup I was working at was low on funding. How can I explain that in an interview? Should I say I quit? Say I was laid off? I don’t want them to think I was fired for performance because that wasn’t the case.
Since this isn’t performance based, I think you can tell the truth and you can explain it just like you did just now. If you are able to, add on something like the below:
“This layoff was not at all performance based. I added a ton of value to the company while I was there and consistently received positive performance reviews. I’m still on great terms with my former manager and the broader team there and I can provide them as a reference and/or share a letter of recommendation if you’d like.”
This will show the recruiter or interviewer that it really was just a funding issue and they would have loved to keep you in the team if they could have.
I want to switch from the legal industry to journalism. Do I have to go back to school? How can I explain why I want to switch and show I have the credentials needed to land the job? Is it hard to switch industries? Where do you start? Will I have to take a big step back in responsibility and pay?
That’s great! People switch career paths all the time. It’s rare these days that the first job you take out of school is the same type of job that you’ll be doing 20 years from then. Different types of career switches require different types of action. Some jobs require that you get some additional education and others would rather see a relevant internship or freelance work.
The point here is that if you’re going to make a switch, it’s great to have something on your resume to demonstrate interest (and ideally some expertise) in the field you’re going into. This can be additional education, free online coursework, a side project, an internship, or freelance work.
The best way to tell what will get you the most bang for your buck (since I know you don’t have unlimited time or money!) is to talk to people in the industry. I recommend scheduling informational interviews with at least 5 people in the journalism field to their thoughts on this. See if a degree would be critical or there is some other way in the door. Ask where you’d likely have to start out given your current background. Once you have more concrete information you’ll be able to make a much more educated decision.
I do have a rule of thumb when it comes to career switching which you can read about here.
Thank you so much for letting me do a mini-takeover and answer some of your questions. If you have any others that we didn’t get to, there are a ton of articles over on prepary.com that I know you’ll love. Additionally, signing up for The Prepary mailing list will give you access to our private library with 9+ templates, charts, checklists and resources all about job searching. Hope to stay in touch! Jaime
What are your biggest job search questions? Let us know and we’ll answer them!
Images via The Everygirl.