Working Alongside A Summer Student

One of the nicest things that happens in the summer months is the arrival of students in our office. We usually accept three or four; one of which is assigned to work on the team I’m part of. Our team is fortunate because we generally get a student who has previously in other summers worked shadowing a Caseworker and therefore has seen that side of the organization.

Here in our Employment Resource Centre, what we do is provide an opportunity for the student to experience both life in the Resource Centre itself, and assisting with facilitating workshops. If time allows, interest is there, and scheduling makes it possible, we’ve even had some students facilitate the sessions with an Employment Counsellor in the room but taken the secondary role.

What I love about the students we get is the infusion of energy and optimism. This year I really think we have had an exceptional student spend time on the team. Laurel excels in punctuality, positive attitude, willingness to help in any way possible, and she is always eager to help our clients with their various needs. And the one thing that I really appreciate in her is the initiative she shows.

Here I’ll give you two concrete examples of initiative. For one, she is proactive rather than reactive, and does not hesitate to get up off her chair behind the staff desk and go to the client and help out. This varies from the student who may have the necessary skills to assist, but sits and waits for the client to approach them and ask for help. This is a critical skill, because not everyone is comfortable approaching the desk which represents authority, and it’s easier to establish relationships with clients in their own space and comfort zone. Just walking around can get someone to say, “Hey while you’re here can you help me?”

Secondly, we have a whiteboard in the Centre where we write what’s coming up, or what room a workshop is in. What I’ve done when I’ve been in the room myself is to put up a motivational quote, or a job search suggestion etc. just to use the space and pass on information. I mentioned this board and how I’ve used it in the past to this student on one of our first days together. Guess what? Every single day Laurel looks up a job search tip on the internet or thinks one up and puts it up on the board before the clients come in…every day without exception. Now that’s initiative!

A month from now the students will be gone and with them, that infusion of fresh faces, energy, optimism and yes, those extra pair of hands and an easing of our own tight schedules. However far from appreciating them after they’ve gone, I’m happy to say that our students are very much valued and told that while with us. The result is of course they perform better.

And here’s a personal benefit that most staff don’t always recognize. Whenever someone new comes onto your team, there’s an adjustment/training period where you have to explain what it is you do, how you do it, why you do it a certain way, how you stay safe in your work, tips on making your job safer – more enjoyable, and improving the customer or client experience. In those mentoring and training moments, it’s like reviewing your own procedures. Do you for example find yourself saying, “This is how it should be done, and this is how I do it on the other hand”? If so, why are you not doing things the way you know they are expected to be done?

And the questions we get asked in return help us to pass on the thought processes behind policies, practices and decisions. And here’s an opportunity to do some shaping of a young protegé who one day might reflect back and realize how much they learned from you. Of course they’ll grow up and move on to be their own person, taking the best of what they’ve learned from all the people they’ve met and what others have shared with them too, but somewhere in there, maybe there’s a nugget or two of what you’ve passed on.

I remember with a smile a new student I had on my team years ago in another position. I was so eager to ‘get to them first’ before my co-workers passed on their poor habits and ill-chosen advice. A burned-out employee may not be the best person to assign to an aspiring student whose sponging up everything they can. However on the other hand, a burned-out employee might just rekindle some old but good behaviour because they are mentoring!

A summer student works out best I think when employees take the time to invest in the student and make the experience one they can truly take away with them. At the same time, a student can either add to the energy of a team or they can be a drain on productivity if they are entirely reactive and show little to no real enthusiasm or respect for the opportunity.

So I want to acknowledge Laurel here specifically for the truly positive impact she has had on me personally and on our team, and of course our clientele. Hopefully in return, we as a staff have had an impact on her for the good, and yes, I have offered to be a future reference should she need it!

How To Develop A Chip On Your Shoulder

Perhaps somewhere on this planet, there are many people who don’t understand what, ‘having a chip on your shoulder’ means. So let’s clear that up immediately. In everybody’s life there are things that happen that frustrate, annoy, anger or upset us from time-to-time. If you develop a grudge against someone, or a group of people and carry that grudge and those feelings around with you, and they change how you interact with people in other settings, you’re said to have a ‘chip on your shoulder’.

So let’s say you’re working at a car plant for 20 years, loyal and hard-working. You come to work only to get a lay-off notice in your box but you also know the company is advertising to hire new employees. You feel betrayed, used, unappreciated and in a state of shock. How you handle such a situation will not only say a lot about you as a person, but it will also affect your emotional and physical health moving forward, your future employability with other companies, your social interaction with others and can even result in extreme situations in a change in marital status, and even death.

“Oh come on”, I hear some of you say, “Death? Really?” Oh yeah, your mortality.

As you move forward after receiving such information, you may actually go into crisis, for that single decision by an employer may result in a loss of present and future income, endanger your ability to pay a mortgage, take that promised trip, put food on the table, send the kids to University etc. It can also damage your self-perception as much of your identity was an employee of such-and-such company. Now you’re a former employee, and may see yourself as having had a former identity and don’t know what your current identity is anymore, and that throws you into a period of flux.

However people being so different, everybody will react to a situation differently. Some will just move on and chalk it up to the economy, while others say what the company did isn’t right, but they don’t waste energy trying to recover something that’s already in the past. Let’s not debate what’s legally right or wrong, or even ethical here, just how you yourself would handle it.

Now carrying around that resentment, you might snap at the waitress who brings you chicken noodle soup instead of chicken with rice. You might fly off the handle when dealing with a retailer who has that blouse in every size but yours etc. “What’s her Problem?” people will mutter after you’ve stormed out. Well it’s the residual feelings of bitterness that get carried around and rise to the surface with the least provocation.

So carrying around this chip is a dangerous thing. It can create an atmosphere around you that people can quickly detect from the creases on your forehead, the scowl on your face, the look of annoyance in your eyes, how you interrupt others because of your impatience with their apparent incompetence. What really starts happening is the transferring of your past emotional turmoil onto those with whom you interact with now and moving forward.

Of course this isn’t healthy and it’s not just as simple as saying, “let it go”. If it were that easy, don’t you really think people would say, “Wow, I’d never thought of doing that!” and drop it then and there? And even when you think you’ve dealt with things and put a problem to rest, those old feelings can surface in seconds when you, for example, run into that Supervisor while shopping in the mall.

However, as long as a person carries all those negative and weighty issues around, you’re not really moving forward 100%. It’s as if there’s a part of you that’s stuck back there in the past, with those unresolved feelings.

Consider that it might be useful to get take that chip off your shoulder and using another body analogy, get it off your chest. Talk to someone in confidence like a Mental Health Counsellor. Vent, and expose your wounded pride, dignity and by doing so, shed the silence that’s been building up. Oddly enough, you can actually develop physical problems in your neck, your back, or other areas where your ‘stress’ is held.

Don’t let an incident from your past rob you of all the good things that may await you in your future. Being at your best is good for your marriage or relationships with your kids, extended family, friends and neighbours. Dealing with resentment can also mean you don’t betray your contempt and loathing in an upcoming job interview when they ask about why you left your past employer too.

Carry it around too long, and that chip becomes a boulder on the shoulder.

“I Could Help, But I Choose Not To”

At what point do you tell yourself, “I could help out, but I choose not to”? While it may be presumptuous of me, I imagine that we all pick and choose to help out other people and sometimes we make conscious decisions to pass on the opportunity. Does that make us bad people? I think not.

When we find ourselves avoiding offering help, it can be for many different reasons. Many years ago now I was on a break in a mall where I worked in a retail store. I heard a woman scream and saw a guy running to towards to door behind me with her purse. I tackled him and wrestled with him while a crowd gathered about us. Nobody actually got involved to help me until one woman called the police. We wrestled for a good five minutes. I think the others were afraid to get involved out of fear of what might happen to them.

Sometimes it may be that we are just mentally exhausted too. We come out emotionally drained from a long session in which someone opens up to us, and by reaching back and becoming so engaged in the pain of what we’ve heard, we need time to debrief and recover our balance in order to be useful to others. So when someone say, “Do you have a minute”?, we might just say, “Not right now” and to them perhaps even appear abrupt.

And I’m willing to bet you’ve had the situation where the workload is substantial; breaks are ignored, and you finally get a chance to hydrate, use the washroom and grab a quick bite. The phone rings and the display tells you it’s a person who regularly will consume 20 precious minutes of your time, so you let the phone take a message. Or it’s the person at the counter who doesn’t know you asking for you by name as you’re leaving the building and whisk right past them at quitting time.

These are the situations in which, while we would normally consider ourselves to be helpers, have great patience and be client-centered, we pass on opportunities to help – and we have to allow ourselves this without guilt or beating ourselves up all day.

The thing about passing up chances to help others is that while almost all the time there will be a chance to make it up to that person, or address the situation at a later time, every so often that chance will be lost and the consequences for someone extreme. So perhaps this is where a personal philosophy fits in, or self-preservation. Someone who gives unselfishly of themselves with no regard to maintaining their own balance and recharging their emotional and physical stability eventually won’t be of much use to the very people they feel so empowered to help.

There is a reason workers have breaks, be they 15 minutes, half an hour or one hour. There’s a reason our work days are fixed so we don’t overwork ourselves and become exhausted. Simply put, enough people have gone before us and shown that the optimal amount of energy expended has a limit, and after that limit, most people in our job (whatever it is) become less effective, less productive.

Would you want to be on a travel coach where the driver has exceeded their 10 hour maximum time behind the wheel? Probably not as the level of alertness is diminished severely, and a new driver who is fully rested is the better option. Likewise some Doctor whose about to perform surgery on a loved one had better be well-rested and be able to concentrate fully on the job at hand. But that Doctor, and others like him, has worries and personal issues they are dealing with like anyone else.

So in YOUR daily work, when you pass on the opportunity to rush around helping absolutely everyone that asks for your time, give yourself permission to avoid the guilt in your decision. It is critical to remember that your valuable skills that have escalated you to the position you are in, can best be provided to others when you are at the top of your game. If you’ve just come out of a draining conversation, an intense counselling session, or any situation where you’ve entirely invested yourself, it is not only okay to recharge, it’s imperative.

Of course this is sometimes called, “Compassion Fatigue”; where you give and give and drain your emotional tank and have nothing left, but all born out of your desire to help everyone. Sometimes it takes a walk around the exterior of the building, a de-briefing with another employee, 15 minutes with a book you are really into, some soothing music with your eyes closed, a yoga break at noon, and there are other outlets.

Think of this like a steam whistle. The pressure builds and builds until the water boils in a kettle and the steam whistle blows. The the kettle, letting off some steam through exercise or relaxation can and does avoid a boiling over. Young people and those new to a job often look at seasoned staff who appear to be indifferent at times to clients needs by making them wait or asking them to make an appointment instead of seeing them when they show up. While it can be insensitivity, it can also be a wily veteran knowing that to pace themselves is the best way to ensure that when seeing clients, they give 100%

He’s A Very Serious Warning

Have you heard of that saying, “Maybe your purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.”? On the internet it’s usually accompanied by a person failing at something so badly that it’s meant to be funny. However what if you know someone in real life, not vicariously, and that’s what their life could actually be?

Let me tell you about Dave (not his real name). Dave comes in to the Employment Resource Centre where I work about 4 days a week. I’ve been at the Centre for over 6 years now, and before that, Dave was one of my clients during the 4 years I was a Social Services Caseworker. So he’s been receiving this financial help for over 10 years. When I first met him, he seemed more motivated, said the right things when asked about what he was doing, and he had some dreams of full-time employment.

Today, Dave works p.t. as an Usher in the entertainment industry with a local business, working whenever there’s a hockey game or a concert. It’s uncertain work, and he combines this with volunteering with two local organizations. It would appear that over the 10 year period, he’s got himself a job and some connection to feel useful and give back to the community, and for all of this he should be commended.

The problem however, is that he’s rested far too long on these small achievements. Living in subsidized housing, he will tell you one day that he’s set for life and why would he want to move because of the rent? Other days, he’ll complain about the recurring bed bug problem. His problem with alcohol is better under control but it’s cost him his career, his marriage, strained his relationship with his adult daughter, and it’s a life-long battle.

Dave will show off his big vocabulary one day like yesterday; asking me if I know how to spell “Ecclesiastics”. Oh he doesn’t need to actually know, and he could look it up on the internet, but it’s his way of saying, “I need some socialization and I’ve got nothing to do, so I guess I’ll talk with you for a bit”. The thing is, he’ll just hover around until you say, “So what’s up Dave?” Now it’s not that he’s getting in the way of the work we do here, because serving others is what we do in the Centre.

Dave recently applied for and received Disability Assistance, meaning that he gets additional financial support, and no longer has to engage in schooling, job search, education etc. but can if he likes. Dave actually wants to update one of his certifications, which will be free and takes half a day.

The saddest thing about Dave is that he’s lost so much drive and personal motivation, that he’s lost his hopes, lost his dreams, lost his purpose. Some days his biggest purpose is to just get through the day. Other days, he volunteers, meets his daughter for lunch, has an evening concert to work etc. So he’s got some drive, some purpose, but he’s plateaued.

When he arrives, we can all tell within the first minute if Dave is going to be sarcastic and is looking to engage in some verbal sparring, or he’s depressed, or he’s on a good day and can be quite positive and full of purpose with a goal for the day.

So why is he a warning to others in ways? Well the longer you remain on Social Assistance of any kind, the more comfortable you may get with the lifestyle that comes with it. Instead of having the drive to change and improve, the ‘new normal’ starts to look appealing. Your friends soon become other recipients, your dreams for the future start getting harder to remember and seem further out of reach. The people in your life tend to be professionals from Social Services. Your daily goals might be to walk around until the food bank opens, find somebody to exchange the stuff you don’t want for things they don’t want but you do. You may find too that the days in the week don’t really matter anymore and weekends and weekdays are pretty much the same; the only days that matter are rent-due days, and the day you get your Social Assistance.

Dave told me yesterday he’s lost hope. At 58 he figures he’s 7 years away from a meager old-age pension. He’s talked about suicide in the past and we’ve had to call in the police to ensure he goes to get help to get through the roughest patches.

If you find yourself in need of assistance, take advantage of it and the financial benefits that come with it by all means; that’s what it’s there for. However, do your very best to try to stay self-motivated too. I’ve glossed over many things, including all the efforts I and others have taken to intervene and provide hope and encouragement – and those efforts are considerable. The one thing that no one can give another however is SELF-motivation. The hardest person to help is the person whose given up. Believing in another person is incredibly powerful, but it does have its limitations. REACH OUT.

Dealing With Unwanted Attention

About six months ago I received an envelope from a client who frequents the Resource Centre where I work. At the time, I’d had absolutely no contact with her for several months as she hadn’t been in, or when she was, I was off facilitating various workshops. Bottom line, we hadn’t had any interaction in some time. So when she handed me an envelope with my name on it, I what it could be, and I was puzzled.

Well I opened it after she had quickly departed, and was stunned by what it contained. Without going into a great deal of detail, she got across the message that she found me attractive and had been imagining all kinds of sexual things she would do to and with me. She said she couldn’t concentrate when I was around and as part of some kind of process she was telling me exactly how she felt. Talk about awkward.

Now far from being flattering, I felt sad for her. I tried to think if in any way I had communicated anything that could be interpreted as suggestive of a relationship, but as stated, I hadn’t even had communication of any kind with her in ages. So what to do?

And here’s why I want to share with you the reader what I did so that if by any chance you experience something akin to this, you might remember this story and learn from it. I went to my Supervisor and showed her the letter. We talked about things and brainstormed together how to best address the problem, for a problem it clearly was. The important thing here was to make sure everything is above-board and known to Management so that should any allegation come forward of inappropriate action on my behalf, I’ve been up front at all times.

I offered to speak with the woman myself – in a public setting, and very clearly tell her that such letters were inappropriate and crossing the line between the client/employee relationship. I’d also let her know that she could not be a participant in any class I’d be leading, but that we could and should still continue to maintain a friendly client/employee relationship and that should we see each other in the Resource Centre, I’d continue to help her if she wanted help like any other client.

While initially embarrassed that I was speaking to her about the letter, which she had thought I’d just read to myself, she understood and agreed. So it was deja vu all over again just yesterday afternoon when a second envelope was put onto my desk in the Resource Centre as I sat alongside a student working with us for the summer. I made a decision not to open the envelope while the client was in the room, because if I guessed correctly, it might have inappropriate content, and I’d feel I’d have to address it right then. If correct, I wanted time to formulate a strategy.

So she left and sure enough, a message saying how beautiful I am and what an awesome tan I’ve got. Mild stuff, but with a history, still not appropriate. So there I was with a teachable moment for the summer student alongside me. I gave her a brief history and explained what I’d now have to do. It’s conceivable that she too might experience something like this and have to deal with it herself. I’ve seen some men eye her up and down when she’s not looking.

So I went and spoke with our Area Manager who had been briefed six months ago when the first letter appeared. We read the file first and found information about drug use, alcohol problems, sex trade activity, absent partners leaving her to raise children and then children being removed. Clearly she’s had some rough times and maybe hasn’t really had too many encounters with men who are helpful, nice and don’t want anything in return. So maybe she’s not really to blame entirely in other words. I told the Manager that rather than having her in to chat with both of us which she might find intimidating, perhaps she could give her a phone call, and she did just that. Maybe coming from a woman who is in Senior Management she’d see things have to stop.

The client said she knew she wasn’t to write letters with this kind of content anymore, but was writing it for another woman who apparently feels the same way about me. Again, awkward even to share. Why it would be okay to write and pass on a letter from another person when it’s not okay to do it yourself is unknown. So my goal here was not to get her banned from coming to the Resource Centre; after all, she makes use of and needs the help she can get here, so I want that to continue for her. Personally, I do not feel threatened or stalked but I’ll be sure to never place myself in a position where we are alone.

Still, anything could be alleged that I said or did, and that’s a risk when you work with people. It’s part of the responsibility we all undertake when we come to our workplaces daily. Handling tricky situations is a skill you can learn like any other.

The Stress Of The First Work Day

Suppose you’ve been out looking in earnest for a job for a considerable amount of time. You’ve had interviews; although not as many or as often as you had first thought you would, and time after time you were ultimately rejected because someone else had better qualifications, more experience, or maybe you don’t even know why. Then all of a sudden, you not only landed an interview, but you were presented with and accepted a job offer. Congratulations!

However, you experience almost immediately a surge of stress and physiological change as your mind starts to deal with your new employment status. Shouldn’t accepting a job bring only excitement, enthusiasm and happiness? Why the unwanted stress?

Well in those first few seconds of accepting an offer, your status has changed. Your mind immediately starts to think about all the things you have to do to succeed in your new role. Maybe a move is required from one city to another, new clothes are required, they’ll be new people to meet and interact with, a new boss to answer to, a change in your daily routine, people to thank and notify of your status etc. In short, your body and mind are temporarily out of balance. It’s this lack of balance that your mind and body immediately start to deal with as best they can.

When faced with any change be it good or bad, and because people generally like to feel in control and sure of themselves, there is a strong desire to stabilize everything at once, or at least as soon as possible. The problem comes however when people feel at a loss to control the things they can’t in order to restore the balance. So if you for example start a job in two weeks time, worrying about how you’ll deal with all those new people to meet isn’t something you can do anything about until two weeks time when you meet them on day 1. And even then, you might find some of the staff are on vacation, taking lieu time, or are off ill.

Now in the example above, why can’t the brain just say to itself, “okay if I can’t meet them for two weeks, I’ll stop stressing about how I’ll fit in and if I’ll be liked or not”? It isn’t that easy is it. However, you do have some power to control some of the things you might be stressed about. If you’ve got a few weeks before you start, put together a box of things you’d like to have on day 1. If you are the kind of person that likes to have personal things in your area such as a family photo, dust it off and pack it. Maybe you have a business card holder, a newly generating plant that will remind you that like it, you’re growing with this move.

Although you haven’t got a pay cheque yet, surely one new outfit might be okay and give you that little bit of extra confidence on day 1. What about getting your hair cut and asking for a shampoo at the time which is really more about the head massage and feeling pampered.

However back to this feeling of anxiety, which might ironically be brought upon by feelings of self-doubt and an ability to actually competently do the job you were hired to do. It’s good to remember that at this early stage of your new career, the employer and those that interviewed you know more about what you are walking into than you do. They know their needs and you should take comfort in believing that of all those people who interviewed for the job, you were the very best candidate that applied. You passed the resume stage, the interview stage, maybe a second or third interview stage, and perhaps some kind of testing stage too.

What you can’t control is the attitude of others at your workplace. However you can influence how they treat you based on how you carry yourself and brand yourself to them right from the first hello. All those tried and true things like a smile, a firm handshake, showing respect for others knowledge, their years on the job, and the reasons why things are done the way they are done at present will endear you to your new peers.

It’s also significant and extremely important to realize that you aren’t the only one experiencing change on your first day of work. The existing employees will be wondering about the new person starting in a couple of weeks. They’ll be hoping that you fit in with them, that the chemistry is good between you and them, and they might even be dreading your arrival if they suspect you’ve been hired to clean up a mess or make changes that might involve them. In other words, everybody has to deal with change when someone new arrives in the workplace.

One little tip is perhaps to bring a small lunch but if you get asked to join others at a restaurant, take them up on it, even if you’re on some diet. Being socially accepted as well as organizationally welcomed is invaluable, and food often is a great medium bringing people together. At the very least, eat your lunch in the lunchroom, not alone at your desk.

Every day on the job things will improve, and it may take several days, weeks, or even a month or more to get a real handle and feel back in sync. Give yourself the gift of time to achieve your balance instead of trying to resolve all the issues on day one.

Interview Clothing In The Summer

Have you ever been sitting in the reception area of an office, perhaps scoping out how people dress so you can look like you fit in when you get an interview? Worse yet, you’re actually sitting there waiting to be called in for your interview and noticing how they dress for the first time?

Just imagine you’re sitting there already stressed about the questions you’ll be asked, putting pressure on yourself to make this the last interview you got to in a long time because its taken so long just to land this interview itself. Your power suit is clean and pressed, consisting of killer black heels, black pin-striped skirt and blazer, starched white blouse, and your hair is up to deal with the heat and so you are less inclined to play with it or have it dangle in front of your eyes.

And then you look up as some employees come in from their break and that’s when you see how they are dressed. It’s open-toed sandals, shorts and polo shirts on the guys, flip-flops, bright airy short skirts and spaghetti straps on the ladies. Are these really the employees or just some beach-loving young people who have come in to get out of the heat? However, they all bear the hallmark symbol of an employee identification card dangling from their clothing and you realize you are over dressed. Furthermore, it’s Wednesday, not casual Friday; it appears this is the regular attire. What’s a girl to do?

Well it’s good to remember that a first impression is of critical importance. What you’re demonstrating is your ability to treat the interview as an event in which you place a great deal of importance as well as respecting the employer. This is you at your professional best. Most employers believe you have the ability to dress down when called upon, but what they don’t know is to what degree you can dress to impress when needed.

And by the way, those employees you saw coming in might be summer student interns or from another division, or perhaps they are on some kind of relaxed training day where they’ve been told they can dress casual. Best not to place much significance on their manner of dress at this point.

Consider too the level of the position you are applying to. If you are going for a top Executive position, you should be dressing conservatively and it’s business all the way. On the other hand, if you are applying to be the new Stationery Engineer or Caretaker of the building, pass on the Armani suit and save it for cousin Eustace’s 50th Wedding anniversary next month.

Many women have told me that they arrive early enough to visit the ladies room and check themselves out for any areas of concern. They carry spare pantyhose, touch up their makeup, lipstick, make sure the eye-paint isn’t running, the lapels on the suit are straight, the hair is brushed, and…well…essentially they are put together the way they want to make a strong first impression. This is all part of the self-branding that will later create synergy with the words they speak, their body language, and the content of their answers.

Sure you might be envious of those staff in their cooler clothing, and some might argue that you should dress exactly the same to show you can fit in. However, those staff can afford to take it down a notch because for one thing they’ve already got a job! Keep in mind that the very people you are considering dressing like may themselves have received notice earlier the same day that their choice in clothing is not office appropriate, and so never take your cues on how to dress in the summer from a single person such as the Receptionist. This is especially true if you are applying for any job other than Receptionist.

If you are fortunate, the room in which you interview will be air-conditioned. That may be one of the nicest things to happen to an applicant so they don’t start to resemble a living waterfall with beads of perspiration rolling down everywhere. One less thing to worry about if it does. On the other hand, I’ve known some men in interviews to remove their sports jackets and roll up their sleeves during an interview to consciously portray the very picture of someone getting down to work. Risky, but again it depends on the job you are interviewing for.

Here’s a little tip that is old but if you’ve never heard of it, it may be news to you. Baby Powder. After you’ve dried off from the shower, dusting on some baby powder is a great way to delay the effects of sweating and it’s a relatively cheap thing to apply. While you may apply it anywhere, if you should apply it to areas of your body that are going to be seen, make sure you check it out in a mirror when you are done. It won’t look too good if you’ve got a build-up of white powder on your forehead.

Interview clothing in the summer generally consists of lighter materials, brighter colours, white’s etc. One last thing you should consider is whether these lighter colours wash you out, make your look paler, or show off your tan better. It’s the whole package. Get out your clothing before the day you need it and make sure it’s clean, ready to wear, and shows you the way you want to look.

All the best in your summer job interviews!