Sunday, November 1, 2009

6 Steps to Help Your Recruiter Help You!

Your recruiter is your partner in your job search. The Bonnie to your Clyde, the Butch Cassidy to your Sundance Kid! Well you get the idea. While you're working diligently to secure employment or if you're simply looking for your next career move, your Recruiter is your right hand man. Here are 6 simple steps that you can do to help your recruiter help you land your dream job!

1. Be honest!
Honesty isn’t the best policy; it’s the ONLY policy when working with your recruiter. Your recruiter is marketing you to their client base and therefore putting their reputation and client relationships on the line for your employment. Yes, the recruiter is receiving monetary compensation, however, one little white lie could damage a client relationship that they’ve worked very hard to establish.

2. Are you working with other recruiters?
If you are working with more than one recruiter please inform them. Many candidates believe that the more recruiters they are working with (or have working for them) that this will increase the number of interviews they secure thus increasing the likelihood of them securing employment sooner rather than later. Well, here’s the problem with that concept. Many employers utilize more than one recruiting firm to service their openings.

If you are working with more than one recruiter, there is a possibility that 2-3 recruiters are presenting you for the same job opportunity. There’s nothing worse than for a recruiter to make a pitch to an employer about a dynamic candidate that they’re working with who would be an ideal fit for XYZ Company, only to find out that they’re competition submitted that same candidate two days ago. Ouch!

3. Is your resume posted on the job boards (Monster, Careerbuilder, HotJobs)?
This is critical information for your recruiter to know. As a jobseeker, you may be thinking “I’m going to get my resume out there any and every way that I can.” This is not the best approach if you are working with a recruiter. Think about it. Why would a company pay a recruiter for a candidate that they can find on their own? Companies WILL NOT pay recruiters thousands of dollars in fees for a candidate that they can pull from one of the job boards. So, if your resume is posted on the job boards, please let your recruiter know and you can discuss options that will work for both of you.

4. Have you already applied for this position or to this company?
Again, this information is critical. JobSeekers sometimes mistakenly believe that if they applied at XYZ Company and received no response that the recruiter will be able to get them into the door and therefore they don’t tell the recruiter that they have already applied. If the recruiter has a strong relationship with the company then perhaps they will be able to secure you an interview. However, with most companies, if you have applied on your own, via the web or your resume sent to HR, etc. then you remain in their database for 6 months to 1 year, depending on the company. Companies, again, will not pay recruiters thousands of dollars for someone that they have found on their own, through their own advertisements, marketing, etc.

If you are actively sending out your resume or interviewing with various companies, you need to let your recruiter know where you have sent your resume and which companies you have interviewed with thus far. Remember, you’re working on the same team.

5. What’s the “real” reason you left your last job?
All surprises are not good surprises. If you left your last job due to some extenuating circumstances, then it’s best to be upfront with your recruiter and let him/her know versus them finding out after they’ve presented your resume or checked your references. Remember, GOOD RECRUITERS KNOW A LOT OF PEOPLE. Your ex-hiring manager (boss) could have been placed by your recruiter or your recruiter may have a strong relationship with an HR manager or VP at your previous employer and therefore able to obtain “off the record” info. It’s best to err on the side of caution and refer to #1 (Be honest).

6. Be prepared to discuss blemishes, education, criminal background, etc.
If you are 10 credits shy of your degree, tell your recruiter. If you have a DUI from 5 years ago, tell your recruiter. If you are two years out of bankruptcy, tell your recruiter. Again, honesty is the only policy. Most companies today run a criminal background check, a credit check, and employment history background check as well as confirm your degree. If you’re honest with your recruiter about your blemishes, he/she can assist you with explaining them to a potential employer during an interview. Yes, we can coach you through it! However, we can’t assist you if we don’t know all the facts.

Your recruiter is on your side and is your partner in your job search. If you treat him/her as your partner and follow these 6 steps you’ll enjoy a wonderful relationship that could last throughout your career (you never know when you’ll need him/her again). Don’t forget that recruiters LOVE referrals! Our philosophy is “good people know good people.” So, if you’re pleased with your recruiter, don’t forget to tell your friends.

Tammy Turner
Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

15 Tips for the Frustrated Job-Seeker

Looking for a new job can be very frustrating. As with any new adventure that you embark upon, you must have the tools necessary to be successful in your venture. Job-hunting is no different. Here's a short list of to-do's for job seekers (not in any particular order).

  1. Get registered with a recruiter.

  2. Have a killer resume (that includes "key words").

  3. Get LinkedIn.

  4. Search your network (for resources and referrals).

  5. If you don't have a network...BUILD ONE.

  6. Role play the interview with someone that will give you honest feedback.

  7. Get daily job alerts emailed to you (, Google, etc.)

  8. Do not post your resume on job boards (recruiters consider that low-hanging fruit).

  9. Prepare a short story to intro yourself in an interview (information that is NOT on your resume).

  10. Dress for SUCCESS!

  11. Check out

  12. Connect with Recruiters/Hiring Managers on Twitter and Facebook.

  13. Learn how to market your transferable skills.

  14. Stay focused and be disciplined.

  15. Take a serious look at entrepreneurship!

Tammy Turner


Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Speech Habits That Turn Interviewers Off

The interview is your opportunity to showcase your product (YOU). This is where you have the opportunity to "wow" the interviewer and sell yourself. The resume got you in the door but the interview is what secures the job. So, given that the interview is where you seal the deal, you must present yourself in the best possible light and distinguish yourself from the competition.

Recruiters, interviewers and hiring managers critique you in every aspect of the interview including your diction and grammar. Check out this article from ( It gives "Six Sloppy Speech Habits."

What I've noticed in my years of recruiting is that oftentimes a candidate becomes comfortable in an interview and lets their guard down and becomes so relaxed that they begin to talk as if they were out at a picnic among friends. I start to hear slang "ain't, gonna, my bad" etc. This is not acceptable to an interviewer no matter how comfortable you are with him/her.

In the article link above, numbers 1 and 4 really resonate with me as I hear them oh so often. We all use "um" especially when nervous. I recommend that if you are preparing for an interview that you prepare a short story about yourself and leave it on your voicemail and then play it back and count the "ums." You'll be surprised.

Last but not least, be cognizant of pronouncing "with" as "wif" or pronouncing words such as four, store, walking, running, talking (fo, sto, walkin, runnin, talkin). In an interview you are evaluated on everything so put your best foot (or speech) forward, sell yourself and get the job!

Tammy Turner
Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services

Friday, May 1, 2009

Working & Living Abroad

Having lived and worked overseas for nearly three years, I can attest to the many opportunities that are available for job seekers that are interested in living abroad. My transition to SE Asia in 2004 was phenomenal! I settled into my new home very quickly.

I highly recommend that job seekers explore opportunities overseas as an option. Depending on which country you go to and what company you work for, your salary could be tax free. If you have children there tuition could be paid for at a prestigious international school. How about your company paying for your housing...does that excite you? How about not having a car note or car insurance to worry about? Are you interested in having domestic staff (housekeeper, nanny, cook and driver)?

Well, if none of those things interest you, how about the opportunity to explore and become acclimated to another culture, another way of life uniquely different from your own? How about the chance to travel the world and experience different food and different customs? Still not interested? How about making a great salary in the process?

Now that I have your attention, here are some strategies for people looking into the possibility of job opportunities overseas (

Tammy Turner
Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tammy's Tips for Mastering the Interview

Daily I coach job-seekers on how to make themselves marketable in today's tough job market. I review hundreds of resumes a day and conduct on average 15-20 interviews per week. Here's some sound advice that I share with my candidates:
  1. Do your research. Take the time to research the company that you are interviewing with. Take the time to research the companies that you would "like" to interview with and take the time to research the "person" that you are interviewing with. Why? Because it gives you an advantage when interviewing. When researching the company that you have secured an interview with, jot down a list of questions to ask in the interview based upon your research. When researching companies that you are interested in interviewing with check their job boards and see if there is a job open for which you qualify. When researching the "interviewer," wow them in the interview by mentioning some of the things that you may have found that they are interested in. Example: You're being interviewed by David Carter. While researching the company you find that Mr. Carter was recently named employee of the month, or just received a promotion or orchestrated the company's volunteer effort with Habitat for Humanity. Casually mention it in the interview.
  2. Network, Network, Network! Networking is one of the most important things that you can do to advance your career to the next level. Whether you are an entry level job-seeker, an experienced hire or a seasoned professional, the relationships that you build or have built will be crucial in how your career progresses. In today's job market there are millions of job-seekers. If you have someone that can put your resume in the hand of a hiring manager, CEO, business owner or recruiter, it gives you the leg above the competition who has only "applied on-line."
  3. Resume Writing. Just because it's free doesn't mean it's good. If your mom, best friend or girlfriend wrote your resume, that doesn't mean it's polished and professional. While you can appreciate their effort to assist you, having an HR professional or Resume Writing company review, critique or reconstruct it, might be a good idea. Resumes are used to weed you in or WEED YOU OUT! Your resume is your first impression. Make sure it's a good impression and accurately represents your skill set.

    I would also encourage you to have multiple resumes and that they are specifically targeted to the job and company for which you are applying.
  4. Interviewing Skills. Role play, role play, role play. I encourage potential candidates to role play their interview with someone. This will help to eliminate some of the nervousness by anticipating some of the questions and being able to better articulate your responses. I also encourage candidates to "prepare a short story." Oftentimes, interviewers will ask "Tell me something about yourself." They are NOT asking you to tell them things that are listed on your resume. They can read that. This is your opportunity to sell your "soft skills."
  5. Follow-up. The "Thank You" note is NOT out-of-style. Follow up with the interviewer with a short note (via email or handwritten) thanking them for the interview and reiterating your interest in the opportunity.

Tammy Turner


Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Things To Do if You've Been Laid Off

If you've been the victim of the economy by way of losing your job, here are some strategies for you to utilize in your job search (

This article makes several references to the importance of reaching out to your network and/or building a network that can serve as a resource to you. Networking is a critical component for those seeking a new job opportunity. Make a list of all the people that could possibly be a resource to you in your career search. Utilize the social networking sites and get with a recruiter!

Tammy Turner
Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"The Art of Networking"


Contact Information:
Tammy Turner, President/CEO
Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services
20700 Civic Center Dr, Suite 170
Southfield, MI 48076


“The Art of Networking” – How to Maximize Your Relationships in Today’s Job Market

DETROIT, MI – April 25, 2009 - Networking is critical to finding jobs in a recession. The broader your network is, the more job opportunities that you expose yourself to. The Art of Networking aims to aid others in maximizing their relationships in their professional and personal lives. It will be held on April 25, 2009 at Northwest Activity Center (18100 Meyers, Detroit, MI), Room 100, from 4:00 – 6:00pm. The cost is $10.

5 Million Jobs Have Been Lost Since the Recession Began! “The Art of Networking” will teach people how to network their way to their next job opportunity, make the best use of business cards, how to maximize the effectiveness of social networking sites, how to have a magnetic personality, how to nurture and cultivate relationships and much more. This seminar is not only for the job seeker in today’s recession, it’s for the novice networker, the entrepreneur, the seasoned professional, the busy executive or the stay-at-home mom that has a home-based business and needs to be creative about generating revenue. There’s something for everyone.

Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services strives to assist the everyday job seeker by equipping him/her with the tools necessary to find a job opportunity in a recession where jobs are scarce. By building, nurturing and maximizing relationships, a job seeker has the elements of success at his/her fingertips. Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services is dedicated to “elevating” the community by “educating” the community.

To pre-register:
Contact: or (248) 794-7771


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What Does Your On-Line Image Tell a Recruiter?

With social networking sites boasting 150 million (Facebook) users, it's not hard to imagine that Recruiters, Business Owners, Hiring Managers and HR professionals are using these tools to "dig a little deeper" into a candidate's history. Of course we know that in the interview you're going to put your best foot forward...but who is the real "John Doe?"

We're curious about who we're bringing into our organization and the Internet has made it so simple that a 5th grader can do the research. We will "google" candidates or look you up on the social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, Tagged, etc. Yeah, you may have changed your name to "MrJohn D" on Facebook so your employer can't find you, but guess what???? We can find you because the email address that you provided on your resume is how I'll look you up on the social networking sites. This article gives you some more insight (

I suggest that job-seekers (and those currently employed) err on the side of caution. If your on-line image can be seen by an employer and it doesn't represent you in a positive light, you may want to consider making the necessary adjustments. It's a competitive market out here. Don't put yourself in a position to be weeded out.

Tammy Turner
Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services

Common Mistakes Made at Networking Events

I am a huge champion of networking. I preach networking at all of my workshops and speaking engagements. Why? Because it's critical to your career and/or business development, and I am after all a Recruiter and Business Owner. I believe in the Art of Networking and I know the benefits of building strategic alliances and partnerships.

As many networking events as I have attended or given in the past, I see a lot of "business etiquette" mistakes being made. These are those unspoken rules. The article in this link ( outlines 4 of the most common mistakes made at a networking event.

I love the piece on quality, not quantity. So blow the dust off of that "elevator speech" and get out there maximize your networking experience.

Tammy Turner
Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services

Friday, April 17, 2009

Mastering the Phone Interview

We've all had phone interviews before, right? This is the pre-screening process by the recruiter or hiring manager to determine if you should be invited to a face-to-face interview. Yes, it's the weeding out process. Let's cover the basics: 1)Find a quiet place to talk (no screaming kids in the background, no television or radio), 2)Have a pen and piece of paper handy, 3)Be prepared (research the company, the position, etc.).

Once you've nailed down those items, here's what you can do to ensure that you "master" the phone interview (

From the link above, I want to place emphasis on: being upbeat and enthusiastic, role playing, asking questions and finally asking yourself (honestly): if you were the interviewer would you hire this person?

Tammy Turner
Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Interview Questions to Avoid

Oftentimes job-seekers forget that interviewing is a two-way street. It's an opportunity for the interviewer to learn more about you and allow you to convince him/her why you would be an excellent selection for the job which you are applying for. It is also an opportunity for the candidate to interview the company as well. This is your career we're talking about and you want to be certain that this company is going to be the right fit for you and your needs.

Recruiters/Hiring Managers EXPECT candidates to ask well-thought out questions in the interview. In fact, as you've read in a previous blog, if you don't ask questions in the interview it will almost certainly work against you in our decision making process and almost certainly have us identify a different candidate to offer the job to. There are however, some questions you should steer away from asking the interviewer.

Here are a list of questions to NEVER ASK in an interview: ( These questions will also ensure that you will not be invited back for a second interview.

Tammy Turner
Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Recruiter Asks: What Are Your Weaknesses?

You've all heard the dreaded interview question: "Tell me what your weaknesses are." And time after time, candidates fail this test (yes, I said test) by answering with:
  1. I don't have any weaknesses (everyone has weaknesses...recruiter knows you're lying)
  2. I'm a workaholic (displays inability to effectively manage time)
  3. I'm a perfectionist (shows inability to delegate or make a decision)

As a recruiter, when I ask you to identify your weakness(es), IT IS A TRICK QUESTION! What I'm trying to get to is 1) Are you going to be honest, 2)Are you prepared, 3)If you identified a weakness, what are you doing to turn it into a strength, and 4)If you are going to reveal any information that may be a potential red flag.

See this article from the Wall Street Journal (

What are some of the answers that you have given when a recruiter has asked you this question?

Tammy Turner
Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services

Thursday, April 9, 2009

References - Got any?

Ever been ambushed by your reference? Have you ever worried about what your previous boss (who you listed as a reference) would say about your past performance? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you need to view this link on "How to Bulletproof Your References" (

You should take special care in grooming your references....first and foremost by asking is it okay for you to use them as a reference! You would be surprised at how many reference checks I've done when the person on the other end of the phone says "wow, he used me as a reference?" and it's all down hill from there. Please note also that if you inform me that it is your previous company's "policy" not to give out reference information that I can contact HR to verify your employment, that is a HUGE red flag for me. Lots of companies have this policy, but how that reads to a recruiter is that there is something that you don't want me to know.

References can be a deal-breaker! Please make sure yours are bulletproof!

Tammy Turner
Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Love to Travel? Have your job pay for it!

Having traveled and lived overseas for many years I am a champion for overseas living. I love meeting new people, learning new cultures and eating great food. Now how can I find a career that will allow me to do all of these things and still pay me a comfortable salary? Take a look at this article: (

TEFL is a huge business overseas, well at least it was in Asia. Just think about it...2 years in Singapore, 2 years in Ghana, 2 years in Cambodia, 2 years in Indonesia. Sound exciting?? TEFL will allow you the freedom to do just that and make a comfortable salary as well.

For those of you that have an MBA, you may want to consider international opportunities with the UN ( or the US Embassy or other international organizations such as CARE ( It's a great opportunity for you to explore the world and have your company pay for it. Time to think outside the box!

Tammy Turner
Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mistakes On The Job

With 5 Million people having lost their jobs since December 2007, many people today are concerned that they will be the next person to receive a pink slip. That worry creates stress and oftentimes that stress can cause you to make mistakes that you wouldn't normally make because you're more focused on your Plan B than you are on the job-at-hand.

See the following link "Don't Let Mistakes Jeopardize Your Job" ( and reflect on the things that you can do to ensure you're not helping yourself to the unemployment line. Numbers 1, 4 and 5 really resonate with me, but not just to keep from losing your job, just as a good business practice overall.

Tammy Turner
Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Finding A Stimulus Job

So here is that word "Stimulus" once again. With President Obama pouring billions of stimulus dollars into the US economy it is guaranteed to create jobs. How can you find out about these jobs, check out this link: (

The steps outlined in this article are not applicable only in your search for "stimulus jobs." These are general practices that can be applied by the everyday job seeker that is looking for creative ways to secure an interview, research their industry and gain market knowledge.

I love "Follow the Money" and "Retrofit Your Resume." Great tips that will get results.

Tammy Turner
Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Salary Secrets

Is it that time of year again? Time for your performance evaluation. Well, if you had an outstanding year and your performance was "exceeding expectations" then you should be expecting to see a double digit percentage increase, right? Well maybe not. Check out these "5 Salary Secrets Your Company Won't Tell You" - (

In the current economy, even the high performers are wondering what their salary increases will equate to. Pay particularly close attention to numbers 2 & 3 from the article in the link above. I wouldn't necessarily recommend number 5, as it may backfire and you could find yourself on the unemployment line.

Tammy Turner
Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services

Friday, April 3, 2009

Jobs AND The Stimulus Plan

With billions of dollars dedicated to "stimulating" the economy, many job seekers are wondering what jobs/areas/industries are going to be hiring as a result. Take a look at this article: (

Job seekers, ask yourself: Is your resume up-to-date? Are you ready to strike...while the iron is hot? Are you comfortable with negotiating your salary?

Success is when "opportunity" meets "preparation." Take a look at my previous blogs for interviewing tips, salary negotiations, etc. Happy hunting.

Tammy Turner
Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Salary Negotiations - The Real Deal

If you are negotiating a salary in this current job market consider yourself lucky...given the current economy. Most employers have the upper hand right now because they have a pool of outstanding talent to choose from. If you are unsure or uncomfortable with salary negotiations, please take a look at this article: (

As a recruiter, it's very frustrating for me when I ask a candidate "what is the minimum salary you are willing to accept?" and I get "I'm flexible." Well that doesn't tell me much. When I ask for your minimum salary requirements...what I'm really asking is "what is the least amount of money you are willing to accept for a new job opportunity?" If the minimum that you can comfortably live off (pay bills, kids tuition, yearly vacation and put some in the bank) is $106,000 then that's the amount that you need to give me. This helps me in my marketing strategy. If I know that your minimum is $106,000, I will not call you about a job paying $86,000.

Most recruiters (the sharp ones) will ask for your complete salary history in an effort to see logical progression. BE HONEST WITH YOUR RECRUITER. Also, if you were making $48,000 at your last job and you've been out of work for the past 6 months, don't tell your Recruiter the minimum you will accept is $65,000. That's unrealistic.

How are your negotiating skills? What have been your successes? Sound off.

Tammy Turner
Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ask the Recruiter - Featuring Mike Lewis

I am interviewing Sr. Executive Recruiter Mike Lewis (better known as "Super Recruiter") for my radio show on 4/6/2009 at 6:00pm EST. If you are interested in gaining a recruiter's point of view on "How to Get A Job" in this economy, please dial-in: 347.843.4655.

For complete details on the show and future shows, please visit:

I appreciate your support.

Tammy Turner
KapstoneRecruiting & Training Services

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How To Keep Your Job in the Midst of Layoffs

Are you worried about receiving the next pink slip that your job has been handing out lately? Whenever your boss calls you to his/her office, do you get butterflies? Check out this link on how to make yourself indispensable:

I can not emphasize the importance of tips #2 & 3. Always seek to gain new knowledge...learn other people's jobs. The "that's not in my job description" spiel will ensure that you are on the chopping block first.

Tip #3 will typically make anyone indispensable whether in a recession or not. What are your thoughts? Have you put any of these tips into practice? Did it work for you, or did it backfire?

Let me know your thoughts.

Tammy L. Turner
Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services

Monday, March 30, 2009

Interviewing Mistakes to Avoid

I found a great list that you may enjoy "25 Interviewing Mistakes to Avoid." Check it out at:

As a recruiter having been in the industry well over 10 years on the corporate and staffing side, I have seen MANY of these mistakes time and time again. My philosophy is: people will repeat the same mistakes over and over again unless someone tells them that they are doing something wrong. Some recruiters think that these mistakes should be avoided just using "common sense," but what I've come to realize is that common sense isn't the same to everyone. We all need some coaching.

The Mistakes that I've seen most often are:

2. Arriving Early - Yes, I said "arriving early." It's okay to be 10 to 15 minutes early for an interview, in fact I recommend it. However, when you arrive 30-40 minutes early, you put pressure on the interviewer and throw off their schedule.

3. Dressing Wrong - Some of the things that I have seen as people arrive for an interview would shock and amaze you! Please sign-up for my Business Etiquette training if you have any doubts about what to wear or what NOT to wear.

8. Bringing a Friend - DON'T DO IT! Leave them in the car.

9. Not doing your Homework - I can tell immediately if you are unprepared and you have sealed your fate.

14. Not Asking Any Questions - A HUGE mistake. It lends to "lack of preparation."

18. Bad Mouthing Your Boss - You've just excluded yourself from further consideration. Interview over!

Are you guilty of any of these violations? I'd love to hear from you. What are your favorites and why?

Business Etiquette seminar coming up in May, 2009. More details to follow soon.

Tammy L. Turner
Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tips on How To Stand Out In This Job Market

Do you want to make yourself stand out in today's job market? Are you looking to narrow or annihilate the competition? Check out this video from the Wall Street Journal:

One of the key components discussed in this video is NETWORKING. Yes've heard it before. You've got to sharpen your networking skills. It is critical to your career development. You have an opportunity to learn from the networking guru on:

Saturday, April 25, 2009
Northwest Activity Center
18100 Meyers (at Curtis)
Detroit, MI
4 - 6p
Admission - $10

For those individuals that would like to participate via the web, please email me at and I will send you an invitation and a link to pay on-line.

If you are ready to jump start your career, I can show you how!

Tammy Turner
Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Importance of Image

First impressions are lasting ones! At least that's what my mom always told me. I also heard this quite a bit during my first two years of college. But what does that really mean to a business professional? If I were to walk into a boardroom with top company executives to present them with a proposal to invest in my recruiting business and I was wearing a really nice blazer, a pair of jeans and some really nice Kenneth Cole flats...what message would I convey to the executives that are present? Does my appearance exude confidence and credibility? I would have to say no.

What is their first impression of me? In this example what my appearance indicts is that I am 1)Unaware of my audience, 2)I am taking a casual approach to my business, 3)I am unprepared, 4)I am not ready to be a key player in the game, 5)People in the room will definitely remember "what I was wearing" not "what I had to say/sell."

Image is crucial to self-branding. When people meet me or talk about me to other professionals, they won't necessarily remember what I was wearing, but they will ALWAYS remember that I exude professionalism and confidence by my appearance alone. This doesn't mean that I'm wearing a $2,000 suit but it does mean that I am polished and professional looking. My image says I take care of business.

Equally as important as your visual appearance is your verbal and non-verbal communication. For example, if you see me at a networking function and I am off in a corner by myself with my arms folded looking uninterested and irritated, would you be inspired to approach me and begin dialogue? More than likely you would not. The image that I am projecting is that I am standoffish, I am bored, leave me alone and do not approach me. However, if you see me mixing and mingling with various people, wearing a smile and exuding confidence it would have the opposite effect. You would be thinking "who is that?" she seems important, she seems friendly, I wonder what she does. In essence you are motivated to come and introduce yourself to me.

For the past 10 years I have conducted workshops on Business Etiquette to college students across the United States. I cover the do's and don'ts of professional attire in Corporate America. Having lived abroad for 3 years, I conducted a similar workshop in Asia (specific to etiquette in that region). This is always a eye-opener for students making the transition from college to the professional world. Your visual image and your body language (non-verbal communication) are an indication of how you would represent the company for which you are applying. If you are over-the-top flashy with excessive jewelry and expensive alligator shoes, what image is that projecting? For women, if your make-up is excessive and your blouse is low-cut, what image are you projecting?

Let's take it one step further, from a recruiter's perspective, if I receive a resume with an email address that is, what image does that project? If I call you to schedule an interview after reviewing your resume and your voicemail comes on and the ringback tone is the latest Kanye West song, full of profanity, what image does that project? Let's go even further, as an employer I look you up on Facebook or MySpace by your email address (that is on your resume), and I see images on your page that show you in a bar or showing cleavage or your status update has profanity in it, what image does that project?

Again, your personal image is critical to your personal brand (read "The Brand YU Life" by Hajj E. Flemings). If you have had any of these violations in the past it's not too late to change your personal image. What is the message that you want to convey to others when they meet you for the first time? Once you're able to answer that question, contact me and let's discuss how I can help you enhance your professional presence.

Tammy L. Turner
Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services