Some say that first impressions last. With stiff competition from a very dense job market, a bad first impression could easily ruin your chances of being hired.


This is the reason why good grooming is very important. The moment you step in the room and before you answer any question, your appearance is already under scrutiny. Be sure that your job attire is appropriate, to prevent employers from passing negative judgment before you even get to speak.


What to avoid


Avoid overdone hair. Putting too much emphasis on your hair may give the impression that you’re a “high-maintenance” prima donna type of a person. What you want is to look neat and decent, and never out-of-touch.


Applicants must also avoid looking rugged. Be sure to always wash your face and look fresh. Facial hair may be acceptable as long as you don’t come across looking dirty, but a clean shave is usually the safest bet. Women are advised to wear make-up and avoid looking pale. However, wearing too much make-up could also give the wrong impression. Your goal is to look vibrant, not artificial.


Avoid being overdressed or underdressed. The appropriate job-interview clothes vary, depending on the type of work. Be sure that your clothes match what employers expect you to wear. In addition, make sure that your clothes are not wrinkled or stained.


Avoid bright, glittered or black colors for your nail polish. Neutral colors are the safe and appropriate bet for the workplace.

Women wearing open-toe shoes must never forget to have a pedicure. Men, on the other hand, must wear shoes that are polished and neat.


Avoid too much cologne or perfume. Strong scents may cause an allergic reaction in some people. If it turns out to be the one interviewing you, you can forget about being hired. Use scented products sparingly. Never use it to advertise yourself from a mile away.


Finally, be sure to avoid bad breath. Brush your teeth before going to an interview. You should have mints or other breath freshener products on hand.


Social Networking and the Workplace


Social networking sites are very common these days. But social networking sites have been the center of controversy in the workplace. Just ask the people who were fired because of the content they published.


Social networking is still subject to the same rules of workplace ethics. It’s difficult enough to protect your job during trying economic times. Don’t sabotage your career with the careless use of social media accounts. Here are some important reminders to consider:


Observe a respectful distance with your boss – Some workers try to improve their rapport by sending friend requests to their boss. Unfortunately, a recent survey suggests that more than half of executives feel uncomfortable receiving friend requests from people they manage. The reason for this is that some bosses try to keep a respectable distance, to establish a sense of authority. To be sure, avoid sending your boss any friend request. The only time you can add your boss as a friend in social networking is when (or if) your boss sends you the friend request.


Think before you post – Sharing events that transpired in your office and gossiping or complaining about your boss using your social media accounts are sure ways to lose your job. If you have had a bad day in the office, just cool off and keep office matters in the office.


Protect your professional image – Social networking sites provide privacy settings that will allow you to show content only to selected friends. However, you still need to be careful with the content you publish. Anything can directly affect your professional image. Pictures of you drunk during the holidays can have serious repercussions in the future.

INEXPENSIVE PAPER SORTING AND STORAGE Plastic paint tray liners are the perfect size to hold papers for distribution or collection. Use them to store supplies of writing paper, math worksheets, and other such documents that students need to be able to serve themselves in order to foster independence during class time. They can be easily stacked to free up counter space when needed.


STAY ORGANIZED DURING WRITING TIME To keep yourself and students on track during writing time, track progress through the stages of writing (Prewriting, Drafting, Revising, etc.) by making a column for each stage on a piece of 18” x 24” foam core. Write each student’s name on a post-it. As students move from one stage into another, you (or they) can move their post-it into the next column. This provides a quick and easy visual reference for everyone. You know who you need to check in with, to move them along toward publishing their pieces of writing.


CALMING THE NERVES OF STUDENTS Middle school students are very nervous about their first day of school. They have a heightened sense and need to feel accepted. Set the tone on the first day of school that your classroom is a place where everyone with all their unique features are accepted. Preview what the students can expect during their first week of school. This will provide the students with the framework of expectations.


BE OPEN TO NEW OPPORTUNITIES One year I had a particularly shy student in my class. He was having a hard time integrating with other students. Privately, I asked him what he liked to do for fun. Aside from reading, he disclosed that he enjoyed playing chess. I too had fond memories of playing chess. So I asked if he’d like to play with me during break time. We did and students watched us play the game. Next, I asked if anyone wanted to learn how to play? I asked the new student to teach them, which he gladly did. Then a light bulb clicked in my head. I began to use the game of chess as a metaphor for life and mentioned chess particularly in math class. Soon the entire class was playing chess. During lunch, we watched a video about a group of inner-city students who learned chess and went on to win a state chess championship. This mild interest grew into a frenzied interest in chess. I invited a chess master to come and play with the students. The class competed in the state chess championships and although they did not win, many seeds were planted. Also, the shy young man gained many friends and was the superstar chess champion of the class.