On the Ready
Given the fact that we only recently began emerging from the New Millennium Depression, it's surprising how many people I see using employment development centers dressed as though they're going to the park or kicking around on a Saturday afternoon to do housework. This is not the most strategic thing to do for a serious job seeker.

The people who are at these centers are active job seekers. They’re visiting the center to actively look for open positions for which they may apply and interview. But it doesn't seem that they're making the connection that one of those positions may respond while the job seeker is still sitting at the computer by saying, "I just looked at your resume and I'd like to interview you at 2 p.m. today.” 2 p.m. being about an hour later. “Can you be here?" The answer should be an enthusiastic, “Yes, I can,” and not “Oh, well I need to change clothes first.”

Another thing that a job seeker should anticipate is being asked to interview on the spot after going into a business and completing an employment application. Employers are avid to find workers these days. Word is that this is a job seeker’s market because employers have more orders than they do sufficient staff to produce product. In other words, the business is in desperate need of qualified workers.

When conducting a job search, it's important to dress as though you'll be interviewed at the drop of a hat. The person you pass on the bus or ride with on the elevator may be the one who will interview you 30 minutes later. They may be the one who gives you the lead of a lifetime -- it lands you your dream career. Looking as though you care about yourself and the things that represent you encourages others to see you in a positive light. They are then more motivated to offer advice and leads. You’ve demonstrated that you have a certain amount of positive initiative.

Appearance is one of the factors that speaks volumes about what you think of yourself, your attention to details, and your personal expectations for standards of conduct and quality. Going to any career center in casuals indicates either you're not serious about the job search or you're not a serious worker. It also indicates you care very little about yourself and therefore will give your work very little care. It’s indicative that you are slipshod in performance. It's important to go to a career development center ready to be sent on a job referral and interviewed. It’s important to go to the job center ready.

Now this doesn't mean you go dressed in your dry clean-only worsted suit. That's too expensive and too dressy. However, the attire you would expect to wear in the real office situation is appropriate for going to the career development center, class, shopping, just about anywhere and everywhere. The critical issue here is preparedness.

You never can tell when an opportunity will arise. Yes, it may be a scheduled interview several days from now. It may also be a spontaneous opportunity. It may be that after interviewing at the temporary placement office, the recruiter is impressed enough that they want to send you to work right then and there.

So really, the question is one that needs to be asked before leaving the front door every day.

"Am I ready for the interview?"