Friday, September 28, 2012

Fashion Friday: How to style an Interview Suit

It's Fashion Friday and we have another installment of
The Professional vs. The Intern
On-Campus Interviewing at Virginia Tech begins next week so I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about appropriate interview attire for women.  It is acceptable for women to wear either a skirt suit or a pants suit for an interview, but the skirt suit is the most formal and may be the expectation in more conservative industries or formal business settings.  Personally, I prefer the skirt suit and would rather err on the side of being too formal but it is definitely a personal choice.  Since the black skirt suit is a classic, I picked one for Christina and I to both style for an interview.  Here's how we each styled the same suit...


You can see that we were each able to express our own style using the same suit.  Interview attire doesn't have to be boring or stuffy, but it should be "polished and professional".  That includes paying attention to the details; such as classic accessories (accessories and jewelry are a great opportunity to express your personal style), a small purse or a business bag, polished shoes, and subtle make-up and hair.  Your skirt length should land right above your knee (no shorter) and if you wear a blouse with buttons make sure they don't pull or gap at the chest.  I recommend that you consider purchasing the classic 3-piece set: skirt, pants and jacket.  This provides you with options for interviewing and can be the foundation for your business wardrobe.  You can mix and match your pieces with cardigans and sweaters, other slacks and skirts, and blazers.  These will be the "go to" pieces for your work wardrobe.

Also, be prepared to have your suit tailored.  It is highly unlikely at your suit will have the perfect fit right off the rack, so don't forget to factor in tailoring for time and cost.  I have watched far too many women walk into Career Services for interviews with the hem of their pants dragging the ground, even with heels on.  This missed detail makes a person look sloppy and unprepared.  This might cause an employer to wonder if you are sloppy and unprepared with your work as well.

My favorite place to buy a suit is The Limited, but I also love The Loft.  These are both quality and budget-friendly places to shop.  J Crew and Banana Republic also have great suits but, unfortunately, those stores don't have locations near me and I like to try a suit on before I purchase.

Here is an example of a grey suit from The Limited, it comes in black also but I thought I would show you an alternative to black.

How would you style your interview suit?  Do you prefer pants or a skirt?


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Shine While You Dine - Dining Etiquette Program at Virginia Tech

The evening begins at 5:30 pm with a half hour networking reception, followed by the presentation and dinner at 6:00 pm.

Menu options:
Asian Chicken with Steamed Season Vegetable Medley and Orange-scented Jasmine Rice

Grilled Vegetable Tower with Roasted Beet Risotto, Fried Leeks and Tomato Jus

Cost is $10 for the reception, dinner and program. The full cost for this even is much higher.
Sponsors contribute 75% of the total cost.

Billing: Career Services is not responsible for billing, you will receive a statement from the University Bursar Accounts Receivable.

Space is limited to 200 students. Sign up early to guarantee your spot!
Career Services is open M-F 8AM-5PM

For more information, please contact Katie Steuer at


Friday, September 21, 2012

Fashion Friday: Going NEON in the office

It's Fashion Friday again and I have another installment of...
The Professional vs. The Intern
For today's post we decided to tackle the NEON trend and offer some suggestions on how to make NEON office appropriate.  Trends can be a tricky to pull off in the office sometimes.  I resisted the NEON trend for quite a while because it brought back to mind some awful fashion nightmares from the 80s.  Ultimately, it grew on me and I decided that one could work the NEON trend in a tasteful, professional and fun way.  Here's what we came up with:

Here is one of my favorite bloggers and her version of NEON at work.  Js Everyday Fashion

And, another blogger I follow had a bright mustard look I liked as well.  What I Wore

How would you wear NEON in the office?
Meet Christina, "the Intern":

Many of you may be asking to know more about the lovely and talented Intern, Christina.  She is a Senior at Virginia Tech and is studying Communications.  Along with her eye for fashion and style, she has amazing skills in graphic design, website design and photography.  She is also a wiz in social media.  She has a wonderful creative energy that is evident throughout this blog and all the other amazing work she does.  I can't wait to see who is lucky enough to snag Christina to come work for them.  Her future is very, very bright! 

Remember when you were younger and you would say "When I grow up I want to be just like so and so".  Well, I am now at the point in my life where I say "I wish I was younger and I want to be just like Christina".  She epitomizes young, polished and professional!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

GET INVOLVED: Develop your leadership skills with New Student Programs

New Student Programs, an area in the Dean of Students Office, is excited to announce that applications are now available for the following positions:

Hokie Camp Counselor (HCC)

Orientation Leader (OL)

Summer Academy Peer Mentor (PM)

Transfer Orientation Guide (TOG)

In order to simplify the application process for students, one application is being used for all positions.  Applications are available through Gobbler Connect and more information can be found at  Students may apply for more than one position.  While the Orientation Leader position is typically recruited in the fall, this is a new process for the HCC, PM, and TOG positions.  Please help us get the word out to any interested students. 

Applications are due on Wednesday October 10th at noon and attendance at one interest session is REQUIRED to apply.

For more information and to apply, please visit

Monday, September 17, 2012

5 ways to STAND OUT in the crowd at a Career Fair

It's mid-September at Virginia Tech which means the Career Fair season has arrived.  Over the next few weeks several career fairs and other employer events will be going on around campus and students will be working hard to make positive first impressions.  The keys to making a good impression are to be PREPARED and PROFESSIONAL.  Here I will share 5 ways to be both prepared and professional to make sure you stand out in the crowd.


1.  Your Resume:  Have a well-written and error free resume that communicates your experience, skills and accomplishments.  Your resume should highlight your education, leadership, and student involvement, as well.  Keep your resume to 1 page and print it on resume paper.  Make sure to have it reviewed by someone else before you start handing it out.  Career Services advisors review resumes through Walk-in Advising every weekday between 12-3 PM in the Smith Career Center or by individual appointments.

2.  Research the Organizations:  Take the time before the Career Fair to research the organizations that will be attending.  Go to the website of the fair and view the list of employers in attendence.  If you are not familiar with some of the organizations be sure to visit the company website to learn more so you can have a conversation with the company rep.  Identify and prioritize the companies you want to visit.  Make sure you have done thorough research on the organizations at the top of your list.

3.  Elevator Pitch:  Prepare your one minute introduction, aka the elevator pitch. Express your interest in the position or organization, why you are qualified and what you can do for them.  And, don't forget to practice your elevator pitch before the fair.


4.   Dress in appropriate business attire.  It's always best to be over-dressed so err on the side of too formal.  Remember, you are trying to make a great first impression looking as if you have put a lot of time and effort into how you are presenting yourself is a good thing!  If you don't have a suit try to get as close to "that look" as possible.  Try pants or slacks with a jacket or blazer and stick with business casual.  When in doubt, it's a good rule of thumb to dress for the position you aspire to have.

5.  Follow-up and Thank you!  Ask the recruiter for a business card and follow-up with a thank you note.  Make a quick note on the back of the business card to remember exactly what you spoke about so you can mention it in your follow-up.  Believe me, all of those recruiters and organizations will begin to run together after a long and busy day at a career fair.  A personal note to thank the recruiter for his/her time and expressing your interest in the position may just be the difference in getting called for an interview.

What are some other Career Fair strategies that work for you?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

What I Love this Month

Here are some of my favorite things this month:

1.  Zac Brown Band's new CD, Uncaged. 
I've been listening to it for a month now and ZBB never disappoints.  My three favorite tracks are:  On the day that I die, Sweet Annie and Natural Disaster.  He has managed to write not one, but TWO, songs about his guitar that make me cry.  I think we might just be soulmates!

2.  Harmony Ring from Silpada
I bought this ring recently and I think it looks great for fall and with Hokie colors.  You want one?  You can order it here:

3.  Wrap Bracelets
I just think these are fun and I love this one because it's done with pearls.  I love pearls!  Maybe it's because I am a June baby and a Kappa Delta Girl, we love pearls.

4.  Colorful Sharpie pens
I have always been obsessed with Sharpies.  I was so excited when they came out with Sharpie writing pens that don't bleed through your paper.  This set come with pink, turquoise, coral and clover.

5.  Ray-Ban Aviators
I've been wanting a pair of these for a while but I finally found these small aviators that are just right for my small face.  The bigger ones make me look like a bug.

What are you loving this month?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fashion Friday - The Polka Dot Blouse

For this week's "Fashion Friday" post I have another edition of:
The Professional (that's me) vs. The Intern (that's Christina)  
Since polka dots are all over the place right now, I had Christina pick out a polka dotted piece and then we each styled it to wear to work.  Christina picked out this great blouse from J Crew and here's what we came up with...

Are you loving the polka dots too?  Here are a few other choices for polka dot tops:

The first one is from Gap ($42.99) and I like it because it's maroon and great for Hokies.
The second blouse comes from The Limited ($49.90)
The third top can be found at The Loft ($49.50)

What do you think about wearing polka dots in the office?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

HOKIES - Huddle Up for Your Job Search

Get ready for the Career Fairs and On-Campus Interviewing by attending one of these presentations this month.

Dont' miss RESUME KICK-OFF tomorrow, Wednesday Sept.12, from 9 AM - 4 PM in the Smith Career Center.  Stop by to have your resume reviewed and get ready for the job fairs next week.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fashion Friday - Be true to your school!!

For my first Fashion Friday post I thought it would be fun to explore the many ways to show your Hokie Spirit in the office, after all, it's not too often that we get two home games within the same week. That's two chances to get all "Hokied-up" in one work week. (In case you are wondering, Virginia Tech does not close on Labor Day so that was a work day for me.) I also thought it would be fun to include my stylish intern, Christina Sullivan, in the post. She has a great eye for fashion, design and details. This week our challenge was to design one office appropriate outfit and one game day outfit that would best show our Hokie Spirit. This is what we came up with...

For the office
For game day
What do you think? Tell me how you wear your Hokie Pride? Go Hokies!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012


This Fall, Career Services is holding a new event for students, called Speed Networking. Our purpose is to help students enhance their networking skills which will be a valuable asset in their future careers and for preparing for upcoming career fairs. In addition, students who attend the event might also be able to identify potential employers with whom they could develop a long term working relationship.

The Speed Networking event is scheduled for Tuesday, September 11, with check-in starting at 5:30pm in Owens Banquet Hall. At the event, students and employers will be instructed to briefly introduce themselves in timed periods, and employers will then provide feedback to students. Continued conversation with employers is encouraged at a reception following the speed networking portion of the evening which will end at 8:00pm.
Dress for the event is business casual. To register, students need to sign up online in Hokies4Hire under Career Events. Here is the link for Speed Networking registration:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Welcome to young, polished and professional!

Welcome to the Young, Polished & Professional blog where I will be sharing career advice for Virginia Tech students and other young professionals, as well as writing about personal and professional development topics and other things that inspire me.  Here you will get a less formal and more personal conversation about all your career thoughts and questions.  You will also get to know a little more about me and the things I love.  So, don't be surprised if we also talk fashion, food, decorating, music and the beach!  I also love inspiring quotes, which I feel sure I will share with you often.

I've been teaching, advising, and developing college students for the past 15 years.  Most of my time has been spent in career advising and professional development, as well as teaching and presenting on a variety of career topics.  If I had to pick areas of specialization they would probably be self-assessment and personal development, career exploration, and resume and interview preparation.  Honestly, I've probably seen or heard almost anything a college student can throw at me!  I survived the quarter-life crisis and my years as a young professional and lived to tell about it.  I will share many stories and warnings about life in the working world.  Send me your questions and comments and I will try my best to point you in the right direction.

I also need to thank my talented, creative and hard-working intern, Christina Sullivan (COMM, Virginia Tech, 2013), who provided me with much needed help and inspiration to get this blog launched.  She is AMAZING!!!  I am so grateful for all her hard work.

So, tune in and join the fun...

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