Iron Your Shirt and Pop Your Collar – It’s Time to Get Professional

Published on June 7, 2013 by arothstein

You’re interviewing for a job. You’re nervous, but the bubblegum you’re chewing is calming you down as you wipe your sweaty palms on your khaki shorts. You’re wearing your favorite Beatles T-shirt (it brings you good luck) and your $3 flip-flops are keeping you cool in the summer heat.

When the interview is over, you are pretty sure you nailed it. You only talked about your personal problems for the first 10 minutes and while responding to a few text messages, you mentioned that you desperately need the job because your rent is overdue. Surely this employer will take a chance on you since you obviously need the job more than anyone else, right?

Most of us are cringing at the above scenario. We know the unspoken rules of professionalism and can usually recognize when those rules get broken. In a society that is becoming increasingly more casual, it is more important than ever for people to understand the role of professionalism in the workplace.

interview, Broadview University

Broadview University Mock Interviews

Students at Broadview University-Orem are preparing for a promising future in the corporate world by participating in mock job interviews, putting their professionalism to the test—literally. Career Services Director Randy Johnson conducted the interviews as one of his Career Capstone class assignments.

With a strict dress code to follow (no ’60s rock band T-shirts), students were expected to present a 30-second commercial that described themselves and what they hoped to accomplish. They were to ask pertinent questions about the company for which they were interviewing and bring final versions of their resumes, cover letters, and even a handwritten thank you note.

A common blunder for the students—and probably for most interviewees—was that they found it difficult to talk about themselves in strictly professional terms, since job interviews do not require that people discuss their families or other personal information. It takes practice for most people to talk about themselves in a strictly professional manner, i.e. what assets they can bring to a company, with no interjections of their family, marital status, personal life, etc.

“Interviewing is difficult for everybody,” Johnson said. “I don’t care how much experience you have, it’s tough to sit across from a potential employer and sell yourself. If we can prepare our students to stand out from the other candidates, by spending some time putting them through the ringer, so-to-speak, then it’s going to be worth it down the road.”

So iron your shirt and pop your collar; it’s time to get professional!


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