5 tips for dressing for an interview // guys

As promised – in this post, you’ll find some tips for men when dressing for an interview. Echoing our last post, I always suggest showing up overdressed. Please note that this may not be appropriate for every job applicant; for a waitress position, I wore nice pants, a trendier shirt and comfortable shoes in case I was asked to shadow or start immediately, and in some industries, you can gauge how to dress by what the employees wear.

It’s generally a good idea to do your research before you interview. If you’re going to an office setting, then a more traditional outfit might be the best option. If you’re meeting a friend at their house to discuss an opening at their company, you could definitely get away with something more casual but it’s still a good idea to appear professional.

{If you missed the post geared towards ladies, click here!}

 

  1. Consider the industry and build an outfit around that. This works for both men and women. If you’re an artist, consider something trendy and fun, but still professional. If you’re applying for an entry-level corporate position, try a great tie with a more neutral suit.
  2. Show your style while remaining approachable. Many guys may not think that they have “style” – think of your go-to outfit. Jeans and a t-shirt? Your favorite jacket? That’s your style. If you have tattoos and you’re proud of them – and they are extremely visible, make sure to check the company’s stance on tattoos. Many employers no longer have issues with tattoos as long as they are “appropriate” – this can mean a few things. It never hurts to cover up a bit for the first interview and then gauge how others are dressing. If you’re working in an industry where you’re completely on your own – that might give you more leeway!
  3. Wear clothing that FITS. It’s so important to show that you’re proud of yourself, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to pick pieces that fit, and fit well. If you have trouble buying jeans or a suit, don’t hesitate to visit a tailor. Ask your friends (or your mom!) and you should be able to find someone local that can help you feel like a million bucks. Feeling great in your clothing isn’t gender-specific! Iron your clothes, steam them – whatever it takes. Get those wrinkles out! When you have clothes that look and feel great, you’ll feel more prepared.
  4. Choose a statement piece and build around that. I’m going to be bold and make some very generalized statements here – so if this doesn’t fit you, disregard! If I ask my female friends about their favorite “statement piece” – they’d know exactly what I was talking about. A necklace, their favorite top… if I asked my husband, he’d probably think I was crazy. He loves hats, it’s his favorite accessory. However, I would say his statement piece is this really great pastel blue button-up shirt that he occasionally wears to work. It makes him stand out, it’s really flattering on his skin tone and if he were to ever interview for another job, I’d definitely recommend that shirt!
  5. Dress for the job you WANT. I’ve heard this time and time again but it’s so true! It never hurts to be a little overdressed. You’ll feel like a rock star if you’re wearing something that makes you feel great.

Bonus tip: Rock a great hairstyle. This is almost a fun tip – again, I think it has to do with what industry you’re in. If you normally wear a huge, spiky mow-hawk but you’re applying for a job at a hospital or a more traditional corporate office, it might be a good idea to find a different style. Sometimes, too much product can seem unapproachable. Hair gel can be a little dated – I would try mousse or pomade. Questions? Find a hairdresser near you and ask them their advice! In today’s world – it’s SO cool to see guys rocking different hairstyles. Sometimes, all it takes is a small makeover to really give you the confidence to tackle that interview!

All in all – be creative and do your research. Don’t try to hide who you are – aim for the best version of yourself.

Need help picking an outfit? Ask your friends! We’ll be posting about tips for the actual interviews and resume help – stay tuned!

  • Mainspring Communications

 

Southern Beauty Salon Opening

Life is too short to have boring hair – it’s also too short to work at a boring job!

We are excited to announce an opening for a new stylist at Southern Beauty Salon in Sarasota. The ideal fit is a stylist who is creative, hardworking and willing to laugh on the job. If you’re interested in a full-time booth rental opportunity, contact Deanna and her team at 941-777-4414.

Southern Beauty Full-Service Salon is located at 8313 Lockwood Ridge Road Sarasota, FL 34243.

5 tips for dressing for an interview // ladies

One of the most common mistakes in an interview seems to be dressing for the interview. I always suggest showing up overdressed – this may not be appropriate for every job applicant; for a waitress position, I wore nice pants, a trendier shirt and comfortable shoes in case I was asked to shadow or start immediately, and in some industries, you can gauge how to dress by what the employees wear. For example, some hair salons dress in all black, so you could wear all black and fit right in!

This post will be geared towards women for the most part – we’ll do a men’s version, too!

Here are a few tips in case you need some guidance on how to choose your outfit!

  1. Consider the industry and build an outfit around that. If you’re an artist, consider something trendy and fun, but still professional. Rock your colored streak of hair, but keep your make-up simple. If you’re applying for an entry-level marketing position, try a patterned blazer with more paired-down pieces.
  2. Show your style while remaining approachable. If you have tattoos that are visible, make sure to check the company’s stance on tattoos. Many employers no longer have issues with tattoos as long as they are “appropriate” – this can mean a few things. It never hurts to cover up a bit for the first interview and then gauge how others are dressing. You can tell a lot by a tour of the offices if you’re able to walk around, so I use that as a benchmark. You don’t have to be someone else… be yourself, and be approachable. (Unless you’re working in an industry where you’re completely on your own – that might give you more leeway!)
  3. Keep the loud jewelry to a minimum. In an interview, it can be distracting to have big bangles that clank together – especially if you talk with your hands! You can always add your style in after the big day! I suggest one statement piece – a fun necklace, great earrings, to keep it simple and still fun. It’s important to err on the side of caution!
  4. Choose a great pattern or statement piece and build around that. I love great tops, and then I’ll tone them down with a pair of grey or navy pants that are flattering to my shape. Fun shoes, a printed skirt and a bright shirt – these are great, but I’d pick just one for the first impression! After you’re comfortable, then combine them all! Again, this is industry-related – if you’re in fashion, rock your best look! If you’re at a retail store, try to show them how well you can mix-prints, or show off solids with your own awesome flair.
  5. Dress for the job you WANT. I’ve heard this time and time again but it’s so true! It never hurts to be a little overdressed. You’ll feel like a rock star if you’re wearing something you love. If you hate dress pants and blazers, find a great dress that shows off your figure without looking like you’re headed to a club. Add a nice, light jacket and a comfortable but classy pair of flats. If you despise dresses, look for a flattering top and top it with a trendy cardigan and some neutral dress pants.

Bonus tip: Nice clothes aren’t always the most expensive! Be creative and look for great quality pieces at a bargain. Have a clothes swap with friends (this is a great way to also score new accessories!), look at places like Amazon (for their fashion section),  Old Navy (the BEST place for basics, in my opinion…), or my other favorite go-to stores like Ross, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, etc!

All in all – be creative and do your research. Don’t try to hide who you are – aim for the best version of yourself. I always suggest pairing fun pieces with basics because then I’m showing my personality but I’m still ready in case clients come in, or if I see an old co-worker. Dress to impress and you’ll find success.

Need help picking an outfit? Ask friends! My mom is my soundboard, everyone needs a friend who will be honest and help them find that perfect first-day outfit!

  • Mainspring Communications

 

5 tips for creating your own stock photography

For many businesses, I suggest that they create their own stock photography. It’s easier than it seems – you don’t necessarily need to hire an expensive photographer or spend thousands on fancy equipment. I’ve included a few tips below to get you started in the right direction!

  1. Have a plan & determine your style. Do you own a hair salon? Consider having photos that show off your stylists hard at work, having fun and being candid with clients. (It’s a good idea to use a photo release for employees and any participants, especially if kids are involved. Make sure to get written or emailed parent permissions!) Look at other businesses like your own and see what photos they use. Realtor? Try to keep home photos the same – similar shots for each home will create consistency.
  2. Figure out the most attractive elements of your business. If you’re taking photos of your employees or products, place them in front of bright walls with minimal distractions in the background. If you have a wall or desk that’s messy, dark or shows off peeling paint… try to avoid using that as a backdrop. If you’re showcasing products, make sure you use a bright, solid background (or something creative like a wooden wall, table, etc.) Practice different styles and keep it consistent.
  3. Take time to get the shots right. Many times, people are paying a photographer by the hour, so they’ll try to rush. I’m a believer that it takes several photos to get it right – unless you’re a professional in front of – and behind – the camera! Take the same photo from different angles, play around with lighting, etc. This will give you options!
  4. Ask around – you might have a professional in your midst! Cameras today are amazing. I always recommend trying to use an actual camera – smartphones are great, but especially for websites and print – digital cameras tend to give better results. Chances are, you might have a contact who does photography on the side, or the spouse of an employee might have their own business! Ask first; it’s a great way to potentially save money, build their portfolio and get the shots you really want. Check out their previous work to make sure the photos aren’t over-edited or too blurry.
  5. If push comes to shove, you can always use stock photos found online. Always make sure to credit photos back to the source. Don’t pull an image off Google without making sure you can use it! I usually include a caption, if I’m worried about the original source. I prefer using sites like Pexels, iStock, and Shutterstock, but I always recommend using original content. This way, you can use it however you’d like and you can really control how it looks!

Get out there and take some original stock photos! Take photos of everything and file it away by type, style and stay organized. You’ll be happy you took the time to help set your business above the rest! Questions? Need direction? Give us a call!

  • Mainspring Communications

5 tips for a great head-shot

One of the first things I ask people when we are building a website, or working on their business pages on social media, is: do you have a head-shot?

What is a good head-shot? It might be easier to tell you what it’s NOT… a selfie.

For the love of all that is holy… please do not include a selfie as the main photo on your website, or your LinkedIn page, or your business page. Unless your business is called, “How to take professional selfies” – just don’t.

There is a time and a place for a good selfie! If you’re meeting up with a client and you want to share with your following, that’s awesome. If you bought a new necklace from a cool, local boutique and you want to show it off – and plug the shop or designer – do it!

There are plenty of ways to show off a great selfie, but when we are talking about your “about us” page on your site, or your profile photo for your business, it’s best to stick with a nice, professional photo. Here are 5 quick tips for a great head-shot!

Figure out your photo style. Should you be outside or inside? Professional or a bit more casual? Should you have a tight head-shot or a full body photo? It all depends on your industry. If you’re taking staff photos, I’d recommend head-shot with everyone in similar attire – blazers/professional wear, a company polo, or the same color shirt with a great accessory. If you’re a fashion blogger, maybe play with different photos. A full body photo showing your whole outfit and a great big smile would be amazing! Should you smile large or be a bit more reserved? Once you have a plan and a style in mind, you’ll be able to pick an outfit and a type of photo that works for you and your image.

Practice a pose and your smile. You may feel silly in the mirror practicing but you’ll know which angle makes you feel the most confident! You’ll be able to see if your smile looks fake. I can’t take photos where my head is tilted a certain way because it makes me look heavier than I am. Take photos where you’re facing the camera, and then try different poses and see what looks best. When it’s time to have someone take your photo, you’ll know what looks best!

Have someone take the photo for you. This person does not need to be a professional, but they do need to know how to take a good photo. If you take the photo yourself, you might end up with part of your arm in the photo, a weird angle or something in the background that you didn’t see in time before posting.  Honestly, I’ve stopped strangers before because I believe in a nice photo… and people are usually really helpful! You can even buy a wireless remote control button… I found this one on Amazon for around $7! Everyone is a “photographer” now, phones are so nice – take advantage of that and get a good photo.

Take more than one. Take a few – even if you think you’ve nailed it. Too often, I’ve gotten to my computer to upload the photos and *gasp* my eyes look like they are closed! Especially if there are multiple people in the photo… take more than one. You’ll be happy with more to choose from!

Make sure the lighting is good. If you’re taking a photo outside, the best times are usually early morning or later in the afternoon. Photographers tend to prefer around sunrise/sunset. That way, they have a bit of softer light. I actually love head-shots that are taken outside because I prefer that style of lighting. If you’re taking a photo inside, make sure the photos are well-lit. Sometimes, you can even hold up a light and play around with different settings, just to ensure that the photos are bright without being too harsh.

Have fun with your photo and make sure you like how you are represented. If selfies are your thing – more power to you! I am a big fan of selfies in moderation, but I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts!

5 tips for a great elevator speech

I’m a huge advocate for the business elevator speech. It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how often I ask a business owner to give me their pitch, in two sentences or less, and it’s a struggle. Why? Your business is probably like your baby. How can you talk about your baby in 30 seconds or less?

It is always a great idea to have an elevator speech handy because people don’t have a long attention span. If you’re interested in networking or meeting new people, you’ll be better off if you can have a quick blurb ready to go. This is especially helpful during chamber or networking events where you have a short amount of time to make a big impression. It will make you look and sound professional while leaving more time for a conversation and less time struggling for a way to describe your business.

Here are a few quick things to think about when building your elevator speech.

  1. Your business name and mission statement
  2. How large/small is your company
  3. What makes your business unique
  4. What do you offer your customers that sets you apart
  5. How can people learn more

Example 1: It’s so nice to meet you! My name is Diane and I own Diane’s Jewelry Emporium. I love creating beautiful, custom jewelry and started my own business after friends kept hounding me for unique pieces. It’s just me at the moment, but I hope to expand and eventually open a storefront. This is a link to my website if you’d like to view some of my work!

Example 2: Good afternoon! I’m Bill and I’m with Gator Flooring. I’ve worked there for 20 years and we’re one of the area’s largest flooring companies. It’s a great company to work for because they really care for their customers and employees and we’ve been fortunate to help in the renovation of many of the buildings in the downtown historic district. If you have time to check out a blog of our progress and current projects, visit our website or Facebook page.

Obviously, these elevator statements are a little longer than you might expect – however, they are examples of great ways to list your business and include something that sets you apart from your competition.

Remember – this isn’t something you have to memorize word for word. It’s a tool to help you feel comfortable discussing what you do and you can change it to fit any situation. You might have a different approach when talking to family as opposed to those in a more professional setting.

Need help with your messaging? Give us a call today and we’ll help you craft something that puts the spotlight on your company and your goals.

5 things to know about blogging

It’s always interesting when I talk to people about blogging. Typically, people think of blogging as long paragraphs, poems, the “open letters” that are always floating around on Facebook. Can blogging be annoying? Yes. When done correctly, can it be extremely helpful in building your website and business credibility AND help drive traffic to your business? That answer is a resounding yes.

Curious about blogging? Give us a call to see how it can help your business. In the meantime, here are 5 quick tips to help you get started!

  1. Pick a topic or theme. Are you an auto mechanic? Post simple DIY tips or better yet, you could use a template with a “How to” vibe: How to replace your taillight, how to talk to your mechanic, how to pick the best oil during an oil change that works for your car, etc. You’re helping customers feel informed and empowered, and they’ll turn to you when they need professional help. Are you a store owner? Find things that your customers ask about, and use that to create a blog! Blogs are great ways to showcase jobs that your company has completed or services you’ve provided. Just make sure you have permission to share those stories and then post away!

2. Build a plan. How often will you post? I’ve seen it time and time again – people start blogging and they post every single day for a week and then… it’s over. I suggest making a list of at least 8 topics or blog ideas and then writing them down in a word document. (This also helps catch spelling and grammatical errors!) In many platforms (like WordPress.com) you can actually plan ahead and have the blogs post. I suggest starting with a weekly or monthly post. Pick one day and stick to it. Use your list to keep you on track.

3. Keep it simple. Blogs are more about great, consistent content. Even if your blog is short, quick and to the point, if you use your keywords when writing, you’ll be rewarded in search engines. Don’t overthink it. Include photos and short blurbs. I suggest writing, stepping away, and then editing later. It never hurts to ask for a second opinion before posting! Remember to use keywords often that apply to your business. If you’re a chef in Bradenton who specializes in birthday cakes, make sure that you’re using those words in each post.

4. Take notes and photos regularly. Nothing is worse than looking back and wishing you would have recorded dates, names, photos and memories. I always carry a notepad or use the notes app on my phone to keep track of what’s happening. Many blogging services (WordPress, Blogger, etc.) have apps that allow you to write and save drafts for editing and posting at a later time. Even if you’re just writing for yourself, keep track of your hard work and memories.

5. Be consistent and share your work! One of the best things about blogging is that it gives you a shareable link. Once you have a blog post, you have content to share. Invite people to check out your awesome blog on your social media accounts. Blogging not only tells sites like Google that you know what you’re talking about, through the use of those keywords and consistent posting, but it also helps drive new and repeat traffic to your site. Blogs are essentially a record of your expertise, and people will take note.

Blogging is a great business tool. Even if you don’t think you’re a strong writer, you can be a great blogger! Keep it simple, include great pictures, use keywords and have fun with it. For tips or ideas for a blog that can help your business reach the next level, contact us today. We love blogging and helping others catch the blogging-bug!

5 important social media apps 

It seems like a new social media app pops up every day. Which sites are the best? Which ones aren’t as important? Do you need to be on every platform?

This depends on your current customer base, who you’d like to reach and how much time you’d like to spend reaching them. You may think YouTube is just for funny cat videos, but your home improvement company could benefit by posting quick and easy videos that answer DIY questions or help customers learn when to hire a professional. Posting to these sites lend to your credibility whether you realize it or not! Here are 5 of the most popular sites (in our opinion) but your 5 may differ. (Contact us to learn which sites are ideal for YOU!)

1. Facebook – I love Facebook and I’m not ashamed to admit it! Content is king. Events, photos, videos, text, hashtags… not to mention the great return on investment for advertising.

2. Instagram – All of a sudden, Instagram was everywhere! It’s easy to use and a necessity when marketing to a younger audience. Hashtags, filters, short videos and posting often are your best ways to make the most of this app. Content isn’t as key – it’s more important to use great photos that carry their own messaging – include captions to entice the viewer to learn more with a call to action – “Interested? Visit our website – link in bio.”

3. Twitter – 140 characters. As an example of what 140 characters looks like – “Tweets are quick messages with 140 characters or less. Use links, photos and hashtags. Tweet often but keep it short and tweet! Oops, sweet!” Great for linking to your page. Twitter is my favorite place to praise a company, but it’s also the best place to vent about a bad experience! It’s public, so companies respond much faster than traditional methods (customer service calls, emails, support forums, etc.) Check out this article about tweeting airline complaints!

4. Snapchat – There’s a chance your business won’t need to use Snapchat… but there’s a chance that in the future, you’ll want to jump on board! While this isn’t something you may need, you should still know about it! “Snaps” are extremely short videos and photos that appear in real-time, and then completely disappear. Some companies use Snapchat to announce flash sales, send fun greetings during holidays, share exclusive videos about new products and more.

5. Pinterest – This is another tool that many businesses wouldn’t necessarily consider. However, it can be really useful! Realtors – share your home listings! Restaurants – share photos of your yummiest treats and make people drool over your food. Print companies – share pictures of projects that you’ve created and help people see that you know your stuff!

While I wouldn’t technically consider YouTube a “social platform” – I think that if you’re posting videos, they should be on YouTube. It gives you a link that you can share, add to websites and Google loves YouTube, so it will help your online presence. Periscope is also a great way to live stream an event to your audience!

Remember these quick notes: being involved on social media is primarily free which means that even if you spend minimal time and energy… it’s free. I believe that it costs more to stay off of social media because you’re missing people – and regardless of what business you’re in, you need people! People talking, posting, sharing and buying/visiting. The conversations about your business are already happening – are you involved?

You should be! Contact us today to learn more! Enjoy this graphic we found online that helps sum up our points using… donuts!

5 things to know before posting that picture

Quick! Before you post that picture to Facebook, Instagram or your website… stop and ask yourself 5 simple questions!

1. Why are you posting this photo? Is it just a cute photo with absolutely nothing to do with your business? If so, it still might be a nice idea to post! It’s just important to remind yourself why you’re posting so that you don’t regret something later!

2. Does this photo make sense? This may seem a silly thing to ask, but it’s always smart to take a step back and evaluate. Are you posting a photo that relates to your message? Does your caption pertain to the photo?

3. Is the photo blurry? This is probably one of the biggest mistakes when people – especially companies – post photos online. Photos should be nice, clear and high resolution. You don’t have to take a photo on a fancy camera, your smartphone will work – just be sure that the photo is clear and in focus.

4. Would editing the photo help? I find that sometimes, a nice filter will make a photo look even better! Is your photo dark? You can use apps to lighten it! It’s hard to get people excited about a photo they can’t see correctly – especially in group photos. Apps like VSCO, Snapseed, even your phone camera’s standard tools will help. For a few additional apps to consider, I recommend checking out this blog post!

5. How many people will appreciate, relate and engage with this photo? Photos and videos are great ways to get people excited about what your company is doing. On social media, posts with just text often get lost in the shuffle. Adding a nice, clear photo can set you apart from the crowd!

Want to learn more about how photos can help drive traffic in an extremely easy way? We can help! Contact us today, we will have you posting great content in no time!

Featured photo provided by Mark at https://pngpicture.com/

5 things to know about Mainspring Communications

Welcome to the blog section of our website! Blogging? Isn’t that lame and unnecessary? Actually, blogging can be an essential marketing tool that works with your website to build your presence online and drives traffic to your business… but more on that later!

Here are 5 things you need to know about Mainspring Communications!

1. We are a family owned business – specifically, a mother & daughter dynamic duo.

2. We are a small company with low overhead and big goals which translates to big savings and realistic plans that work for YOU.

3. Our name was inspired by a watch part – the “Mainspring.” Our favorite definition of a Mainspring is: Something that plays a principal part in motivating or maintaining a movement, process, or activity. We think that’s a great way to sum up our business!

4. Our main goal is to make marketing relatable, easy and strategic. Don’t sign up for a plan you won’t use! Marketing can be fun, exciting and should make sense to you and your customers.

5. Mainspring Communications will help you motivate and maintain your movement – consultations are free and we would love to learn more about you and how we can help you grow!