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Kate and Dale Job Advice
Your underlying attitude comes clear in interview
Kate and Dale
    Dear Kate & Dale: I am discouraged and floundering. I've had a number of interviews but cannot say any of the opportunities are my dream job. I am in, and am prepared to stay in, the fashion industry (and do not consider this a bad thing). I probably need advice from others in the industry if I am ever going to find the right situation, but I am not in a business that is friendly. Despite Kate's theory that "people are generally willing to help you," that doesn't often apply in the fashion business. – June
    KATE: As far as getting help from others in your industry is concerned, it might be that your down spirits are holding you back. Your underlying attitude sneaks out in your conversations, no matter how hard you try to stay upbeat. For instance, you say that staying in your current industry is not "a bad thing." Most managers want to hire someone who is excited about the industry, someone who loves/lives/devours it, not one who merely tolerates it.
    DALE: I'm betting that your response, June, is to say that you wouldn't mention in an interview the business about staying in the industry not being "a bad thing"; however, I'm with Kate -- the underlying attitude is still there, under your words like background music. In fact, I came across some offbeat but intriguing research on human "auras" which showed that when two people come together their auras interact and communicate, even when the research participants were blindfolded and didn't know consciously that anyone else had entered the room.
    KATE: Hmmm. Well, you said it was "offbeat." But let me add something concrete: Because my office is in Manhattan, I have worked with many people in the fashion industry who have networked like maniacs and have gotten plenty of help.  
    DALE: You have to learn how to help people help you. Most job seekers say some version of, "Here are my skills, where would they fit?" Then add, "I like people, work well with others and communicate well." OK, great, but that describes half the men in the world and 90 percent of the women. So your potential "helpers" don't know where to start and don't have the time to figure you out. You have to do the figuring out with a coach or career group, or perhaps just by making lists of your best jobs, best bosses and favorite accomplishments or assignments. If it goes well, you'll soon have a list of things you love, not just tolerate, and that is the energy that you'll carry with you into conversations with others in the industry. First, they'll feel your enthusiasm; then, they'll understand you and your goals; lastly, they will see where you could intersect with their work and contacts.
    DALE: We're due for our recommendations for the latest in helpful career/employment information, and my latest find is "How to Connect in Business in 90 Seconds or Less," by Nicholas Boothman. It was published as a book, but it was the audio version that I found so useful that I bought two additional copies as gifts. Boothman was a fashion photographer, so he understands visual images and body language in a way that makes his material on building rapport more convincing than anything I've seen or heard.
    KATE: A lot of managers read this column -- most looking for better jobs, but some are in search of insights into how employees think about their work and about the job market. For such thoughtful managers, I'm pleased to recommend a new video called "Don't Fire an Employee Till You Watch This!" It's an interview with my writing partner, Dale, and it's free at (or in a low-resolution version at, keyword "dauten"). It explains how most firings can be avoided, either by helping struggling employees rise to become first-rate contributors, or by realizing where they better fit in the workplace. The video opens with a promise of "seven minutes that will change forever how you think about employees," and Dale keeps that promise.
Kate Wendleton is the founder of The Five O'Clock Club, a national career counseling network ( Her newest book is "Mastering the Job Interview and Winning the Money Game (Thomson Delmar Learning). Dale Dauten is the founder of The Innovators' Lab. His latest book is "BETTER THAN PERFECT: How Gifted Bosses and Great Employees Lift the Performance of Those Around Them" (Career Press). Please write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or for e-mail.
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