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  • What Kyra Sedgwick in The Closer Can Teach Us About Workplace Attire

    Posted on 01/03/2015 by | 0 comments

    Normally on Thursdays I post a workplace outfit idea with some high-end and low-end pieces. Today, however, I’m dedicating this style post to Kyra Sedgwick’s character in The Closer in honor of the new season.
    No one could deny that Sedgwick’s character, Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson of the LAPD, makes some bold wardrobe choices. But we can all learn a thing or two from this tough cookie’s style.

    1. A classic trench coat is everyone’s friend.
    Regardless of your occupation — be it lawyer, HR consultant, caterer, or bit player of private investigators in movies — a trench coat will serve you well. They defy limitation to a particular season, gender, age, weather condition, or formality level; basically, a solid trench coat is suitable for any purpose, any time of year (supported by warm layers underneath in the winter, of course).
    2. A well-tailored jacket broadcasts your authority and competence.
    It’s hard not to take a woman in a perfectly fitting navy blazer seriously. The show’s stylist, Greg LaVoi, said he had this vintage jacket tailored to fit Kyra Sedgwick like a glove. An ill-fitting jacket is distracting, but one that fits the way it should tells everybody who’s in charge (or, at least, who knows how to dress).
    3. A retro sweater twinset is part of the modern woman’s wardrobe.
    That favorite of 1950s housewives, a twinset consisting of a cardigan and shell, works for today’s working women. It’s a great alternative to a suit jacket when paired with a nice pencil skirt or pair of trousers. Getting one in a modern color like dove gray ups the “now” factor.
    4. Don’t be afraid of femininity.
    In most situations in this modern day and age, women don’t have to rebut notions that being female means a lack of competence, confidence, authority, or skill. Women can embrace their femininity without fear that doing so will undermine their efforts. So, wear a flouncy dress and a pink cardigan if it makes you happy. Brenda Leigh Johnson sure would.
    5. Play with color.
    Okay, maybe not necessarily these colors, together, but the point is a valid one. Brenda’s no wallflower, and neither must you be. Go ahead and wear the oranges, purples, blues, yellows, and greens that you deviously used to fingerpaint the hallway as a child.

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    Posted on 28/02/2015 by | 0 comments

    A new study from Duke University found that men and women were more drawn to job ads that used language describing typically masculine or feminine traits, respectively.

    The interesting part is, the participants in the study did not consciously realize they were reacting to the gendered language. “When we ask people why they don’t like a job, they come up with all kinds of explanations. Not one participant picked up on gendered language,” said an author of the study.

    For example:

    [T]he masculine advertisement for a registered nurse read, “We are determined to deliver superior medical treatment tailored to each individual patient,” while the feminine advertisement said, “We are committed to providing top quality health care that is sympathetic to the needs of our patients.”

    The authors of the study say the findings might explain why women are less likely to apply to jobs in scientific and technical fields.

    The most surprising part of this is that the participants didn’t realize why they preferred one job description over another. Are we limiting ourselves to certain jobs typically geared towards women, without realizing it?

    Wanted: Gender-free job ads

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  • Last Minute Holiday Saves

    Posted on 27/02/2015 by | 0 comments

    I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a few days off work and some delicious homemade pecan pie. Luckily, the holidays are right around the corner. The days leading up to the 25th are the busiest; this weekend we had two fun holiday parties to go to, but I’m wiped!

    In case you have some last minute holiday chores still left to do, here are some saves I’ve found that will help you pull it all together.

    Free gift tags, fresh from the printer.

    Want to spruce up your gifts, but don’t have time to go shop for the trimmings? Design*Sponge has these free, printable holiday gift tags (like the one pictured above). They have a classic feel to them and they’re quite lovely (and free!).

    Quick, grocery store gift idea: hot chocolate basket.

    Also from Design*Sponge, a picture-perfect gift basket with all the ingredients you need for a perfect hot chocolate experience, items you can cobble together from your local grocery store. Follow their lead to assemble the elements into a cute package.

    Waiting to the absolute last minute to buy presents? A final countdown of eleventh-hour ideas, up until December 25th.

    The Daily Beast has ideas for the pro-level procrastinators out there, with instructions on what to get if you wait until December 23rd, 24th… even 25th. If you’re left to get a gift the day-of, I must say, their solution is pretty good!’s free one-day shipping on electronics.

    Get it while you still can — Amazon’s free one-day shipping on select electronics. One option is the newest HD Flip Camera, for $99.

    Music therapy.

    If you’re not inundated with holiday music already, or if you need a quick playlist for some impromptu entertaining, try these pre-made holiday playlists from iTunes: one, two, and three.

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  • More Law School Doom; Are You Going?

    Posted on 27/02/2015 by | 0 comments

    Back in August, I shared my thoughts on law school amid all the news stories describing the bust of the legal industry. I stand by my (non-expert) advice on the topic. If you want to be a lawyer, have good grades, and can get into a school with proven job placement, go to law school.

    A recent New York Times article provides yet another account of why lawyers and law students are doomed. A lot of it is fair. Schools do inflate and fudge their employment numbers to lure new students. As the author says, schools depict a feast for new lawyers, where the reality is more akin to a famine.

    I’d like to hear thoughts from lawyers out there, and from readers considering going to law school. What’s your reality? If you were planning on going to law school at some point, have you been dissuaded? Have you chosen an alternate graduate school path?

    If you never were planning on going to law school, but you’re planning to attend or already attend another graduate school, what’s the climate there?

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    Posted on 25/02/2015 by | 0 comments

    Starting in September, I’ll be traveling around Europe for a month. I’ll be in between jobs, and I’ve never done a big European trip before. I’ll be going to England and Scotland with my mom, and Croatia, Budapest, and Berlin with my fiance. It’s going to be glorious!

    I’m already stressed, though, about the packing situation. I plan on getting a few basic, washable cotton dresses that I can wear again and again. I realize, though, that I need to replace my 10-year-old, heavy luggage with something lighter and more portable.

    I’ve gathered up a few options here for my trip, that would also be great for business travel. But, I would love to hear your suggestions before I purchase anything!

    Also: Any travel tips for Dubrovnik, Croatia, Budapest, or Berlin? Please share!


    The High Sierra 26″ Wheeled Duffle ($103) is a wheeled upright bag, duffle bag, and backpack all in one. I like the versatility. It’s gotten great reviews on Amazon. At 12 pounds, though, I’d like to go a little lighter.

    The Skyway Sigma 26″ Expandable Packing Case ($120) lacks the versatility of the High Sierra — it looks like you can only use it as a wheeled bag. But, it’s only 9 pounds, and reviewers say it’s sturdy.


    LL Bean’s Quickload Upright Duffle, 26″ ($149) is the lightest at just under 8 pounds. Reviewers say it’s durable and packs a surprising amount. It doesn’t have much structure, so things inside will probably get crushed — but structure’s what you sacrifice for a lighter weight.
    What do you use when you travel?

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    Posted on 25/02/2015 by | 0 comments

    The Huffington Post’s new editorial section Women in Tech is excellent. I first happened upon it when reading this article on Rent the Runway’s CEO.

    In a new profile on Marissa Mayer in the HP, Vice President at Google, Mayer addresses the dearth of women in tech jobs. She blames the low representation of women on the stereotype we associate with techies:

    Mayer also has concerns about the relatively low number of women working in tech. She estimates that just 15 to 17 percent of Silicon Valley engineers are women, who make up less than 20 percent of all engineering and computer science majors in the US.

    Mayer blames the dearth of female programmers and Internet entrepreneurs in part on tech’s image problem. She argues that growing up, girls are offered a narrow stereotype of what it means to be a “geek” — something akin to the bespectacled loner who spends hours typing away at a screen. Attracting more women to the Silicon Valleys, Alleys and Roundabouts of the world requires doing away with those stereotypes and showing young women that techies don’t have to love video games. Mayer herself is no ordinary geek: she’s a former ballet dancer with a penchant for cupcakes and the fashion designer Oscar de la Renta.

    * * *

    As women become more familiar with technology, Mayer predicts they will become more curious about it, which in turn will attract more of them to computer science and engineering.

    What do you think of Mayer’s theory? Growing up, I never thought of being a tech entrepreneur as an option. I’m not sure why. I know that I felt that tech entrepreneurs had a skill set and abilities that I didn’t have, and never would. I never considered why I felt that avenue was closed to me. Perhaps I just didn’t want to explore it.

    Knowing what I know now — the exponential growth of the tech world, the ability of tech-oriented people to start their own companies with relatively nothing — I would have focused my energies on a career in tech rather than law. For now, though, I need to pay off my law school debt.

    What about you? Did you ever consider a career in tech? Do you ever wish you had followed a different career path?

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    Posted on 24/02/2015 by | 0 comments

    Check out Mark Zuckerberg’s personal stationery, created so that he can respond to personal letters from Facebook users in style. I love this — it’s recognizing the power that a personal letter has.

    How often do you write personal letters in business? Is all your correspondence via email? It’s nice to send congratulatory notes in hard copies — it feels more official, somehow. Next time a business contact achieves a victory in his or her field, or a former colleague snags a great job, consider sending an old-fashioned (typed) letter.

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  • We Need YOU… to Answer Our Questions

    Posted on 20/02/2015 by | 0 comments

    In a daily ritual, I publish a post here on Jane Has A Job without knowing whether anyone wants to read it, cares about it, or would rather tweeze their eyebrows with barbecue tongs.

    So, here are a few questions aimed at arming myself with a bit more information. I would be oh so grateful if you could take a moment to answer them.

    Take me to the survey →

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    Posted on 18/02/2015 by | 0 comments

    [Ed. note: It’s becoming increasingly common for professionals to switch jobs, rather than stay with one company for life. And now, with the economy the way it is, great interviewing skills are at a premium. But with the current economic climate comes increased pressure to perform well — and not mess up. Here’s a guest post by Jeannette Kavanagh on how NOT to succumb to that pressure and let your best self shine through.]

    If you’ve been shortlisted for an interview, congratulations.  It’s always great to win an opportunity of an interview.

    Job interviews can vary from having to speak to one person, through to facing panels of up to nine people, as I’ve done.   Alternatively, you might be presented with a problem facing the company and asked questions to test how well you’d deal with it.   You must remain calm in order to present your talents at their optimum.  Here’s some help to stay calm in any interview.
    Rather than re-invent the wheel so ably created by recruitment experts, I recommend you read Thad Peterson’s article The Four P’s of Interviewing. He’s a staff writer with , one of the best sites on job interview skills.

    Within Mr Peterson’s article is a link to Beverly West’s article Perfect Your Business Handshake where she tells you exactly how and when to shake hands, and what to say, for maximum impact. It’s very well worth reading whether you’re going to a job interview or not.

    As is Chris Lytle’s article When You’re Smiling. It has great tips about using your smile in all your business communications.


    Whether you’re facing a job interview, or a few thousand at a conference, the principles of conquering nervousness are the same.

    Within my Public Speaking Success e-Program you’ll read that it’s almost all down to the preparation – of your material and of your self. You can’t possibly feel confident or calm if you’re neither competent nor informed.


    That’s covered by Thad Peterson and others. I will say that it’s totally appropriate to ask questions about the selection process you’ll face, including:

    * Who will interview you, how many, what are their roles?

    * How long will the interview take?

    * Is there a written component to the interview?

    * Is it task-based or more exploratory?


    Imagine that between now and your interview you think:

    I’m not good enough;

    I don’t really have the skills they want;

    I’ll be really, really nervous like I was last interview;

    Thinking those thoughts can make them a reality.

    When you do the following, you can realistically start to re-write the negative with the positives.

    1. Remind yourself that you’ve been selected for interview because you have what the employer seeks.

    2. Divide a sheet of paper in three. In the first column write the key selection criteria. In the middle write questions related to the skills, experience, qualifications and attributes sought. A great site to source some likely questions is Ask people who’ve applied for similar jobs for help. In the third write your answers.

    3. Re-read Lesson 2 in this course. Those strategies are applicable to your job interview, so use your answers as the script for your visualising success exercise.

    4. Enlist the aid of a friend or family member to let you practise a run-through of the interview questions and your answers.

    5. Ask for constructive feedback. Re-do the interview practice if necessary.

    Once you feel that you’re ready to answer questions clearly and concisely, you’ll automatically send that positive message to your subconscious mind. When you hear your calm and confident answers you can start to construct what we call your non-anxious reality for your subconscious mind.
    Remember to listen to that cool, calm and confident voice. That positive memory is a key to replacing your fears of failure with your visions of success.


    That voice, that calm person, is you. The unafraid you. S/he can automatically re-emerge in the interview once you’ve realised that your nervousness is a result of only one thing.

    Your thoughts.  Your thoughts of the last time you were nervous, even terrified. Just remembering, re-living the last time you were anxious and nervous brings back the symptoms of fear! I’ve written more about that in an article called The Truth About Panic Attacks which you can read on this website. It sets out how your memories and thoughts keep your anxiety and panic well fed.

    To prepare for a great interview, remember the opposite. Remember your calm confidence at the practice interview.

    Every day before the interview visualise how relaxed and happy you’ll be in that interview. Send the first flutter of butterflies or nervousness away by this simple mental ‘trick’.

    1. Say.   STOP!

    2. Smile.

    3. Breathe in deeply through your nose. Feel the breath slowly go down to your belly. Breathe out.

    4. Think to yourself. “I’ll be wonderful”


    Most offices have hot water. Fill your glass with hot water, let it cool. Just two sips of warm water before your interview will instantly dispel all nervousness. It’s magic. Sip warm water throughout your interview to re-inforce your calm. As always, to your continued happiness and success.

    About the Author: Based in Melbourne, Australia Dr Jeannette Kavanagh works as a solution-oriented counsellor helping people conquer anxiety and panic attacks, particularly when speaking or performing in public. Sign up here for your FREE e-zine Oasis of Calm (

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    Posted on 10/02/2015 by | 0 comments

    Inc. Magazine is profiling a variety of successful start-ups, from a gourmet ice cream truck company to an organic dog food business.

    I was thrilled to see that an artist I’ve always admired, Ashley Goldberg, made the cut with the art shop she co-founded with her boyfriend, Drew Bell: Ashley G and Drew. I was also really interested to read her business philosophy.

    According to the profile of Ashley G and Drew, Ashley was always interested in art, but it didn’t occur to her to turn art into business. Until she discovered blogging and Etsy (the site that hosts handmade and vintage shops), that is.

    The start-up costs were minimal (the cost of a used Mac and a high quality printer), and the 2009 revenue reached $100,000. Interestingly, everything the shop sells, Ashley and Drew package and send out themselves. Apart from a licensing deal with Urban Outfitters, all income stems from self-filled orders. From the profile:

    Selling on Etsy has built-in efficiencies: low overhead and, in some cases, no inventory. Goldberg and Bell print her drawings only after they are purchased. On the other hand, even after some 20,000 sales, the couple still print, quality-check, sign, and ship each purchase by hand. And Goldberg, whose Etsy store maintains a 100 percent positive rating, still e-mails each buyer a few words of thanks and a ship date. “I take customer service seriously,” she says. “I’m a big Zappos fan.”

    I love that the Internet connects artists and creators directly with customers, and it’s refreshing to see the growing focus on handmade, high quality, independently-sold goods. Sure, Ashley and Drew probably could make more money by hiring additional help to fill orders and outsourcing other administrative tasks. But I think they’ve shown good business sense in keeping a small operation. It looks like the pair has struck the right balance between making money in their operation, but retaining the personal touch that is so appealing about Etsy and other online craft sellers. Bravo!

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