Archive | September 2015

First Impressions: Why They Matter and How to Make a Good One

First impressions, dear reader, are far more important to the outcome of a woman’s life than she may imagine.

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Unfortunately, those split-second judgements are often all a person has to go on, and most decisions that affect a woman will be based on the way she presents herself, or what she appears to be at first glance, even when it’s not totally accurate.

It takes just a quick glance, maybe three seconds, for someone to evaluate you when you meet for the first time. In this short time, the other person forms an opinion about you based on your appearance, your body language, your demeanor, your mannerisms, and how you are dressed.

What this means, dear reader, is that once a first impression is made, it’s done and there’s not much likelihood of changing that opinion.  Therefore, it is in your interest to put in the effort to make sure that you come across positively in that first encounter – in fact, it can even be used to your advantage, as you can make those instantaneous judgements stick.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past five years of working as a journalist it’s that success can come down to the two seconds after you first meet someone.

First impressions tend to be self-reinforcing beliefs; once formed, a person will unconsciously look for evidence that confirms that initial survey and tend to dismiss observations that contradict it, rather than forming an entirely new mental model of what you are like.

 

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For instance, the woman who looks frumpy and disheveled at her first interview will always look frumpy and disheveled to those who first met her on that day, and the woman who is dressed classily, smart, and sharp will tend to come across that way in the future as well.

The great thing about first impressions, dear reader, is that while they may not be fair or even true, they are completely under your control.

First impressions can make or break your career.

We turn people into an embodiment of the few facts we know about them.

We believe what we first see because it’s the easiest option — even if it ends up being false.

If your first impression is off, no amount of charm will help you to recover.

 

Something about Nothing:

 

When making a first impression, a woman needs to make sure that she appears:

  • well dressed – that means neat, tidy, classy, stylish and well-groomed with good hygiene (think about it – it is going to be nearly impossible to make a good first impression if you reek of body odor or you are in a state of disarray).
  • warm, friendly
  • positive
  • calm, at ease, relaxed
  • confident
  • firm handshake
  • good eye contact
  • etc.

Of course, dear reader, dressing well is stressed because once a woman is dressed her best, the following items (relaxation, confidence, etc.) become much easier to accomplish and are natural byproducts (:

 

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Secrets of the French Woman

The French woman, dear reader, has been the object of allure and mystique to women worldwide.

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Numerous books have been written on the topic, including What French Women KnowFrench Women Don’t Get FatAll You Need to Know to Be Impossibly French, and countless others.

So where does this fame come from?

The French woman has nearly perfected the art of femininity, dear reader.

The French woman is the quintessential feminine.

 

“One is not born a woman, one becomes one.” – Simone de Beauvoir

The French woman has a devil-may care attitude, a cool confidence bordering on arrogance and vanity.

Parisian Chic Street Style - Dress Like A French Woman (2):

She is not dressing or living to please others – she lives in the moment and does what fulfills her own feminine nature.

There is even a term that has been developed to attempt to describe this unique way of being, dear reader, and that is je ne sais quoi.

Je ne sais quoi is something that is rather recognized upon encounter with it than an easily defined or capturable quality.

The French woman has this as a result of the combination of her ease of demeanor, confidence, femininity and mystique, and carefully crafted style and elegance.

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A French woman harbors no illusions about her beauty. She celebrates her imperfections as iconic assets: the gap in Vanessa Paradis’ teeth, the delicate crow’s feet around Isabelle Huppert’s eyes, Charlotte Gainsbourg’s prominent jaw line. From adolescence to old age, her beauty is understated, yet dynamic, sexy yet unpredictable. Most importantly though, a French woman never takes her beauty for granted. It is tended and maintained, hydrated and coddled, but, above all, it’s enjoyed. A French woman revels in her beauty and relishes her seductiveness, which is, in France, both ageless and priceless.

The French woman, dear reader, is natural flirtatious, as seduction is an undercurrent and crucial element of French culture in general.

She is comfortable receiving compliments about her beauty, dear reader.

If she is beautiful, she does not pretend that she is not or affect modesty.

Rather, she graciously accepts all compliments with a polite “thank you.”  This is an area in which American women would do well to emulate their French counterparts, as many do not seem to understand how rude it is to reject such compliments.

Parisian Chic Street Style - Dress Like A French Woman (31):

And… being attractive often gives women a serious advantage over men. So we flirt. The things you can get with a large smile… amazing! In my opinion, to some extent, every woman does it. But French women are not afraid to admit it. They are not ashamed of using their charm to manipulate men.

The biggest difference that sets French women apart dear reader, is not their hair styles or clothing choices, but their lack of fear.  French women are not afraid to be feminine.  They embrace it in all of it’s intricacies.

When one Parisian girlfriend caught her husband answering a work text at the dinner table, she threw his iPhone out of their fourth floor apartment window onto the Boulevard Saint Michel. Far from scaring men off with their carefully honed Betty Blue style volatility, French women only succeed in reeling them in closer.

Easy and timeless. Ines always looks chic.

French women succeed in getting what they want without becoming harsh or stressed.  They choose to use indirect means, influence, and subtlety instead, and, dear reader, this is often much more effective.  

In Paris, a French woman would just look at the man in a way that says: “How could you?” if a man wanted to get ahead of them. And that’s more effective than a kick in the groin. French women don’t have to prove it in public. They know they’re gonna win with charm.

A French woman, on average, is also better at practicing moderation.  She doesn’t over~eat, over~accessorize, or otherwise over~do things.

She does not feel pressured to change herself to fit some set of expectations or trends; she is comfortable going at her own pace and doing what is best for her.

How to Be Elegant

What does it mean to be elegant, dear reader?

The elegant woman is unmistakeable.  She is immediately recognizable, and forever unforgettable.

She impresses you with her ease of bearing, intelligence, wit, class, and stateliness.

There is something altogether ladylike and timeless about her.

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A woman becomes elegant when she is at ease with herself.  That is, she lives from a place of calm and peace, rather than one of frantic action, anxiety, or stress.

The elegant woman has a polished, neat, and stylish look at all times; she never leaves the house looking frazzled or unkempt.

It’s not about breton striped shirts, ballet flats and classic trench coats. Chignons, nude lipstick and pearls don’t come into play. Elegance is an essence, a feeling, a way of life. Chanel once said, ‘elegance is refusal’ and who are we to disagree with arguably the most elegant women of all time? Elegance is refusing to wear a dress that you feel less than spectacular in, it’s calmly taking off those pants because they’re a little bit too tight and it’s passing on this season’s body-con mini-dress trend because it just doesn’t flatter your figure.

Elegance, dear reader, is more a behavior than anything else.

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To be elegant means to have a quiet confidence, an elegant woman looks and is sure of herself.

She carries herself with poise and dignity and she doesn’t over-do things.  That is, she is more reserved and subtle than loud and gaudy.  Applied to her style and clothing, she chooses items that are feminine and classy, but not too revealing.  She understands the power of maintaining one’s mystery and that less is more.

She also understands that less is more in the sense of purchasing quality over quantity.

The elegant woman would much rather own several high-quality items than hundreds of lesser quality pieces.  That is, the elegant woman is never, ever cheap dear reader.  She is however wise and plans ahead with her budget to purchase strategically.

Elegance is being able to communicate and accomplish what you wish for wordlessly and effortlessly.

.“In character, in manner, in style, in all the things, the supreme excellence is simplicity”  ― Henry Wadsworth:

It is impossible, dear reader, to be elegant without also being feminine.

As such, the elegant woman never gossips, is never hasty or in a rush, and she is graceful, never putting herself in situations in which she would look ridiculous.

And above all, the elegant woman is cultured and open-minded.  She is not bigoted and she understands that others may not always have the same views about life and particular issues that she does; she accepts this and does not feel a need to convince everyone to see things her way.  She is confident enough in her own well-formed and well-thought out opinions that she does not need everyone else to agree with them.

She can get along with almost everyone, despite these differences, because she is well schooled in the realm of etiquette and because she understands how to handle herself in any situation.

Elegance is the only beauty that never fades.

Examples of elegant women who can serve as role-models include Kate Middleton, Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy, Nicole Kidman, and Emma Watson.

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Cleopatra

Cleopatra, known as “Egypt’s greatest queen,” is the subject of myth and legend, to this day.

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She was a respected female ruler in an age where it was rare to see a female occupy a throne, no less use it skillfully.

She was shrewd, intelligent, ambitious, and regarded as a great beauty, though according to Plutarch “her beauty was not in itself altogether incomparable, or such as to strike those who saw her.”

It was more her wit and charm that won people over and “she also possessed a most charming voice and knowledge of how to make herself agreeable to everyone.  Being brilliant to look upon and listen to, with the power to subjugate everyone..”

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She is said to have been able to speak nine languages; her intelligence was captivating:

“The message is clear: Cleopatra’s allure had little to do with her physical appearance and a lot to do with her intellect, character, and apparently, the tone of her voice.”

“Through her wit, charm, and daring she captivated not only two of the most powerful men of the ancient world, but the collective imagination of the entire world for all centuries that followed.”

She’s been portrayed in hundreds of works of art, literature, film, and music including Shakespeare’s famous Antony and Cleopatra and the movie Cleopatra in which actress Elizabeth Taylor starred.

Born in 69 BC, she was groomed from a young age for power.  She came from a family of rulers, but unlike the rest of her family, who spoke only Greek, Cleopatra learned the native Egyptian tongue as well.

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To solidify her image, she associated herself with Isis, the Egyptian goddess of health, marriage and wisdom.  The name “Isis” means throne and the goddess was a representation of the pharaoh’s power.

When her father died in 51 BC, Cleopatra was set to rule jointly with her 10 year old brother Ptolemy, to whom she was officially married.  Cleopatra was 18 and had no intention of sharing authority, however.

In 50 BC, Cleopatra came into conflict with the Roman troops who were in Egypt to protect her father after he took the throne, and they became her enemies, forcing her to flee in exile.

She assembled an army from abroad, meanwhile her brother Ptolemy ruled Egypt and got into disagreement with Caesar, who seized the capital.

Seeing an opportunity in this, Cleopatra smuggled herself into Caesar’s palace and became his mistress.  Legend has it that she arrived in his chambers rolled into a carpet and made a bold and daring entrance.

I want a picture like this somewhere:

Whatever actually happened, it worked, and soon Caesar supported her claims to the throne, decided not to annex Egypt, and got rid of Ptolemy.

Soon Cleopatra had a son, whom she claimed was Caesar’s and named him Ptolemy Caesar.  She wanted him to be named the heir of the Roman empire, but Caesar appointed his grandnephew, Octavian, instead.

After Caesar was assassinated on March 15th 44 BC, Cleopatra became involved with another powerful Roman, Mark Antony.

There is evidence that this relationship was more than simply an attempt to increase her power – it is likely that she and Mark Antony were truly in love.

Shoes:

She soon had twins with him, and would later go on to have a third child with him.

Her demise came at just 39 years old, when Octavian invaded Egypt and held her hostage.  Hearing rumors that she was dead, Mark Antony killed himself with a sword.

Cleopatra was not yet dead, but when she heard that she would be moved to Rome and disgraced publicly, she chose death rather than shame.  Legend has it that she committed suicide using a poisonous snake and died in all her finery, as the proud and powerful ruler that she was.

Seen by the world as a dangerous seductress, she certainly left an unforgettable legacy as one of the most powerful women to ever live.

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How To Craft a Cover Letter

As a feminine woman of excellence, dear reader, you will at some point be required to either write or read a cover letter.  It is a very formulaic writing form, and you should be familiar with its main components, format, and structure.

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The cover letter is a one-page introduction that demonstrates interest in a particular position or company and lets an employer know who you are and what you have to offer them.  It is sent with a resume, and at its basic level, is a request for an interview.

While it is about the writer’s qualifications and interest, it should be tailored to the company or employing agent.  At a very minimum, the author should show evidence of having thoroughly reviewed the company website.  Lack of research and preparation, dear reader, will be immediately obvious to the experienced manager, and will demonstrate that the potential employee is not fully committed to the cause, or worse, is hasty, cursory, or thoughtless in nature.

Above all, the cover letter must be free of grammar, spelling, or stylistic errors.  The letter should never be rushed, and should be edited or proof-read several times.

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The cover letter begins with the job-seeker’s address and contact information in the upper right, followed by that of the person to whom she is writing on the left.  Next is an appropriate greeting to that person.  Generic openings, such as “to whom it may concern,” “dear sir or madam,” or “dear manager” are to be avoided at all costs.  It is far better to identify a specific person; this demonstrates sincere interest and how you value and respect others.

The opening paragraph then goes on to explain the applicant’s credentials, who she is, and what type of position she is looking for.  She states what position, field, or area she is most interested in, and where and/or from whom she found out about the opening or the company.

As she gets into the body of the letter, she briefly states her qualifications and skills, and begins with what is called a value-proposition statement.  A value-proposition statement, dear reader, as it is applied in sales and marketing, is a short statement meant to convince a customer why a product or service will be worth his or her while.  In the cover letter, that good or service is the applicant’s skills and talents, and the customer is the employer or hiring manager.  It is the applicant’s job to sum up what she brings to the table, so to speak, in a few words, making it clear why she should be hired.  In business, this means delineating how she will make her employer more profitable, either by saving or earning them more money.

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A value-proposition statement might be something like this: “At Parson’s Consulting, my strong analytical skills, combined with my ability to learn and then apply new skills quickly to solve problems will be valuable assets.”

She wants to be specific, stating what problems she can facilitate or solve, giving any quantitative benchmarks that would give an indication of how well she can solve those issues, and why she is a better choice than other applicants.  Vague terms and meaningless or trite jargon such as “excellent team player” are to be avoided; if need be, she can bring up these topics later as she is describing examples and past experiences that support the value proposition statement.

After she explains those examples, the writer then states why she is interested in the particular company, work, or location.  She gives convincing and persuasive reasons and then relates any experience she has to the specific position, making a reference to her attached resume.

She concludes the letter by making it clear that she would like an interview, and states how she may be contacted to be informed (generally via email or phone).  It is of utmost importance, dear reader, to avoid being “wishy-washy” or vague in the conclusion.  The aim is to leave no doubt in the employer’s mind that the applicant is worth at the very minimum, further investigation, if not the position itself.

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The letter finally ends with a professional salutation.  When in doubt, “sincerely” or “thank you and kind regards” are fail-safe.

Below are some excellent examples of what a cover letter should look like:

http://arsanto.org/274/sample-cover-letter-for-experienced-accountant.php
http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/files/conscovltr_1345147416.pdf
http://jobsearch.about.com/od/coverlettersamples/a/consultant.htm

Being Kind To Yourself

The feminine woman of excellence, dear reader, is kind to herself.

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She is forgiving, does not engage in unproductive self-criticism and she recognizes that she has mental, emotional and physical limits and boundaries, which she does her best to respect at all times.

She doesn’t overwork to the point of exhaustion or break-down, and she takes proactive steps to prevent such a crisis including:

  • maintaining good hygiene
  • getting adequate rest
  • eating right
  • getting exercise
  • scheduling physicians and doctors’ visits when necessary
  • not procrastinating – procrastination always increases stress and anxiety and never improves or solves a problem in the best way possible
  • periodically pampering herself
    • visits to a spa
    • manicure/pedicure
    • therapeutic/hot bath
    • massage
    • time off for reflection and rest
  • avoiding over-giving or allowing herself to be put into situations in which she feels taken advantage of

Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain... To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices - today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it. ~ Kevyn Aucoin:

It is the unfortunate truth, dear reader, that many otherwise fully grown and capable women do not take care of themselves properly.

It may be that they are prioritizing others’ wants and wishes over their own needs or assuming the caretaker role, but this is not healthy.

A woman must take care of herself, before she can fully take care of anyone else.  A woman who is tired, stressed, and run-down will be able to do little for someone else in need, either by way of material or emotional support.

She must first rejuvenate and replenish her own energy.

Another common way that women often lose their energy and vibrance is engaging in negative self-talk or “beating oneself up.”

Everyone errs, dear reader. (:

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“I’ve obviously made plenty of mistakes in my lifetime but I’m not the type to sit and beat myself up over it.  If a real lesson was learned, I’m so okay with having experienced that.” – Kim Kardashian

Whatever else you may think of Kim Kardashian, dear reader, her words could not be more accurate on this point.  Anger, disappointment, and other forms of negative energy are absolutely not helpful after a certain point.  Many hold on to those emotions believing that they are necessary to learn a lesson, but in reality they are wasting precious time and energy.

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Those are moments that should be spent appreciating and enjoying life – the feminine woman who is kind to herself understands that life is a gift and she respects it as such.  She does not let it go to waste dwelling on unhappy thoughts or self-flagellation.

She understands that she is also an amazing creation, despite her many flaws and errors in life, and she understands that she (and every other person) are worthy of love and kindness.

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How to Write a Resume

The resume, dear reader, is a summary of a woman’s skills, qualifications, and professional experiences.  It is a brief, at a glance, view of what she might offer to a potential employer.

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The professional woman is versed in its form and uses it to present the best possible version of herself to her associates, clients, and potential employers.

It is typically one-paged, but can be longer if she is very experienced or an advanced professional, in which case she uses what is called a curriculum vitae rather than the resume.

The margins are between 0.5” and 1” and only one font is chosen for the entire document, and the font is sized at between 10 and 12.  The font is not overly florid or distracting, but is quite clear and easy to read.  Cambria, Times New Roman, Helvetica, Ariel, and Geneva are all acceptable choices.

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The first thing to include on the resume, is the name.  It is the largest item on the page, is placed in the top center and can be bolded.  It is followed by the appropriate contact information – mailing address, email, and phone number.

It is of utmost importance that the resume be free of grammar or spelling errors and look neat, showing consistent style throughout.

Next after the name and contact information is a listing of the author’s education and credentials, including any schools attended, degrees earned, and relevant dates of attendance.  For the young professional, the G.P.A. is also listed if above a 3.0 out of 4.0, as well as relevant coursework.

Work experiences are then listed in reverse chronological order, by end date.  The dates and locations of employment are included, followed by bullet points that start with an “action verb” and detail any activities and results.  These are quantified wherever possible.

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Examples of action verbs (taken from To Boldly Go: Practical Career Advice by Peter S. Fiske) include:

  • Administered
  • Analyzed
  • Assigned
  • Chaired
  • Consolidated
  • Contracted
  • Coordinated
  • Delegated
  • Developed
  • Directed
  • Evaluated
  • Executed
  • Organized
  • Oversaw
  • Planned
  • Prioritized
  • Produced
  • Recommended
  • Reorganized
  • Reviewed
  • Scheduled
  • Supervised
  • Addressed
  • Arbitrated
  • Arranged
  • Authored
  • Co-authored
  • Collaborated
  • Corresponded
  • Developed
  • Directed
  • Drafted
  • Enlisted
  • Formulated
  • Influenced
  • Interpreted
  • Lectured
  • Mediated
  • Moderated
  • Negotiated
  • Persuaded
  • Promoted
  • Proposed
  • Publicized
  • Reconciled
  • Recruited
  • Spoke
  • Translated
  • Wrote
  • Clarified
  • Collected
  • Critiqued
  • Diagnosed
  • Evaluated
  • Examined
  • Extracted
  • Identified
  • Inspected
  • Inspired
  • Interpreted
  • Interviewed
  • Investigated
  • Organized
  • Reviewed
  • Summarized
  • Surveyed
  • Systemized
  • Assembled
  • Built
  • Calculated
  • Computed
  • Designed
  • Devised
  • Engineered
  • Fabricated
  • Maintained
  • Operated
  • Pinpointed
  • Programmed
  • Remodeled
  • Repaired
  • Solved
  • Adapted
  • Advised
  • Clarified
  • Coached
  • Communicated
  • Conducted
  • Coordinated
  • Developed
  • Enabled
  • Encouraged
  • Evaluated
  • Explained
  • Facilitated
  • Guided
  • Informed
  • Instructed
  • Lectured
  • Persuaded
  • Set goals
  • Stimulated
  • Taught
  • Trained
  • Administered
  • Allocated
  • Analyzed
  • Appraised
  • Audited
  • Balanced

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  • Budgeted
  • Calculated
  • Computed
  • Developed
  • Managed
  • Planned
  • Projected
  • Researched
  • Acted
  • Conceptualized
  • Created
  • Customized
  • Established
  • Fashioned
  • Illustrated
  • Instituted
  • Integrated
  • Performed
  • Planned
  • Proved
  • Revised
  • Revitalized
  • Set up
  • Shaped
  • Streamlined
  • Structured
  • Tabulated
  • Validated
  • Assessed
  • Assisted
  • Clarified
  • Coached
  • Counseled
  • Demonstrated
  • Diagnosed
  • Educated
  • Facilitated
  • Familiarized
  • Guided
  • Inspired
  • Motivated
  • Participated
  • Provided
  • Referred
  • Rehabilitated
  • Reinforced
  • Represented
  • Supported
  • Taught
  • Trained
  • Verified
  • Approved
  • Arranged
  • Catalogued
  • Classified
  • Collected
  • Compiled
  • Dispatched
  • Filed
  • Generated
  • Implemented
  • Inspected
  • Monitored
  • Operated
  • Ordered
  • Organized
  • Prepared
  • Processed
  • Purchased
  • Recorded
  • Retrieved
  • Screened
  • Specified
  • Accelerated
  • Achieved
  • Attained
  • Completed
  • Conceived
  • Convinced
  • Discovered
  • Doubled
  • Effected
  • Eliminated
  • Expanded
  • Expedited
  • Founded
  • Improved
  • Increased
  • Initiated
  • Innovated
  • Introduced
  • Invented
  • Launched
  • Mastered
  • Originated
  • Overcame
  • Overhauled
  • Pioneered
  • Reduced
  • Resolved
  • Revitalized
  • Spearheaded
  • Strengthened
  • Transformed
  • Upgraded

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Finally, skills and leadership experiences are included for the young professional, and optional for the more experienced professional.

The resume, when sent electronically, is always distributed as a .pdf file and is titled as the woman’s last name, for example: Smith.pdf.