Many of you may be wondering: what’s the deal with Sulley, the job search bulldog? Let me explain his back story, as well as why he is so relevant to job searching. His expertise and will resonate with many, and he already seems to be developing quite the fan club, wiggling his way into the hearts of many, as he did with our family.

We had recently lost my beloved pug, Cheechee, who I adopted at 5. He was 13, kicked cancer twice, and passed away of a variety of health complications, coupled with old age. Our house seemed very quiet without the old guy around, even though we have a few other animals. So, we began looking online to see who was available for adoption, and even started looking at breeders.

My heart was set on another pug (of course), and my husband wanted another bulldog to keep our elderly bully company. So, we looked and looked… and out of the blue found an ad for “This Dog” at Animal Control. They could have branded him better, making up any name as many shelters do, and chose not to. The photo was blurry and sad. The brief summary had explained that he was picked up as a stray, and gave no information about his personality or health condition.

Off we endeavor, on an hour journey, to meet this nameless English Bulldog. When we get to Animal Control, we find a sweet, loving bully, in quarantine for multiple health issues. His ears have terrible red wounds, the fur on his back is balding, he has an eye infection, and is on 2 antibiotics! This poor dog was wandering the streets, but was licking my husband and son through the jail cell, while I was on a line to prequalify to adopt him.

The guys fell in love right away, and I didn’t want another puppy, so he seemed like a good compromise. I agreed, and we were told that if nobody claimed him in 3 days, he was ours. I was cautiously excited, and ran down there again when I got the call that he was ready to come home. This mangy bulldog nearly bowled me over, never mind hugging my son. He was so happy to have owners again and couldn’t stop hugging us.      

We bought him a new collar with a bow tie on it and he was very proud, prancing in circles. When we brought him to the lobby, he hugged every single person there! (The lady in white slacks was the only one not pleased to formally meet him.) He jumped in the car, demanded pets, and kissed me the entire hour home! My son was cracking up, and by the time we got home, I was head over heels in love with this fat, farting dog!

Since he has been a member of the family, we found out he knows “sit” and “paw”. We feel terrible for the family who clearly lost this beautiful dog. After quite a bit of ointments, eye drops, and other medicines, his fur has grown in beautifully, and he is show dog quality! All for $20 and a lifetime commitment to the little guy. He is eternally grateful, and gives hugs and kisses all day. We affectionately call Sulley our shadow, since he follows us everywhere!

How many times has a manager looked over a resume because it was missing a minute detail, instead of seeing the incredible potential a candidate has, if “groomed” a little? How many candidates have passed on sending a resume because they didn’t have one little detail in the job description?

We have a lot to learn from Sulley, the bulldog with the worst presentation at the pound, but with the best attitude out there! Sulley will be sharing tips on Get Hired and Beyond’s facebook page regularly at www.facebook.com/gethiredandbeyond. He may even help me guest blog from time to time.

The moral of the story: there’s a home for every dog and a dog for every home! Don’t get down if you haven’t found the right next career move for yourself. It’s out there! Don’t think of yourself as the dog no one wants because then you really won’t find a home!!!

Your Top 5 Reasons to Wear a Suit to an Interview Are:

1. If you don't, your competition will! Do you want to be known as a second choice because you didn't make a good first impression?

2. No matter what level of position for which you are interviewing, a well pressed, well fitting suit always looks professsional.

3. You want to be considered for the highest job for which you are capable! Most C-level executives don't go into business meetings casually. (I know there are a few companies that tout a very casual atmosphere. Do your research.)

4. Even in a casual environment, a suit draws attention to you, not your clothing.

5. Wearing a suit ensures you are not showing too much skin. (Make sure a skirt suit hits just above the knee or lower.)

Even in the heat in South Florida in August, it's best to err on the side of more professional! As Barney Stinson on "How I Met Your Mother" says: Suit up!!!

5. Splng ErRors/ERrors of Gram-r, or improper use of the English language.
4. You don't live a commutable distance from the job opening. Hint: Another country is NOT a commutable distance!
3. You applied to every advertisement the recruiter posted. We get that you need a job, any job, but for crying out loud, be selective! Desperation isn't attractive on anyone, including a job seeker!
2. Your resume does not showcase what you represent. It is bland, and not focused on contributions. Perhaps 2013 should bring a professionally written resume to your search.
1. Your email address is WAY to personal, showcasing either your age, sexual preferences, or something inappropriate that screams "Too Much Information!"
I understand that many of you are not reading my blog with pockets of disposable income. Many of you are reading it in the hopes of getting ahead with your career, or getting out of an unemployment or underemployment type of situation. Regardless, one thing that is critically important to know in developing a business, brand, or career path is that it takes money to make money!

Things you will need to budget for your job search include:
-A business suit or 2 if you have extra interviews (yep, I am a broken record about that damn suit!)
-Polished and professional business shoes
-Hosiery (women) or nice new socks (men)
-A few classic ties and dress shirts in neutral colors (men)
-Printer ink
-Nice paper for your resume
-A leatherette portfolio in which to present your resume
-Gas/transportation costs, may include overnight if you are open to relocation
-Relocation expenses if the company does not reimburse the full amount

Please make sure you have enough to get in front of the employer. Show the hiring manager how professional you can look and be. Dress for success, and success will follow with the right attitude!

A friend of mine was laid off due to a downturn in business last year. (Sounds familiar?) She was depressed, angry, and frustrated having never been out of a job in her life. (Still familiar, right?) And it took her quite a while to identify what she wanted to do next. She had a great run of success in business to business sales, and unfortunately, very few organizations were hiring. So she did what anyone who (thankfully) has a savings account did, and took a little time off to refocus, regroup, and decide what her plan of attack would be.

During that time, she took a temporary job, but knew this would not be her long term goal. Once focused, it took her SIX WEEKS (that’s it, 6 weeks!) to successfully land a sales job!!! Her resume highlighted both her STABILITY and ACCOMPLISHMENTS. Moreover, she is one of the most likeable people I know, and clicked immediately with her boss! In less than a year afterwards, she has been promoted once and is looking at a second one shortly. She has established credibility, ethics, and trust with her boss. She explained that the key was presenting his information in a way that her boss would value. She wore the shoes of the person in the interviewer’s chair, and told me that to this day, she and her boss see eye to eye on many important key points and values related to the daily operations and upcoming plans. And of course, the boss likes her. It really is a simple formula:

1.     Add value. Document the value you have added to prior companies.
2.     Be likeable. And honest!
3.     When you are working, be the best you can be.
4.     If you and a company work well together, stay there. Have a stable professional background.
5.     Know the next step in your career path. Have a flexible but defined idea of the strategy.

There are millions of people getting new and better jobs each day! Don’t give up!!!

At a job fair event, I met a gentleman who impressed me so much and was a consummate professional. He was well spoken, and chatted with me while I was setting up my audio-visual presentation. During this time, he joked around with me and was personable and funny.

After the presentation, he thanked me politely for my time, and followed up with me shortly after on Facebook and LinkedIn. His follow up was impeccable, and based on the professional presentation he offered, I would eagerly refer him to anyone I know for a job.

Take a page out of this gentleman's book. Smile. Laugh. Network with people as though they are people and not just a means to a job. They will remember it and respect you for it!
I provide career counseling in South Florida. It’s a natural sauna here, almost year round. I understand that it is hot, as I have lived here almost my entire life. However, if you want to be treated like a professional, you need to dress like one and act like one too! (Oh boy, I am really starting to sound like my mother!)

My candidates and students regularly argue with me about why they don’t want to wear a suit. Notice, there is no blog article entitled “Top 5 Reasons Not to Wear a Suit.” That is not a coincidence!

When I speak at job fairs, I see people dress all kinds of ways, from business suits to jogging suits, to (please believe me, although I was quite shocked) bathing suits! After I speak at these engagements, many times I read comments following the fair about how employers didn’t want to meet with you or give you the time of day. Perhaps, that’s because you did not create the impression that you wanted to be hired at a glance, by putting on the damn suit! If you are not dressed to be in management for your initial interview, when it comes time for promotion, you will be overlooked due to creating a less than impressive first impression.

At one speech, I asked if anyone would take me seriously as a subject matter expert if I were wearing jeans and flip flops. Not one person raised their hand. When I explained that I had worked from home for some time, and that was typically how I dressed for work, it still did not change their mind. Because…wearing a business suit establishes a level of visual credibility. (This does not mean it is the only reason you will get hired).

Men, that means a tie. Women, that means pantyhose. It sucks. I wear them too. Because, I like getting hired! And I like getting promoted even more!

When presenting at local employment fairs, I meet many individuals who are "career unemployed", that is, individuals who have been out of work for at least 2 to 3 years. Before they speak, I am able to pick this group out of the crowd. Their body language is dejected. These people are no longer excited about being somewhere or talking to another person about a job. These 3 steps should help.

1. Dress professionally! Really professionally! Just because a track suit has the word "suit" in the name does not mean that it is a good wardrobe choice. Leave your shower shoes at home. I am saying this because last week, these were actually issues at the job fair where I spoke. 

Do not dress for the entry level position for which you are applying. Dress for the job you would like to eventually grow into. If you want to be the manager in 5 years, look as though you would present well to clients and subordinates.   Please be aware that the tattoo on your neck or the piercing in your cheek many not be appealing at a certain level of job. I am not against either, but there is a time and a place, and your job search should target your most professional persona.

2. Smile! The easiest way for me to pick the career unemployed people out at the job fair is because they look like they showed up at gunpoint. I know that you may be thinking: "Another job fair and very little prospect. Great! I got dressed up because my unemployment counselor told me to, and no one is that interested..." No one is that interested because you are not interesting. You are feeling sorry for yourself!

Put your best foot forward in every interaction. There are a handful of people there who are engaging every recruiter at the job fair. They are being personable and likeable. People hire who they like!!!

Even if the people who are hiring are not in your field, have a brief conversation. Give them a resume and personal business card. Set yourself apart. Ask for referrals. Network with the professionals who are there. They may know someone who can assist you.

3. Be confident! A firm (not bone crushing and not a limp fish) handshake, good eye contact, and strong posture will go a long way. Fake it 'til you make it. Come off as professional and people will want to have you on their team.

In short, be engaging, prepared, professionally dressed, and cheerful. Be the person you would want to work with. Be the person you would eventually want to work for. When you present as a successful professional, people believe you. And the money comes rolling in!