Work 2.0: The Deterioration of Professional Decorum

I know. It’s nothing new. Work attire has been devolving for years now, in addition to office environments and professional communications.

In fact, I’m part of the problem. From the very moment I entered the corporate world 5 and 1/2 years ago, I was completely unable to keep up a sense of professional decorum. My business attire became business casual, before eventually becoming an odd mix of too much cleavage + too much frump. My work e-mails were breezy and flip. I couldn’t bring myself to wear dress pumps (I figured black sneakers were close enough…).

Still, those who have work to offer are still appreciators of traditional practices, and an adherence to these practices nowadays can make eager professionals stand out from the rumpled crowd.

After all, aren’t we supposed to be dressing for the job we want, and not just the one we already have? (she says, as her toes dig into the fleece lining of the boot slippers her brother bought her for Christmas…)

After the jump, how to retain your spunky sense of self (we’re freelancers for a reason, after all…) while still maintaining an air of professionalism:

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How To Write Your Way Into the Best Darn Jobs Ever

Back during my TCNJ days, I took this brilliant Advanced Writing class with the brilliant Burton Klein. The most important thing he taught me was that a unique and well-written cover letter could be my biggest asset. Since then, I’ve found myself called into interviews by people who were more intrigued by my cover letter than my credentials, and have had pitches given a second glance by mag editors who were intrigued by the tone of my pitch letter. Since then, I’ve tweaked my technique with the help of subsequent professors, but the lesson has remained the same: All resumes look alike. It’s the accompanying letter that will get you in the door.

Whether you’re applying to a staff job, pitching newspaper and magazine stories, or attempting to net new clients, the ability to write good letter is key. After the jump, all the building blocks of the perfect letter, plus all the eensy weensy details you should always double check:

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