How do you know when you’ve found “The One” in your career? When you’re looking for “the one” you have a checklist of things you want in a significant other. There are certain things you can compromise on, and those you need fulfilled to be happy. Like finding that perfect person, finding the right job has its own checklist as well. Have no fear, we’ve got 5 top areas that most tech professionals can match their desires up with in order know it’s the right offer and the right company:
1. Personal Goals
Even before you start your job search, sit down to think about your personal goals, values and what makes you happy. Once you access that, start looking for jobs and going on interviews, stop and ask yourself, “Does this company align with my values and goals?” It’s easy to get caught up in the red carpet treatment. When companies want to woo you, they’ll offer you all the good things: free lunches, dinners, drinks, etc. The celebrity treatment will eventually fade away, so don’t get caught up in all the flashy things. The right job will be lined up with your values and goals, which will make you happier in the long-run.
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Innovative companies will have new ideas they want to implement, or aggressive updates on current product offerings for continuous improvement. You should feel excited about the project you’re going to be on, the new technologies you’ll be working with, and all the things you’re going to learn. You probably don’t want to be a part of a stagnant company with an existing product that they do nothing but maintain; these aren’t going to be the type of companies that can adapt to a constantly changing environment.
3. Mission and Outlook
When you find the perfect person you often envision your life with them five or maybe ten years down the road. It’s the same with a job. You have to envision what the next few years will look like with this company. How are their stocks looking? (Or maybe they’re a startup and not publicly traded.) How much funding do they receive? All these questions can help you anticipate how the company will look in five or ten years. You want to make sure the company you’re working for is in a market where they can expand their product and grow. The right job will have a good outlook for you in the next few years, without worrying about the company heading in a different, more volatile direction.
4. Company Culture
Seeing how your significant other interacts with family and friends can provide a window into whether it will be a lasting relationship. Similarly, knowing how a company treats their employees will give insight into what your office life will be like on a day-today basis. Furthermore, how people communicate and work together is crucial, since that’s the atmosphere you’ll ultimately need to communicate in and work with. Take a look at the environment and how the office is laid out; it can be a big factor in finding a place that not only fits your personality but your needs and desires as well. Do you need a collaborative, open workspace or a quiet, secluded area to concentrate? Another aspect to look for? Humility: a company with little ego is less likely to put their egos before the employees. The right job will allow you to voice your own opinions when needed.
Want a company that treasures work life balance? Check out these job listings.
5. Work-Life Balance
Balance is everything in life. There’s work life and then there is life outside of work. The right company will give you the best of both worlds: the ability to live the life you want and be able to do the work you love. Sometimes those two can be one and the same. Many companies, especially tech companies or startups, require a lot of around the clock work, and that might be your cup of tea. Either way, the right job will align with how you want to live your life.
Bonus key area, if you still don't know if it's the one? Growth.
Finding the one – the job or love of your life – can have the same goal at the end of the day: both make you want to be a better person. The right job will enable you to grow professionally and personally. You should be able to climb the corporate ladder, and not feel stuck in a bad relationship with your company. Growing and learning is important, so you should be able to find ways throughout your job experience to continuously evolve.
Ready to start job searching? Here are some resources to help guide you to a job you’ll love:
All but the final hurdle between a software engineer and an offer, the technical interview is important to ace for everyone from first-time job seekers all the way to lead developers that can code in their sleep. Practice (and preparation) makes perfect, though, so here are 6 tips to how to get past the technical interview to negotiating the offer you deserve:
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1. Be Ready to Whiteboard: This is generally a go-to interview tactic for tech companies to evaluate engineers during the interview process. It’s always smart to practice solving technical questions on a white board to see how your brain operates/critically thinks when not in front of the computer.
2. Be Ready for Core Principles and Basics: Always make sure to brush up on any programming languages that may be rusty. Expect to be asked questions ranging from the fundamentals of certain languages to some higher-level concepts. For example, if you are interviewing for a PHP job, it is helpful to brush up on the fundamentals of the LAMP Stack and the MySQL Database.
3. Be Ready With Code Samples: It’s always a good idea to bring code samples and github profiles with you to the interview. Companies are looking for writing ability and the ability to communicate technical thoughts through code documentation.
4. Be Ready With Questions: An important part of the process is to ask questions about the role to show that you are interested and engaged. Make sure to prepare 2-3 questions to ask at the end of the interview that show genuine interest and thought.
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5. Be Prepared to Close Strongly: Once the testing is over, that doesn't mean the interview is. Maintain a professional image and don't let the end of the interview fall flat like a bad ending to a great movie. Be enthusiastic and summarize why you're the best for the role.
6. Be Ready for Follow-Up: Sending a thank you note is always a good thing to do when you finish any interview process with a company, but it's easy to forget while focusing on the tech. You want the company and the people you met with to remember you for the right reasons. Always address why you would be a good fit for the role and bring it back to the job description and what was covered in the interview.
If you do all of these things, the odds of you getting a final-round interview, or better yet a job offer, will increase significantly. So always remember, preparation is the key to success in landing your dream job.
Related career advice you may be interested in:
GitHub is one of the most important tools available to programmers, managers, and other professionals in the tech space. According to GitHub’s website, there are 11.6M people collaborating right now across 29.1M repositories on GitHub. The question is, how can you use this in your job search?
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Prospective developers, proven ninjas, and coding wizards, if you’re contending for a new position without a GitHub account, you’re actually already one step behind. Here are 6 reasons you absolutely need to be using GitHub to make yourself a more desirable candidate:
- Having side projects will help you with your job search. Not only will it give you something deeper to talk about in conjuction with your current role, but also gives you the chance to develop a passion and show off your entrepreneurial side. There a number of reasons a side project could put you a notch above another candidate in a close race.
- It’s becoming expected. The hiring manager will be researching your GitHub account, and may even request your information alongside a resume. Take a few days to polish your account and add some non-proprietary examples of code that you have worked on. These days, companies might be a little worried if you don’t have a GitHub account.
- Some companies leverage GitHub in their own processes. Hiring managers are creating tech tests and small projects for candidates to complete as a way to vet talent. In the workplace, teams of programmers are able to store their work and access any changes that other team members make in real-time. Being well-versed in the system is a skill in and of itself.
- GitHub is a community where you can meet other developers. You can network, connect, comment on, discuss, share your work, collaborate on projects or build upon others’ efforts. In a word, use GitHub to “engage.” You never know, that partner on a project could be your next employer.
- It can demonstrate your skills. Many companies won't interview someone without code samples, and often job seekers cannot share their code because it's proprietary. With GitHub you can post projects outside of work. With that said, don't be afraid to post unfinished projects! Many times, technologists are hesitant to do this, but it can actually reveal a lot about who you are as a developer and show your thought process.
- You’re expanding upon your tech knowledge. Learning new languages that you’re not currently using at work, or honing skills that you'd like to keep growing, is important - especially if you’re working for a company with an old code base or spending most of your time doing maintenance instead of new coding. Managers love to see people who are passionate about technology and spend time outside of work researching the newest frameworks and languages.
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Beginning a job search and interviewing for a new position can be an intimidating task. Which items should I put on or leave off my resume? Which topics should I prepare for? How do I deal with questions that I don’t have answers to? With a few pointers, you can get organized and put yourself in the best possible position for your interview. Here's a quick guide on how to nail an interview.
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1. Let’s start with the very first thing: your resume. This is the first impression that you make on your next potential employer; it needs to be a good one! There are a lot of misconceptions about what to list, and what not to list on your resume. Take a long hard look at what you're including and how you're including it. Here are some "dos and don'ts":
- Do make sure that you are concise and to the point with everything you include.
- Don’t make the mistake of making things sound a lot more complicated than they were.
- Do start with a simple and clear objective. The objective should (obviously) line-up with the position that you are applying to.
- Do make sure your resume reflects the role that you are applying for. For instance, if you are applying to an individual contributor opening, it doesn’t make sense to list that you are seeking a managerial position.
- Don’t go overboard and list every technology and skill known to man in an effort to attract interest. If a technology or skill is listed on your resume, it's fair game to be asked about in the interview. Stick to what you are comfortable and confident using.
- Do include skill level. If you have basic experience in some technologies and skills, indicate that.
- Do focus on your experience. One of the biggest pet peeves for hiring managers is when they ask about a skill, and the candidate’s response being somewhat along the lines of, “I haven’t done much work with that.” Hiring managers are more interested in the work that you’ve done than seeing a long list of skills. Spend most of your time showing employers how you’ve used your skills rather than listing technologies or skill sets.
- Don't write an encyclopedia, last but not least. Try and keep your resume to 2 pages max.
2. Have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile, and research your interviewer. This is basic, and most people have done this already, but it's important to have an updated profile as LinkedIn is probably the most used tool by both employers and job-seekers. You'll open yourself up to a number of different opportunities, and give employers the chance to come and find you. This is also a great way to learn about people you will be meeting with in upcoming interviews. Take the time to research the people that you’ll be meeting to see if you share any common connections, and to learn more about their background. These will all be great topics of discussion when it’s your turn to talk and ask questions during the interview. Interviewers will be happy to see that you’ve taken the time to do research on them, an indicator to them that you’re taking the interview seriously.
3. Do your homework on the company that you are meeting with. Make sure you have as good of an understanding as possible of what the company does, and what some of their products are. When it’s your turn to ask questions in the interview, don’t be the person that asks, “So, what exactly does your company do?” As obvious as this sounds you’ll be surprised at how often people make this mistake. This is one of the biggest turn offs to potential employers, and gives the impression that you don’t have any real interest in the position.
4. Have examples ready to go. Make sure you have at least 1 or 2 projects that you’ve worked on recently that you’re most proud of and ready to talk about. Every interview has a portion where candidates are expected to discuss and explain in details the projects that they’ve worked on in the past. Employers are often going to be interested in the most recent projects that you’ve worked on, so make sure you can explain those fully. On top of that, if there are projects that you’ve worked on in the past that are directly related to the role then make sure to bring these up. Don’t gloss over the projects either - go into specific details. Employers are interested in hearing why you chose to design and develop things in a certain manner.
During the Interview
Ok, now you’ve made it to the interview. How do you conduct yourself? What should you always remember?
1. Answer questions directly. Be sure to pay attention to the question that is being asked, and focus on answering that question alone. Do not go off onto a different subject, and start talking about a completely different topic. There will be opportunities for you later in the interview to bring up topics that you’d like to discuss.
2. Be honest about your skill set. Similar to listing skills on your resume, if you’re asked a question that you don’t know the answer to, don’t pretend to know the answer! Chances are the person asking you the question knows the right answer, so pretending to know the answer and giving a wrong answer will be a detriment to your candidacy. Let the interviewer know that you don’t know the answer to that question….but don’t stop there! Try and come up with a solution to the problem based on what you know about the topic. Employers are often very interested in seeing what type of problem solving skills potential employees have, and to see their thought process.
3. Remember, it’s okay not to know everything. On that note, it’s not okay to have no initiative to take on new challenges. Rarely are employers going to find a candidate that has 100% of the skills that they’re looking for. Part of the reason you’re probably looking for a new job is to learn new skills, and most employers know this. Show them that you’re able to pick up new skills quickly by proposing a solution to the problem, even if you don't have those hard skills yet.
4. Don’t let a rude interviewer rattle you. There will be times when you run into interviewers who come off as impolite. There could be a couple of reasons for this, or maybe the person genuinely is a rude person. Don’t let that put you off for the rest of the interview. After meeting with him/her, you may decide that this company is not the right place for you, and that’s okay. Just keep calm through the interview and make a positive impression. You never know when you might cross paths with them again. Another reason the person might have this demeanor is because they’re using an interview tactic; working in engineering and IT is known to have situations that end up being high pressure and stressful. Some employers want to see how certain people will react when they’re put in uncomfortable and high-stress situations. Continue to do what you’ve been doing in the interview, and don’t let this bother you.
5. Engage your interviewers….at the appropriate times. Always remember that the interview is a platform for the employer to assess your skills, and see if you are a fit for their company. Yes, it is also a time for you to figure out whether or not the company is a fit for you, but there will be an opportunity for you to do that. When you are given the opportunity make sure that you have questions prepared, and topics to discuss with them. You need to show the employer that you are genuinely interested in the position. Start with questions specifically about the company, and the job itself. Leave compensation/benefits questions for later. You don’t want to give off an impression that those things are the only important topics for you. Employers are going to want to hire people who are interested in the company because of the project and how you will be contributing.
Get more tips on how to interview from a Workbridge office near you.
Always remember to follow-up with a thank you note after your interview. This may seem like a trivial gesture, but it could be the differentiator between you and other candidates. There are many times where an employer is struggling to decide between 2-3 candidates, and end up hiring the candidate that wrote the thank-you note because it was that one extra something. This will show your appreciation for being considered for the position, and gives you another opportunity to show your interest in the job.
- The letter doesn’t need to be too long, but also shouldn’t be a generic short letter. You want to show that you actually put some time and thought into writing the letter.
- That means it should not look like you googled an outline and filled in blanks.
- In the letter, thank the manager for setting up the interview and having his team set aside time to meet with you.
- Bring up specific parts of the interview that you enjoyed, and specific reasons as to why you’re interested in the job.
- Close the letter out with something along the lines of you look forward to hearing from them regarding their decision, and if there are any questions they have they should contact you.
That’s a quick guide to interviewing. Good luck job-seekers!
Written by: Aadil Alavi, Lead Recruiter of Workbridge Silicon Valley
Article written by Jaime Vizzuett, Practice Manager at Workbridge Orange County
So you did it, you’ve completed your college degree or spent a tireless amount of weeks learning to code in a hardcore bootcamp – congratulations! But now what? While everyone’s career path will be unique and there’s no step-by-step guide to getting you to a C-Level position within x-amount of years, there are definitely career moves you can make to set yourself up for the success you’re looking for.
As a Practice Manager at a highly-recommended tech recruiting agency in Orange County, CA, I’ve come across plenty of Junior-level engineers seeking to get into a Mid-level role to advance their career. For those not qualified for the position, my dedicated team and I were able to give those candidates feedback on how they can better brand themselves, and what skill set was needed to turn them into a highly sought after candidate. We focus on the Orange County and San Diego tech markets and have close relationships with hiring managers at companies as small as startups all the way up to Fortune 500’s. Because of this, we know what hiring managers are looking for in Junior to Mid-level engineers. Below are the five smartest moves to make after graduating from a dev bootcamp or college with your C.S. degree:
Build Your Brand
Update your Linkedin profile to include a personal summary, a work or project summary and include your skills in the appropriate sections. Nowadays this is one of the major ways recruiters from companies and agencies get connected with you about a job you may be the right fit for.
Get on Github. For many hiring managers this is a 'nice-to-have' but for junior engineers this is especially crucial as it may be the only thing a manager has to look at.
Connect with a Dedicated Recruiter
Find a dedicated technical recruiter who specializes in positions where you’re looking to work or understands your skill set. Even if they can’t offer you a position right off the bat, inquire about interview advice, resume tips or keep in touch with them for later on in your career.
Network and Get Noticed
If you haven’t yet tried out the networking aspect of looking for a job, step out of your comfort zone and add it to your to-do list. Meetups and networking events such as the one that my company organizes for tech professionals, Tech in Motion, are a great way to get your name out in front of an influential group of people.
When you are vocal about your employment status, you might find your next mentor or even your next job at an event or job fair, so make sure to put your best foot forward.
You will hear it over and over again, but keeping up with the newest technology is crucial in any market. Every company wants someone who has experience with the trendy new technology that very few other engineers have, so being ahead of the curve will set you apart.
Just because you have been on the market for a few weeks, doesn’t mean you should lose motivation. Great things take time! Every company has different needs. You just need to find one that fits your criteria and vice versa, and sometimes that takes time.
Bottom line is that building your reputation in a way that advances your career will take time. Following these steps will point you in the right direction and hopefully help you find a job that you truly will be passionate about. By staying up-to-date with technology, networking and building your own brand, you will find the search more successful.
Article by Miles Thomas, Practice Manager in Workbridge Philadelphia
Tech startups from all over the country come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and types. From established entrepreneurs who have already sold multiple companies to college seniors working out of a basement, software engineers and businessmen alike have dreams of solving the ailments of the world, one solution at a time. To start an LLC isn’t all that difficult these days either; all you need is an idea, a working space, a computer, and (for some) a bottomless pot of coffee. Sounds easy, right?
Well, as integral as elbow grease and caffeine are for any start-up, a direction may be the most important thing for any would-be entrepreneurs out there. One direction that is integral to technology companies is the different layers of technologies used to accomplish whatever problem they are trying to solve; this is known as the technology stack. There are many different kinds of technology out there, but most companies land either between one comprised of open source technologies (also called Open Stack) or a proprietary technology owned by another company (.NET owned by Microsoft, or Java owned by Oracle). So, what is the best choice for all you startups out there? Read on…
Above, is an illustration of some of the different layers of a technology stack, and the options that an entrepreneur would have for each.
It's well known amongst most tech savvy individuals that open source tech stacks seem to be all the rage amongst startups. After all, not only are open source technologies free to use for you bootstrappers out there, but there are a variety of different programming languages to use depending on what you’re trying to do. Need to use a functional programming language for reactive application design? Use Python or Scala. Need to do simple website development for clients big and small? Use PHP or Ruby on Rails. With so many tools at your disposal, the possibilities truly are endless.
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Java and .NET may not be as flashy or wide-ranging, but they do offer an array of different tools. With different frameworks and API’s designated to each company’s respective programming languages, Microsoft and Oracle do not leave their users without ammunition. Furthermore, there are defined boundaries for what tool to use and when- this can be extremely valuable for someone who doesn’t necessarily know their way around the latest and greatest.
The boundaries presented by a Java/.NET stack come at a cost, quite literally. The obvious downside of proprietary programming languages is that they can be quite costly; this can be a huge deal-breaker for a small startup with little to no funding. For a smaller company looking to stay afloat, spending what little money they have on-hand for something they can get for free seems foolish (on paper, at least).
At the end of the day, picking programming languages is all about circumstance. If a company has the money to spend, Java/.NET may be the way to go. If a company is strapped for cash, or if one of their founders has a background in some kind of open source language/framework, then open source may be the way to go. Given the convergence of the current technology landscape, however, it may not be long before it won’t really matter!
Article written by Jaime Vizzuett, Practice Manager of Workbridge Orange County
As many know, the tech market is a candidate’s market. There are very few exceptional engineers with a solid background, and a lot of job opportunities - with the Open Source market being no different. People hire people because of a particular skillset, whether it’s an architect or a junior candidate, regardless of the industry. As Practice Manager at Workbridge Associates Orange County, specializing in placing candidates with Open Source Technology backgrounds, I’ve found that in addition to a particular skillset, hiring managers desire a candidate who displays selective traits, especially in the Open Source market.
Before getting into these traits, it is important to understand that companies which use Open Source technologies are most likely startups. This doesn’t mean that every company that uses Open Source technologies falls in the same category, but there is definitely a trend. That being said, I spoke with a few of my managers from Corporate to Startup companies and asked them what they look for in a potential employee or contract employee.
The following are the top four traits hiring managers are looking for in tech job seekers with an Open Source background.
1. Jack Of All Trades, Master of One
You can do a little of everything, but if you aren’t great at something, then find out what you’re most interested in and hone those skills. One of my hiring managers mentioned, “It’s always nice to see a wide variety of skills on a candidate's resume, but I also expect them to know the fundamental basics of whatever they have on their resume.” There is no problem with having a variety of skill sets, or being a “full-stack” engineer, just make sure to focus on one skill, and be great at it. Bottom-line is no one wants to hire an engineer that is a, “Jack of all trades, and a master of none.”
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2. Be Trendy
You will hear it over and over again, but keeping up with the newest technology is crucial in any market, and especially in Open Source. The Open Source market is always going to have a floodgate of new technologies, whether it’s Angular.js or a new version of Symfony. Every company wants someone with the trendy new technology that very few engineers have, so being ahead of the curve will set you apart. Having newer technologies in your arsenal could really make the difference between simply getting an interview and getting the job.
3. Get Social
Github should be every engineer’s best friend. This is not necessarily a trait, but more like a “nice-to-have”, as one of my hiring managers put it. This is especially crucial for junior Open-Source developers trying to land the job, simply because sometimes Github may be the only example of work that a hiring manager has to look at. Whether it’s through Github, a forum, or social media – having some type of social presence that shows you are passionate and invested in technology is a plus. As the Director of Software Development at a company I work with put it, “I’d rather bring in a junior engineer who shows initiative, passion and hunger to learn more, and Github helps me depict that.”
4. Know Who You Are And What You Want
Hopefully you are looking to find a company that is going to challenge you and allow you to continue to expand your skillset, but also one that fits what you look for culturally. As a hiring manager, building a culture is all contingent on the people they onboard, which is why the face to face interview is the most important interview of the process. The onsite interview really allows both the candidate and company to figure out if they are a fit for each other. Neither every candidate nor every company is necessarily going to mesh perfectly, but they should mesh enough to be able to spend most of their time together.
While technology is always advancing, hiring managers will continue to look for these traits in open source job seekers. Companies will always be looking for the next best talent that can take them to the next level and if you’re a job seeker, I hope the points I mentioned will be taken into consideration as you progress through your career.
Article by Melissa Gallagher, Lead Recruiter at Workbridge New York
The first thing a hiring manager sees after a resume is you. Persona and presentation can make or break the decision to move forward with a candidate. This goes not just in interviewing but in relationship building. Presentation is everything in our society and something many people in technology forget to focus on during the interview process. One of the main questions I get from my candidates is: how should I dress?
In the past, we were told to dress in business professional for every interview regardless of a company’s dress code. Nowadays, however, it's quite different. It’s imperative that you take the proper steps to understand the company culture when dressing for interviews. For example, if interviewing at a financial company, you should be wearing a suit and a tie. If you’re going to a new, hip startup you should avoid a suit and tie at all costs. It can be difficult to know what the actual culture is if you’ve never been to the office and you have only looked at their website. In such situations, the best thing to do is to reach out to your company contact or give the front desk a call to ask what the dress attire is. I would also recommend searching the “team” or “about us” page for company photos. Once you’ve heard what the dress attire is, or have searched photos online, you should lean on more of the conservative side and dress up a bit for the interview. This DOES NOT mean tie or jacket, but might mean taking an iron to your shirt and wearing nicer shoes than usual.
Below are three common company environments and what to wear for each interview.
For companies that have a “business” or “conservative” dress code, stick to more of a classic and basic outfit for the first interview.
Men: Wear your traditional suit (i.e. blue, black or grey) and make sure your dress shoes are shined and your suit and shirt is wrinkle-free.
Women: Wear a traditional suit— whether it be a jacket with pants or a skirt and stick to colors such as dark grey, navy or black. Finish the look with a briefcase OR a purse, a basic pair of black pumps and simple jewelry for a winning outfit.
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A business causal environment will allow for a lot more freedom depending on how causal the office is.
Men: This could mean slacks and a button-down dress shirt. Leaning more on the conservative side of business causal, this may mean black, navy or grey dress slacks with a button-down shirt, tie and dress shoes. On the more casual side of the spectrum, you may want to forgo the tie and even wear khaki pants.
Women: Think about what you would normally wear to work at this company, and then dress it up a bit. For example, you could wear a dark skirt and blouse or a shift dress and cardigan.
Interviews at startups can be pretty tricky. Candidates want to fit in and show that they understand the company culture but look professional at the same time.
Men: Try a collared shirt with a sweater on top of that and pair that with jeans and closed-toe shoes.
Women: “Casual chic” should be the term that comes to mind when dressing for a startup interview. Wear something that you are comfortable in, represents you and is work-appropriate. This could mean a pair of dark jeans, simple shirt/sweater, and flats or even a causal dress would be appropriate too.
In all, we need to remember that presentation is everything especially when you are in a first interview setting. How well you take care of yourself can tell a lot about how you are as a person. Clean, put together, organized, etc. You don’t have to be the cleanest and proper person, but having a clean, ironed outfit can win you a job. In any interview you have, make sure you take some of these steps and be proactive about what to wear!