Job Interviews: Dress for Success

A What to Wear Guide for your Job Interview

Congratulations! You’ve been invited for an interview!

This is good news… you spent hours honing your CV and your application form ticked every box against the job’s requirements. Your covering email or letter was spot-on and you obviously impressed the reviewer – well done!
So, here’s the not so good news… you now have to live up to the impression that your application gave!

What are you going to wear to that all important interview?

After all, research has shown that you only have one chance to make the right impression – you rarely get a second chance. Sylvie di Giusto who wrote The Image of Leadership says, “You have only seven seconds! Make them count!” She adds, “Everyone knows the old saying, ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover.’ The hard reality is that every day, in countless similar situations, we’re judged by our covers—that is, our clothing, our accessories, our hair, our hands, our shoes. We can say it’s not fair, but it’s the law of the jungle.” In fact, around 90% of a first impression comes from your appearance; not just what you wear but also what you have with you and your body language and facial expressions. So how are you going to make that great, and more importantly, lasting first impression?

Look the Part, Act the Part, Be the Part

  • Go for a conservative look, not a flashy one, and err on the side of being over-dressed rather than under-dressed.
  • Dress appropriately for the job you’re applying for, and take account of the environment and dress code of the company. Sounds straightforward but I know a guy who went for a Graphic Designer job and was unsuccessful because he went to his first interview dressed like a bank manager!
  • Dark colours always look smart and professional but avoid falling into the black widow or undertaker trap! If you choose to wear black, personalise and brighten your outfit with a colourful accessory or two, like a scarf or tie and/or a pocket square.
  • Remember the basics of a neat appearance: clean hands and fingernails, brushed teeth and fresh breath, clean and combed hair, a fresh smell, nice clothes and shined shoes.
  • Beware of the adverb ‘too’… too short, too tight, too baggy, too low-cut, too bright, too see-through, too high, or simply too much!
  • Jacket or jumper/cardigan? A jacket will always cut the mustard but a smart jumper or cardigan can look just as smart. (However, note the second point.)
  • Tie or not? Again, be appropriate and more importantly, be comfortable (and confident). If you are going to feel ‘trussed up’ with a tie on and end up fiddling with your collar, it’s probably best not to wear one.
  • Jeans? In some instances very dark jeans can cut it but make sure they are dressed-up with a smart shirt and jacket.

Leave a Lasting Impression

Just like a bad desert can ruin a good meal, others will remember what you leave them with! So leave with a positive parting line that you have prepared, a smile and a firm handshake, and walk out of the room with your head held high leaving a great, lasting impression. You’ll then be in with the best chance of being short-listed or best of all, securing that job.

Good luck!

A guest article from Dee Becker – Marketing Specialist & Professional Style Coach™. A specialist in communication and presentation, Dee uses her business expertise in Sales and Marketing together with her certified image consultancy training, to provide insightful coaching and mentoring, with personal hands-on help and support, to private clients and companies as well as schools and colleges, to achieve measurable results. For more information about Dee and the services she offers please visit her website or email her at dee@deebecker.co.uk. Style Coach™ is a trademark of the Style Coaching Institute® Ltd.

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