How to dress for success
You probably don’t need to be told that it’s important to reflect the most professional and appropriate image towards potential employers at a job interview. But if you have no clue what is considered “professional” or “appropriate”, read on.
Studies show that it takes on average about 2 years to eliminate a negative first impression, and your physical presentation can affect the impression you make.
“You might be surprised at how many young people have no idea what is considered appropriate to wear for interviews” said Jovana Ubiparip, hiring manager at one of Vancouver’s busiest downtown restaurants.
“Your look must be impeccable and put-together regardless of the position you’re interviewing for” explained Ubiparip who interviews about 5 – 10 people a month, mostly youth, for a myriad of positions.
Although it takes more in-depth coaching to achieve a confident presence, it is easier to control how you look. By dressing well and taking good care of your physical appearance, you will impress the interviewer from the get-go and with that out of the way you will be able to focus more on your interview skills.
Here are a few rules to follow to make sure you are dressed appropriately for your first job interview:
1: First, do some research on the industry and the organization to determine their “style” and culture. Always dress “one up” from what you see. Remember, it’s always better to be over-dressed than under-dressed! Don’t be afraid to show your personality, but keep your look classy at all times.
2: Long sleeves are essential to a “take-me-serious” look. A tailored jacket or blazer is a must, but if it’s not available, make sure that at least you’re wearing a long-sleeve shirt.
“There is nothing worse than showing up in a tank-top with visible bra straps” noted Ubiparip.
3: Stay away from shorts, t-shirts, jeans, mini-skirts, pants that are too low-rise or too tight, blouses that are too tight, too low-cut or too short to make sure you’re not showing any cleavage or belly. Shorts and t-shirts are too informal, while shorter skirts tend not to leave much to the imagination.
4: For girls, wearing socks or hosiery is non-negotiable. Having bare legs screams unprofessional and adding that extra layer ensures a more polished and complete look.
5: For business wear, shoe styles must be closed-toe and closed-heel and they must be in mint condition. For girls, consider a pump with 1’’ – 2’’ heel for the added lift but no higher.
Girls and guys should avoid platforms, strappy sandals, sneakers or flip-flops no matter the time of year. Nicked heels, scruffy toes, or unpolished footwear make you seem careless and unkempt. Same goes for your clothing: check your outfit for holes, tears, stains, scuffs and wrinkles.
6: In our society, well-applied makeup conveys high self-esteem and confidence. Keep it light with natural foundation and blush, mascara and neutral eyes and lips.
7: Carry a briefcase or simple folder to hold important papers. Don’t wear a backpack, fanny pack or any other non-professional gear carriers.
8: If you are wearing a new suit, try it out beforehand. There is nothing worse than baggy, overly tight or dragging pant legs.
9: Eliminate distracting fashion statements such as overlong, ornate fingernails, exotic hair-dos, overly trendy or flashy clothing including too much colour, too bright, too shiny, distracting glitter and too many accessories or flashy jewelery. Always remember to tone down the perfume or body spray.
10: A stylish and neat haircut is essential to a professional image. A great hair cut saves you time because it’s far easier to style. Always remember to wash and care for your hair in preparation of the big day.
By following these simple rules, anyone can be seen as attractive and professional and you’ll be sure to land the job.