I’ve been reading up lately on how first impressions can make all the difference whether you are interviewing for a new job or going on a blind date. How you present yourself and what you wear matters. Confidence plays a big part but you also have to be comfortable in what you are wearing. When I volunteer at Women Helping Women, I get to see a person’s confidence grow each time I help someone find the right professional clothing at the right fit. Looking as sharp as you can for an interview is essential in today’s job market when the competition is so fierce. I read a statistic that there are 6 job seekers for every job opening. If you are job hunting right now then that may even seem low to you. When you apply for jobs on CareerBuilder.com, they kindly send you an email reporting the statistics for the job to which you applied. It will tell you things like how many people applied and how many of them have a degree. In today’s job market this information can be very discouraging, especially when they are saying that over 100 people have applied to the same job you did and more than half of them have a degree. This means that landing the interview is harder than ever so when you do actually get the interview, looking your best is very important. Here are five tips for dressing for success.
1. Dress Conservatively
A job interview is not the time for tight fitting, revealing clothing. Nor is it the time for dangling earrings, multiple piercings, showing off your tattoos, bright nail polish or makeup, and big hair. Your clothes should be simple, tailored, and in neutral colors. A suit is preferable in either black, brown, beige, or navy blue. Skirts should be just above the knee or below. Blazers should look like they fit you well, this might mean taking it to a tailor. When purchasing a suit keep in mind the cost of having it tailored if the suit doesn’t fit you quite right. If you are on a budget, check the clearance racks or check out your local thrift store. I scored a $100 suit at Kohls last season on the clearance rack for $20!
2. Collect Key Pieces
Some key pieces for a professional wardrobe include: A suit, a few blouses, a pencil skirt, a few dresses (one of which should be black), black pumps, a few cardigans, stockings, and a few blazers to choose from. When you are on a budget the key is to choose pieces that have multiple possibilities, meaning you can pair them with other pieces from your existing wardrobe. This way when you get the job you have a basic wardrobe to build from and as long as you are switching up your wardrobe combinations no one will notice you are wearing the same pieces over and over again. When looking at expensive pieces, keep in mind the costs of tailoring, dry cleaning, and how often you think you will wear it. Add the costs (price of the item, tailoring and dry cleaning expenses) then divide it by the frequency of which you will wear the piece and you will have the cost per wear. If the cost per wear is too high for your budget then move on.
3. Groom Yourself
Your hair should be pulled out of your face. Unkempt hair gives off the impression that you are sloppy, lazy or even unorganized. Your makeup should be neutral giving you a natural radiance but nothing too over powering or distracting. Your nails should be groomed and if you choose to have them polished then choose neutral colors, clear or a french manicure. Leave the bright nail polish, eye shadows, and heavy dark eye liner at home.
Minimize your accessories choosing simple pieces. Wear stud earrings instead of something that dangles. Keep bracelets and necklaces simple leaving your expensive flashy jewelry at home. The last thing you want to do is distract your interviewer. You want them to remain engaged and focused on what you are saying not what you are wearing.
5. Hand Bags & Scarves
Keep your hand bag along the same theme as your outfit making sure it’s a neutral tone. Choose something that you can wear with multiple outfits whether it be a classic black, brown, beige, navy blue or white bag. Avoid looking like the bag lady by keeping it small and easy to manage. Other options are a small brief case, a clutch, or a professional leather binder that zips closed. When choosing a scarf don’t be afraid to add a little color as long as some aspect of it matches your outfit. Wear it around your neck, tie it to your purse, or tuck it into your breast pocket on your suit. Scarves add a professional touch and a little bit of color to your outfit without being too distracting.
Now you know how to dress to snag that job! For more tips on professional dress or to schedule a consultation, please feel free to contact me by clicking “Contact Me” at the top of this page!
Wishing you the best of luck in your job hunt!