I’ve only recently found your blog, and I’ve learnt more about style in the past few weeks than I have in my previous 46 years !!!
One thing that I’ve searched for but not found, is dressing for job interviews (I may be a bit biased as I’ve got one coming up soon). My situation is probably quite common in that I have to wear a uniform at work (healthcare), and so I’m never quite sure what is appropraite for an interview. I’d be interested to know your thoughts.
A job interview is really important – you get one chance to impress so you need to make it count. You want to appear credible, reliable, professional, capable, forward-thinking, approachable and able to do the job better than any other candidate. So how do you create this image?
Different industries call for different looks, but for many interviews it’s fairly standard to dress up in a suit or at least include a jacket in your outfit even if the dress code is a little more relaxed.
Consider too your grooming. You want to look together, not messy or lazy. You want to look like you have attention to detail, so all the finishing touches count.
Your clothes need to be clean and ironed, shoes polished, not scuffed, not worn down.
Wear light makeup – it shows you take care of the details and studies have shown that women who wear light makeup to work earn MORE than women who wear no makeup or heavy makeup.
Good personal presentation can actually increase your pay packet by 10% or more (in China – up to 25% more). We are treated how we’re perceived, so if your interviewer perceives you to value yourself they will assume they can’t offer you the bottom end of the pay scale, that you wouldn’t accept it and that you need to be paid more.
Think about what you want the interviewer to pick up about you – what personality traits? Write a list of words (that may include the ones I used earlier) and then run your interview outfit past them – do they reflect what you want them to say?
Which colours to wear? Wear darker neutrals, they convey authority and expertise, and then either a little colour in a top to express your personality. But remember to think about colour psychology first and also to look for colours that enhance your colouring. For example, think about a shirt or top that makes your eyes look brighter as you’ll look more vibrant, alive and efficient. Or wear colour that makes you look really healthy, for some it’s red, others it’s a violet, pink or salmon. If you need to look authoritiative, go for a white shirt with charcoal or navy suit or jacket. If you want to look approachable and friendly opt for a light blue shirt or top with your neutral suit or jacket. Working in a more creative environment? Wear some colour or even a pattern (though not a floral pattern).
Avoid wearing light coloured suits or jackets as they won’t make you appear powerful, instead you’ll look like you’re off to a wedding or fun event. A pale shirt colour with your dark jacket colour will create a high contrast, more commanding appearance.
Skirt suits are considered to be more formal than pant suits. So if you’re looking for a job in a conservative corporate environment it’s best to wear a skirt to the interview. If the dress code for the business is more casual then trousers with a jacket will work well.
If you can, check out the dress code before you go for the interview, can you go and hang out in reception and see what the people who work there are wearing? Check out the website and see the images the company has used as this will give you an idea of the image they’re after in their people.
In once got a job in retail, having had no retail experience, partly, I’m sure, by turning up in the ‘uniform’ which they required their sales staff to wear – which was navy bottoms with a white shirt (I added a navy jacket too). The interviewer could ‘see’ me working there because I looked like I fitted in.
Your image is your personal brand. It’s what sets you apart from everyone else. Take some time to work on it and value it. It’s an investment in your future success.