Dress Professionally To Be Successful
Limits exist on how one can physically control their looks. In an age where money can buy everything, supposedly even looks, there's still the question of appearance being entirely relevant to the onlooker. What one might portray as sophisticated and chic looks trashy to the next. This philosophical idea about appearances being relevant applies to all areas of life, including the job search. Like it or not, the way you look matters. While you might not be able to change the shape of your face or the color of your eyes, there are things about personal appearance that can be controlled and that do matter during the job search process.
One image that the employer uses to judge you is your resume. You spend hours writing, editing, and reformatting it to make it look and read perfectly. Then, the preliminary calling begins. During the calls you make sure to slow down and articulate speech as carefully as possible. Then, the face-to-face interview finally comes. Why would one not go to the painstaking care of preparing as carefully for this step of the interview process as they have so far? Before you ever open your mouth to greet the interviewer, they are scanning your physical image and forming a profile of the candidate they are about to view based on the way they look. Once that initial impression has been formed, it is difficult to sway that image to the positive if a negative impression has already been made. It is really easy to start off with a positive image and continue to propagate that vibe throughout the interview, leading to success. How?
Make sure your dress is perfect.
One does not have to dress up like a doll and then not sit or touch anything for fear of a stain or a wrinkle. But, no matter what position is being interviewed for, dressing professionally shows the seriousness with which a job candidate regards the interview. Wearing a casual sweater and jeans says 'hey, I stopped by just on a whim' where a business suit or slacks and dress shirt communicates much more.
Professional dress says that the job seeker is serious, hardworking, focused, and prepared to do the best job they can. Casual dress says 'here I am' where professional clothing says 'here I am. Let me be what you need to make your business successful.'An interviewer takes six seconds-- less time than saying hello and asking if you could find the business without difficulty-- to decide if you have what it takes to make their business successful. During this assessment they scan your clothing, face, hair, and neatness of shoes and hands. A first look gives them the initial feel for who you are, the rest of the time during the interview allows them to study details: are your nails really that neat and well-kept? There's a dirty spot on your shoes (wait, sneakers?!) that screams for attention. Hmm. Now they want to know how you handle this situation or that one, but they are really uncomfortable. How are you going to handle a major crisis at work when you could not even pair decent dress shoes with those slacks? Already, the interview is over even though there are still several questions that should be asked.
Prior to any interview, get clothing out the night before. Make sure everything is clean and stain-free, shoes are polished and all clothes have been neatly pressed with an iron. Don't skimp on the beauty regimen, even if you are a guy. Start with facial features and make sure eyebrows are neat and facial hair is under control. If you have skin that is dry or broken out, do what you can to make it look fresh. Plan on how to style hair in a conservative manner and practice different looks if necessary to find what looks best. A full manicure as well as good dental hygiene is a must. Ladies, make sure any makeup worn is conservative and not distracting. And allow plenty of time prior to the interview to get prepared so you look your best and are not stressed.
There are three components to the image someone forms of a person when they first meet them: the way they look, the way they act, and how their smile is. These are all, to a degree, controllable. In an age where casual dress is the norm and anything goes, make sure you are not 'the norm'. Stand out by looking the best you can. Consider the type of business and modify dress slightly to fit while still maintaining a business image. If the job is for a marketing firm, a modern suit as opposed to traditional suit might be better. Different jobs require a different image standard. Try to find out what the typical business attire is of the place that will be holding the interview, do a little research. And then aim for a conservative equivalent or a slight step above, simply to leave a good impression. Chapter one, entitled 'Building Your Wardrobe For Today and Tomorrow' will give basic style hints and help find a wardrobe that will suit a person best across several job fields. Before buying any interview attire, it is important that whatever gets chosen will make you look your best. This book will help do that.
How does one find out what will make them look good and what dress is currently in fashion? Start by picking up a magazine at the newsstand that either focuses on business fashion or get a trade magazine related to the industry you are interested in. Focus on how the people dress, what their hairstyles look like, etc. Another option is to go to a major department store, one that offers a personal shopping service, and get advice from a personal shopper.
Observing the ways that others are shopping or even sitting in a restaurant and watching businesspeople can give an idea of what is typical dress. And all of these ideas are cheap and easy to do without expending a lot of effort, just a few minutes of time.
It is not necessary to have a big wardrobe to look good. Going with simple colors and patterns that complement each other can be a big money saver as they are interchanged for a variety of fresh looks that never get boring. Lots of cheaper articles that do not go together well or that fall apart easily may be a bad choice as opposed to spending money on a quality suit and a few dress shirts to complement it. A well-made business suit looks great and there is not a question about being proper, as a suit is a universally accepted dress so long as it fits properly. Adding a few other articles to change out after being accepted into a new job is important though, as you do not want to wear the same clothes every day at your new job either. For variety, buy extra shirts, ties, or accessories to add wardrobe variety without emptying your wallet.
There are four other factors to consider when choosing clothing to wear to an interview and at work: the industry you will be working in, the job you will have, geographic location [heat, cold, snow], and what image you are expected to reflect. What does your boss, client, or supervisor want to see you look like? After you have been hired, it is acceptable to just outright ask what is expected concerning appearance and aim to meet or exceed expectations.
In the chapter 'Tips For Success-His' there are tips on choosing a suit, what to pair with that suit, and what shoes should go with it. Quality material in simple colors is best paired with a pair of lace up dress shoes. Simple accessory issues, such as what color socks and how to properly pair a belt with other accessories, is also discussed in this chapter. The last part of this chapter helps pick out accessories such as a briefcase to complete the full business image.
A similar chapter is included for women and one of the main points focuses on how women should fit their dress to the role they will be playing within the organization. Advice on skirts, blouses, suits, and accessories are all in this chapter. There are also some helpful hints like keeping extra panty hose in your handbag, so you don't have to show up in shredded stockings. Another chapter about makeup and how to look your best. If it seems like too much makeup, then leave it off is the cornerstone of this part of the book. Makeup should be minimal, natural, and highlight one good feature such as lips or eyes. If necessary, go to a department store and consult their makeup counter for help. The book has an equivalent section for men on good skin care and facial grooming.
There is a chapter on the basics of good hygiene, which include bathing at least once a day, good dental care, drinking plenty of water, and removing excess hair as necessary. This topic is extended into separate chapters that focus on hair, nails, hygiene problems like dandruff and bad breath, and how to make subtle changes. Even a section on updating your appearance to make it look more modern is included.
A chapter on shoes helps select the best to go with what you will be wearing while touting the benefits of having a couple of shoes to use under different interview circumstances. A following chapter helps with accessories, witha dvice given on what to choose and what accessories should be avoided while some are a must.
Towards the end of te book, after having given advice on how to dress well and groom yourself properly, the book briefly touches on attitude and how to act. There is a big emphasis on smiling and body language. One of the last things mentioned in the book is a checklist and instructions on how to properly prepare for your interview. This book leaves no part of the interview process from consideration and is must to review before even thinking about going to another interview.