May is finally here, and that means that in high schools, colleges, and universities throughout the nation will be holding graduation ceremonies for all of their hard-working graduates. The students will be released into the real world either to further their education or to obtain a job.
If you’re about to graduate and are thinking about finding a job, you may be thinking, “Hey, I got through my Anatomy & Physiology/Spanish IV/Calculus/rocket science class with no problem. This should be a cinch!”
Let me tell you – the job market may be getting a little bit better than it was this time four years ago, but don’t let that fool you. It’s still tough to get a job out there, and with the economy still being where it is today, employers are being ruthlessly selective about whom they choose to be part of their team. These days, the goal of companies is to get as much work done as quickly as possible and for the least amount of money.
What does that mean for you? That means you need to be on your A-game to land a job. And that means (besides having the skills and the experience you need to get in) that you need to dress for success to land that job of yours!
“Oh, but c’mon, Dawn! What about the whole ‘beauty-is-in-the-inside thing’? I’ve got the skills and know-how to get this gig!”
Wrong, my friend!
First impressions these days are everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. In fact, did you know that it takes only three, count ‘em, THREE seconds to make a good first impression with your potential employer? And while your resume, skill set, and experience are all important, they have less power than you may think during the initial hiring process. Why? Because the first thing people will notice about you is your appearance!
Just keep this in mind – you can say all the right things and do all the right things, but if you’re not dressed well for your interview, you will NOT get the job when you’re compared to a lot of other perfectly capable people who are dressed better than you.
So with that in mind, here is a short list of DOs and DON’Ts from me to you! That’s right – I’m gonna go Stacy London and Clinton Kelly on you here! Check out these tips for success in your interview!
DO dress conservatively for your interview. By dressing conservatively, you are showing that you are making an effort and that you are respectful, polite, and mean business.
DON’T wear clothes that are too tight, too loose, or too casual. It will make you look sloppy and lazy.
DO choose an outfit that is customary to your industry. If you’re dressing for a conservative business, don a matching skirt or pantsuit with pantyhose if you’re a woman, and choose close-toed shoes. If you’re interviewing for a public relations or Internet gig, ditch the suits and choose a trendier outfit complete with a button-down shirt, a pair of nice slacks, and sling-back heels.
DON’T show any cleavage! Ladies, this is a big must for you! Avoid wearing see-through garments or anything that gives you an air of sexiness (fishnet stockings, anyone?). It’s not a question of not deserving to look sexy more as a assertion of you’re carrying the message that you feel the way to win the job is by relying on your looks. Save your sexy clothes for the weekend and get serious!
DO invest in a conservative two-piece business suit (or two). Try to get a solid black, dark blue, or gray suit.
DON’T wear too much jewelry. Avoid wearing multiple accessories and bright colors. One ring per hand is more than enough for a man and for a woman (and yes, you can wear your watch). Also, if you wear earrings, men, take them out. In the same way, women, wear only one set of earrings and avoid large, ostentatious jewelry.
DO wear clean, polished, and conservative shoes. Ladies, choose shoes with a conservative heel. Men, choose dark lace-up shoes with dark socks.
DON’T carry a purse, ladies. Use a briefcase instead. If you really must have a purse with you, then use a small one.
DO have a well-groomed hairstyle. Get a haircut and a fresh shave. If you have facial hair, be sure to keep it neat and trimmed.
DON’T fiddle with your hair during the interview. You’re not only showing that you’re not serious about the interview, but you’re also conveying that you’re nervous and unsure of yourself.
DO keep your fingernails neat and trimmed. If you must wear nail polish, use clear or a conservative color such as a nude or a muted tone of pink or red.
DON’T bathe in cologne or perfume. A small sprinkling is acceptable, but nobody likes to walk into a cloud of cologne or perfume!
DO cover any and all visible body piercings (nose rings, eyebrow rings, etc.) and your tattoos. They are seen as unprofessional.
DON’T pile on your makeup, ladies. Simple and small amounts of makeup are just fine, but please don’t look like a clown (unless, of course, you’re trying to snag a job as a clown!).
DO leave your gum, candy, cigarettes, and cell phone behind.
DON’T answer your cell phone during the interview! This should be a no-brainer, but it needs to be stated regardless!
Remember to keep calm, dress your best, and WOW your interviewers! If you follow these tips, you are bound to do well in all of your interviews. Best of luck!