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Dress for Interview Success

30/05/17

Look good, feel good; or so the saying goes. The right attire can make you feel confident and give you the edge in presenting yourself as the right candidate for the job.

There is much to consider, especially if you haven’t interviewed for some years or have changed industries recently. Think about the image you want to project in your interview and dress appropriately for the role, company and industry. This is about ensuring your ‘personal style’ mirrors the company and position you are applying with. You wouldn’t wear jeans to an interview with a law firm, nor wear a full suit and tie for a job as a builder’s labourer.

Looking at the company website or current employees will give you visual cues on the dress code. However, if in doubt and especially if interviewing for a corporate or office based job, it’s best to dress up rather than down. Just because the current employees have dress down or casual Friday, don’t take this as a cue that you can arrive at the interview in casual attire. Remember, you don’t work there yet!

Some further tips to make a positive and lasting impression:

  1. Keep things simple. Not that you can’t embrace your personal style or personality but keep things suitable to the role, company and industry you’re applying for while using accessories that express who you are. Remember that less is more.
  2. Avoid too much jewellery or bling. It can be very distracting in an interview if your jewellery is making more noise then you are. This is your chance to shine, not your jewellery.
  3. Avoid overdoing the cologne or perfume or don’t wear it at all. You want the interviewer to focus on you rather than smell you coming.
  4. Sensible style over high fashion. Interviews are nerve racking enough without feeling uncomfortable in your outfit. If you seldom wear high heels, now is not the time to pull them out of the closet or at least make sure you get some practice walking in them beforehand. Also ensure your clothes are clean and pressed.
  5. Footwear is often overlooked but a clean pair of shoes or boots can go a long way. Muddy or scuffed boots and shoes show a lack of attention to detail.
  6. Necklines and hemlines. Ladies, a plunging neckline or that cute mini skirt may be fine for a Saturday night out but not for a professional work environment. Do a quick sense check before leaving the house – are you appropriately covered up?
  7. Gentlemen, if you are going to wear a suit, make sure it is tailored and fits well. Gimmicky ties or suits that belong in an Austin Powers film are probably not appropriate. 

Your wardrobe tells its own story so for more on this, check out ‘What to wear to an interview really’. A little bit of wardrobe planning now will pay off in the long run. Let your skills and experience be the talking point not your poor choice of attire.

If you are re-entering the workforce or finances are an issue, the charitable organisation Dress for Success can assist by providing personal styling and a work outfit to match your interview. Visit www.christchurch.dressforsuccess.org to find out more.

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