There’s a lot of focus on preparing your resume to get a job interview: which keywords to use, which accomplishments to include or exclude, and which format to apply. Many of the most successful job seekers work with professional resume writers to ensure their resumes generate the highest possible quantity and quality of interviews. Your resume is the first look at what you have to offer, so it is essential it creates the best possible first impression, but it’s only the first step in the process of getting a new job. Your job interview is the first actual look that a prospective employer gets of your physical person, so it’s equally important to put your best foot forward during that first face-to-face meeting.
In addition to preparing to answer questions and know the questions to ask of your interviewer, you also need to know how to dress. While it may seem superficial, how you present yourself is an important part of your overall package, so make sure you get your only chance right the first time. Here are some tips to ensure that you know how to ace that job interview appearance-wise:
- Attend to the basics: The very first step on your list should be to make sure you are neat, clean, and tidy. Little aspects that your mom told you about can make the difference – clean fingernails, freshly washed hair, brushed teeth, plus no fragrances or other odors that others may perceive negatively.
- What not to wear: Just as important as what you wear is what you shouldn’t wear. You may love enjoy your favorite comfortable khakis or love that tight-fitting blouse, but is that the first impression you want to make? You want to be seen as a professional, so it is better to err on the side of conservative. Make sure your clothes are clean, ironed where needed, fit properly, and don’t scream of extreme trendiness or individuality…however…
- Stand out quietly: Of course, you do want to be seen as an individual. To balance that with a professional look, choose one or two small areas to make your point. Men can choose a fun tie or interesting cufflinks while woman may select unique earrings or a colorful bracelet. In your job interview appearance, a little will make an impact.
- Manage permanent accessories: It’s quite common for people to have body modifications to express themselves in their unique particular way. But you need to manage your physical appearance within the expectations of a professional environment. If possible, cover them and make sure that any body modifications that can’t be fully covered are not distracting to your interviewers to ensure that they do not detract from your abilities or experience. It can also demonstrate your flexibility and an understanding of your audience.
- Appreciate corporate culture – from a distance: Each organization has their own specific culture. Through research, you may have a good idea of what it is like. And while you want to appear to be a good corporate fit, you also don’t yet have the job. Therefore, don’t dress like you already work there. Even in the most casual of environments, it is recommended to wear job interview attire that is crisp, clean, and professional – it shows you made an effort and understand how to prepare for a job interview in all aspects.
Being in an interview is more than just answering questions and wearing business clothing. It states how prepared you are, how aware you are of the situation, and your ability to adapt when needed. Dressing well and appropriately can be the part of your job interview strategy that clinches the deal. Review your wardrobe critically and good luck!