Preparing for Your Interview - Why Looks Really Do Matter

by Hallie Crawford

Interview Preparation

Congratulations, you landed the interview! Now - you need to make a great impression. Are you digging through your closet? Asking everyone you know what you should wear? What kind of tie do you put on? What should you do with your hair? If you're getting differing opinions, here are some simple guidelines to help - plus two things not everyone considers but employers do notice:

1. Dress for the job you want, not the job you currently have. If the industry is more formal, dress accordingly. If the position is a step up from your current one, dress better than you normally would. Spend some money on a new suit that would fit your new role. And no matter what - do your homework. Find out what the culture is like so you can dress appropriately.

2. Don't try to make a major statement with your clothes. You want your personality and qualifications to stand out-not the funky clothes you're wearing, unless it's a creative environment where that's more acceptable.

3. It's ok to express your individuality in some way. If you want to show your personality with your clothing, wear a scarf, tie or something else small that expresses it. You don't want the person interviewing you to be distracted by a large hat or huge bulky belt buckle.

4. If you aren't sure what the culture is like for your particular industry, err on the side of being more professional and formal than casual. Not all workplaces are as casual as you might expect these days.

5. You want to wear higher quality clothes. It makes an impression and we all know that first impressions are important. If you don't have a decent suit, go out and buy one; it'll be worth it. Wearing higher quality clothes shows that you are willing to invest in your career and your future. You are dressing for success!

6. Always go to your interview clean cut. This means hair cut, shaven, tattoos and piercings covered up tastefully. The bottom line is you want to look like you made an effort and are committed to success. The last thing you want your interviewer thinking is that you just rolled out of bed. Spend time getting ready and making sure you look clean cut.

7. Keep makeup and hairstyles simple and classic. As with your clothing you don't want your hair or how you did your makeup to be distracting to the interviewer. Opt for a subtle natural look.

8. Take a hard look at yourself in the mirror after you have chosen what you are going to wear. What's the impression they're going to get? Step outside of yourself and think about what you would think when you looked at yourself for the first time. Is this the impression you want to make?

9. Two things not everyone pays attention to but can make a big impression: your teeth and your nails. If your teeth are not as white as they could be, or your nails not trimmed and neat - do something about it. This can give a bad impression. You want to look completely professional and put together so pay attention to every detail.

10. And last but not least, wear something that makes you feel confident, like the person who can have that job. When you feel confident you will express that confidence to others.

Hallie Crawford is a certified career coach who can help you find your direction and identify your ideal career path. Hallie is a compelling, humorous and passionate career speaker recently featured on CNN and Fox Business News.

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