Impression management is important to any job seeker – especially in the current economic market. You're taking a chance if you don't pay attention to the way you present yourself. You actually start making an impression from the moment you send in your resume. However, for the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on the impression that you make with the clothing you wear. How you look (and your potential employer’s perception of your manner of dress) can significantly impact your interview, and have a longer lasting impact on your career.
The right attire can go a long way in giving you the initial edge. Remember that the interviewer is not just evaluating your job skills, accomplishments, and personality. Your appearance is taken into consideration too. Even if you're applying for a job at a company with a casual dress code, being viewed as someone who cares and takes pride in personal appearance is going to be looked on positively.
Here are a few tips for dressing the part:
• Whether the company dress code is casual or conservative, plan on wearing clothing that is formal and conservative. Select clothing you have worn before that makes you feel good and confident.
• Be prepared. Don't wait until the morning of the interview to get your clothes ready. As a matter of fact, go over your clothes and make any necessary repairs. Have your clothes professionally cleaned a couple of days before the interview.
• Wear a dark suit, simple tie, and matching shoes. Males should be clean shaven, well kempt, and definitely keep aftershave/cologne to a minimum. Your hair should be well cared for and recently cut.
• Females should wear conservative clothing with matching shoes and purse. Stay away from frills, short hems, and avoid anything too revealing. And, if you must use perfume use it sparingly. Jewelry should be kept to a minimum and shouldn't clang when you walk.
• If you have plans on bringing a portfolio or brief case, I suggest that the brief case match the rest of your ensemble.
• Avoid wearing anything too trendy especially if you’re applying for a professional or conservative position. You can infuse your personality into your clothing after you get the job.
By wearing proper attire to your interview, you will be viewed as someone who thought the interview was important and doesn't approach critical situations casually. A well dressed individual gives the impression of being organized in his/her ways.
Consider equally qualified candidates vying for a position as a nurse. One is dressed in a suit and tie - the other in a tight pink sweater and short lime green skirt. Of the two, who is going to be taken more seriously, the fashion conscious one or the one dressed in standard interview attire? If clothing is the only difference between the two applicants, wouldn't the employer select the more conservatively dressed applicant?
It’s your career – you decide what clothing is appropriate. But ask yourself this, if the only thing standing between you and your next career move is looking good, why not dress for success?