“There are no secrets to success.
It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.”
– Colin Powell
As my four years in college will soon be coming to a close the thing that seems to be on my mind a lot lately, other than assignment deadlines and exam papers, is the job prospect situation. I’ve been sending out CV’s to a few places in the hope that I’ll get the chance to meet someone who’ll take an interest in me and in turn, want me to become a member of their team which, I’m not going to lie, is a very stressful situation. Anyone who’s ever looked for a job knows how uneasy you always feel when clicking send on an application e-mail or when tucking your application into a postbox, but even if they are successful the nerves still don’t come to an end due to the prospect of an upcoming interview where you have to make the best first impression you possibly can. However how do you even start that?
Personally I think that how you dress yourself is hugely important, which I know isn’t much of a surprise but, as it can tell someone a variety of things by just looking at you. It can show your attention to detail, your coordination skills, your ability to organise yourself neatly, and simply your ability to just look right for the job. As every industry is different it’s hard to tell someone what exactly they should wear for an interview, but there’s a few things I’ve learnt over the past few years of helping my sisters and friends decide what to wear for interviews and for going for them myself: You cannot portray yourself as someone you need to be, you need to portray yourself as someone you want to be.
How can you do that, you may ask?
Well read on and find out…
* * THE DON’TS * *
I know you might probably think that there’s something wrong with me saying that wearing bold patterns for an interview is a bad idea, as I can never go a day without wearing something that’s even a little bit patterned, but when it comes to interviews the subtler the pattern, the better. You might wonder what it is a simple pattern, but it’s really just either smaller detail or ensure that there are no more than two (or even) three colours. You don’t exactly want to go in looking like you just came from Chelsea Garden Show.
Unattractive & Uncomfortable Shoes
There is genuinely nothing worse than anyone walking into an interview unable to walk in the shoes their wearing. Whether it’s because they’re brand new and they haven’t been worn in yet, that they’re a size too small or simply that the heels are too high, but whatever it is, it always looks awful. I get that wearing heels gives you a boost of confidence, but you should always make sure that you wear them a few times before braving them for an interview. You’d be surprised what a few hours can show you!
Blazer and Blue Jeans
This is just a personal dislike of mine, but I know many people feel it it’s their go-to look when aiming for the “smart casual” look. However I just can’t stand it because no matter what you pair with blue jeans, they can never look formal, and just because you throw a blazer with them doesn’t make them professional looking! Also in order to pull off a blazer, you need to ensure that you’re wearing the correct neckline underneath, that the fit is suitable and that the button always stays open. You’d be surprised how many people can’t even got those little things right!
If you’re going for food before your interview, don’t order anything garlic infused or anything that will be hard to remove from your breath. If you’ve just bought new perfume, make sure you’ve worn it around friends to test the strength of the scent. Finally, If you wear fake tan, ensure it’s a dull scented one. Smell is one thing that will create an instant impression as soon as you walk in the door, so you don’t want to overpower the room and give your interviewer breathing problems.
Mind your Nails
As mentioned in my latest post, I have a weird pet hate for long nails, but I promise that this isn’t related to that. One thing I’ve learned from being in a college surrounded by a variety of girls who adore their false beauty, is that fake nails is bloody painful when shaking hands, so why have them for an interview and put your interviewer in pain before you even tell them why you want to be hired?
Just don’t sit there playing on your phone. You might want to look busy, but honestly you just look bored and we all know you’re not going to get last minute info on the company by scrolling through your Instagram feed. Fact.
* * THE DOS * *
Simple, yet Bold
Keep the patterns to a minimum, wear few colours, but don’t be afraid to wear bold colours. I quite like wearing black but I never feel as confident wearing it as I do when I’m wearing red, purple, fuchsia or even cobalt blue, so I would always say be bold. Nobody is going to remember the girl in the black pinstripe suit, when you could be the girl in the red blazer, or the subtle floral pants or even the girl in the white shift dress.
If you’re against wearing bold colours or one patterned item, then go ahead and keep everything simple. However I still think everyone needs a dash of colour, so why not wear a statement neckpiece or a heavily beaded wristband, because sometimes t’s the little things that catch peoples eye.
Embrace the Right Season
If it’s the height of summer, then dress like you know it. I’m not saying to go in wearing a summer dress and straw hat, but wear something floral, with a hint of yellow or even focus on wearing a little more white than usual. Whereas if it’s winter, then show off your layering skills, your love of tweed or even a stylish knitted jumper and shirt combo! But let’s just say, if you go into an interview in the middle of June wearing all black, it doesn’t exactly look like you’re able to keep up with the trends or what’s going on around you, which I’m sure isn’t the impression you’d like to give people!
Who Says Suits are Just for Men?
There is nothing sexier than a girl that’s able to pull off a tailored suit. I know if someone came into an interview wearing a fitted deep blue suit or even a pastel pink one, I’d be very curious to hear what that woman just wants to say. The right fit suit can show that you ooze confidence, that you’re not afraid of control and that you’ll work your ass off to get your shit done, so why aren’t more women wearing them? Once the top is kept simple, the jewellery is kept minimal and it’s a comfortable fit, what have you got to lose?
I’ve yet to find one, but if you’ve got a perfectly fitting, high collared, crisp white shirt, then why not brave it for an interview? Chuck it on with an embroidered pencil skirt, a fitted pair of high waist pants or even under a woollen pinafore, part it with simple jewellery (focus on bolder earrings rather than a bold necklace), and you’re good to go. There’s really nothing to loose by wearing a crisp white shirt, unless you wear a black bra that is…but then if you do that, you need to go back to the basic “how to properly dress” class.
Just Be Yourself
If you never wear your hair up, why style it up for a special occasion? If you never wear bold lips, then why brave it for meeting a new important person? If you never wear lots of make-up, who says it’s compulsory for an interview? This is one thing I cannot stress more, because if you’re not being 100% you in a interview, it makes you look awful. If you be you, then you come across confident, naturally happy and that you genuinely want the person to get to know you and to truly want you as part of their team.
At the end of the day though, ensure that you are comfortable in what you are wearing as to be honest if you are uncomfortable in your ensemble it is noticed straight away. Take Pippa O’ Connor Ormond for example, two weeks ago she was on the Late Late Show and gave a great interview however you could tell that she was uncomfortable in with her silky low-cut top, as soon as she sat down. It’s an honest mistake, but one that wouldn’t be the best to learn while in an interview yourself!
There are thousands of more tips that I could give about interviews, and probably hundreds that I don’t know myself and should be learning right away, but at the end of the day nobody knows what’s right because everyone is different and looks great in their own little ways.
Ever-so stylishly yours,