When you sit down for that job interview, the last thing you want to be worried about is what you are wearing. That choice should have been made a few days beforehand, if possible, to give you time to put together an “interview outfit” that gives confidence.
The idea that you must “dress for success“ never goes out of style because people see your clothing as part of your initial impression. Here are a few tips to work on now, so you will be ready to go the morning of your all-important interview:
- Plan one or two “interview outfits” and keep them ready to wear (c’mon ladies, we have at least that many outfits ready for a night out!) That means they are clean, mended, and fit comfortably.
- Get dressed in the entire outfit and have a friend take your picture from the back, side and front. Look at those photos and decide what needs to change. (You can’t change your body in two days, but you can pick a better shirt or shoes.)
- Do your research and know what is appropriate for this interview. Go conservative if you have doubts.
- Figure out the entire outfit, from shoes, socks and underwear to tie and jewelry. Have it all laid out the night before so you know it’s ready.
- Have a backup in case you spill something on yourself. It’s been done!
- Shine your shoes, give yourself a manicure (and pedicure if you’re wearing peep-toe shoes) and plan your grooming schedule. This is not the place for that just-stepped-out-of-the-shower-wet look.
When you have planned your outfit and know you look your best, you have confidence. Preparing ahead of time helps you focus on the interview instead of that button that popped off your shirt before you left home. Part of your job search includes dressing for success, so get ready to shine!
Job-hunting has never been a walk in the park, and these days, it’s even harder. You’re staring down the barrel of double-digit inflation rates, and unemployment statistics are showing numbers that have never been higher.
How do you get a job, then?
Well, you treat every minute that you’re unemployed like you still have a job, and you do: The job of finding yourself a job.
First things first, take a hint from the old adage, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Right now, the job you have is…none. Dress every day in the clothing you’d show up in if you had the job you really want. You’re showered, shaved, hair fixed, and nails clean. The reasons for this are simple – you’re looking for a job, and your job right now is as Employment Professional, the person for whom work will come soon. There’s another big reason for being dressed professionally at home; you’ll be less inclined to fall into really bad habits, including sleeping too late, lolling about on the sofa watching TV, cruising the Internet for anything not job search-related, goofing off when you should be getting a job. Not saying you have to wear a suit every minute of the day, but getting up in the morning, brushing your hair and teeth, and getting out of your sweats is a good place to start.
Looking the part serves a couple other purposes. You’ll feel better if you’re looking better. Right now, your self-esteem might be a little low or a lot low, and taking care of your appearance will go a long way towards making you feel a little better about yourself in general. Confidence is key when searching for a new job.
Okay, so you’re dressed up and nowhere to go? Wrong. Take a left at the kitchen and head straight for your computer. You’re going to be performing a huge number of tasks, so maybe stop at the kitchen for a cup of coffee. Is your resume in order? Is it updated with your most recent info, professionally presented and edited for content and spelling, on good stock and ready to send by itself, or with a good cover letter and references? Do you have your references lined up? Do you know your salary requirements, in case those are requested? If you don’t have all this ready, open up your word processor and knock that out.
Now, get online and go to every job search site you can find and plaster your resume everywhere. Anyplace that sounds remotely like something you’d be interested in, make sure you’ve researched the company and position, and have a cover letter ready to send directly to that company, every detail specifically tailored for that employer.
Get on all the social networking sites you can find. Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn…Get the word out to friends, family and previous business associates that you’re seeking employment. Make sure your contact information is up to date, and you’re easy to find.