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For many students looking for their first job, what to wear for an interview can be a daunting choice. The best advice we can give is to dress as though you already work for the Company. That way, you will feel comfortable and the interviewer will feel reassured that you have done your homework.
To find out what is appropriate to wear you can check out the Company’s website or hang around outside their offices. Better still, ring the HR department and ask about the dress code for someone in the role for which you are applying. Don’t make the mistake of aiming too high; just because the female Directors wear designer clothes doesn’t mean you should – it might suggest you don’t actually need to work for your living!
If you are applying for jobs in different sectors, don’t assume the dress code will be the same. Unless the stated dress code is ‘casual’, err on the side of formality. Many sectors and companies are moving away from dressing down and want their staff to look more professional.
Don’t be afraid to ask whether a suit would be more appropriate than a dress and jacket or, if the dress code is smart casual, whether a jacket is required.
You don’t need to spend a fortune on a suit but try and spend as much as you can. Don’t be tempted to buy a suit with a view to being able to wear it to other occasions such as a wedding- you will just end up with one that doesn’t work for any occasion.
The best time to buy is in the Sale so plan ahead and you will be able to get a much better quality suit than you would be able to afford otherwise. Look for a style that is contemporary, but not high fashion, and look for the best quality fabric. You probably won’t be able to afford many clothes when you first start work so make every piece count.
Avoid the high street fashion brands and look at more classic ones such as Marks and Spencer, Reiss, Hobbs, T M Lewin, Banana Republic. Choose a suit with a fitted jacket but make sure the trousers or skirt are not too tightly fitted as they will crease badly after just a few minutes and you don’t want to arrive at the interview looking crumpled.
Whatever you do, do not wear a short skirt to an interview – it sends out the wrong signal to the interviewer and it will be very difficult to preserve your modesty if you have to sit on a low seat or sofa for the interview! Make sure your hemline is no more than a couple of inches above the knee and, ideally, keep it just above the knee (you can always shorten it later!).
Some professions will require a black or navy suit but in other sectors you may be able to choose grey or a muted dark tone such as olive, chestnut or plum. Team your new suit with a simple blouse, ideally in white or cream.
If you are unsure what style and colour suits you, take a friend with you when you go shopping or ask advice from the sales assistant. If you live near a major department store, book yourself an appointment with the personal shopper – they are usually free and you don’t have to buy anything if you don’t want to.
The best shoes for an interview, whatever the season, are simple court shoes in black or navy, depending on the colour of your suit, with no more than a three inch heel. Don’t wear flat pumps – they just don’t look as polished as a small heel.
Remember, you will be wearing tights (yes, even in the heat of summer!) so no peep toes. You may be able to wear to wear a pair of smart knee length black boots in winter, but make sure they are clean and polished.
You cannot go wrong with a trench coat. It will never date, you will always look smart – and you won’t turn up to your interview looking like a drowned rat! It doesn’t have to be expensive, it just needs to do its job.
Your outfit will look better if you keep it simple. Don’t wear a scarf, brooch or necklace – it will just be distracting for the interviewer. Do carry a small bag that matches your shoes and, if you need something bigger, take a briefcase but never a back pack.
And remember, ditch the bling for interviews and just wear a discreet watch, simple stud type earrings and no more than one ring per hand.
Many candidates let themselves down at interviews by not looking well groomed. No matter how good your outfit looks, if you haven’t cleaned your shoes, or there are holes in your tights (always carry a spare pair in your bag) you will fail to impress the interviewer.
Also make sure that your hair is recently cut, brushed and not falling over your face, that your nails are filed and painted with clear or pale pink varnish and that you are wearing a bit of make up. Even if you don’t normally wear make up,we suggest that you do for interviews: a dash of foundation, a dab of blusher, neatly defined eyes and a discreet lipstick will look so much more polished.
If you need advice, pop into your nearest Boots and ask for a make over – but do stress that you want a professional, not a party, look! And last but not least, don’t ruin your appearance by poor underwear: do not wear a coloured bra under your white or cream shirt and invest in no VLP pants.
If clothes have not been high on your agenda so far, learn the basics here– everything from what shoes to wear with different outfits to understanding what to wear to suit your body shape
Like it or not, recent research shows that over two thirds of employers rate women who wear make up more highly than those that don’t. If you need to get to grips with the basics, learn from the expert here.
For a great range of tights and stocking for work, click here
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To find out what not to wear for an interview, check this out!
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