To gain a competitive edge in an interview, wear an item of clothing in the colour of the company logo or branding. This way you already look like part of their team. You must look the part. If you’re unsure of the company culture or what they wear, visit and see for yourself.

Always remember – you only get one chance to make a good impression. Make sure you make it count.

Top 10 tips for making the best first impression

According to leading Australian fashion stylist Caitlin Stewart of Cast Professional Styling, image and presentation are important to an individual’s success within a highly competitive market. Her business offers dress-for-success ‘job ready’ workshops for students and new graduates. Here are her top 10 tips for making the best first impression at your next interview:

1.    Personal grooming

This refers to the way in which you do your hair, makeup, perfumes and colognes and even fingernails. Ensuring that you look well-kept goes hand-in-hand with the perfect outfit. Take the time to wear a little makeup, cut and clean your fingernails and keep your hair off your face. If gentlemen have facial hair it should be trimmed and neat. Overpowering perfumes can be off putting as can half-faded fake tans and chipped fingernail polish.

2.    Wear colour

Colour (provided it’s not fluro yellow) makes people happy. It brightens the room and accentuates your personality and provides presence. A complimentary colour that suits your skin tone will go well with a classic suit.

3.    Keep it simple

Avoid too many ruffles, over-the-top patterns and fussy, distracting designs. They have the potential to distract the interviewer and you want the focus on you!

4.    Avoid showing too much skin

Ladies, if you choose to wear a skirt or dress keep the hemline at the knee or below. Avoid showing any cleavage or any garments that are too tight or ill-fitting. Always wear a top with a sleeve and pantyhose or stockings if you are interviewing for a corporate role. Gentlemen, ensure your trousers are not too tight and the hemline is long enough.

5.    ‘Shoes maketh the (wo)man’

We all know this saying. Old or scratched shoes can ruin an entire outfit. Ensure that you invest in quality footwear or polish and clean your shoes before you attend the interview. Ladies: avoid open-toe shoes – they are not professional.

6.    Wear jewellery and accessories

But ensure that they are not too big or loud. This can be a distraction for the interviewer and in some cases cheapens your look. If in doubt, opt for a classic watch and wedding rings; ladies can wear small studs in the ear.

7.    Conceal tattoos

I get a lot of pull-back from this, but body art and tattoos can be distracting. Covering them up for the interview is a safe option.

8.    Purchase something new

If your budget permits, buying a new blouse or shirt for the interview will make you feel a million dollars. With this comes an increase in confidence. If we look good, we feel great – and it’s been proved that when we feel great we perform better. Please also ensure that your clothing is ironed appropriately – the old saying is true – you only get one opportunity to make a good impression and it’s done in seconds.

9.    Dress up more than down

Even if the actual role requires you to dress down, ensure that you wear a jacket or suit to the interview. This is a mark of respect and shows how much you want the role and are prepared to make an effort. Once you get the job you can wear what is required.

10.    Use classic luggage and handbags

Opt for a quality leather in a neutral tone for your handbag or briefcase. Avoid using gym bags or plastic bags to carry your notes or CV.

Interview coaching with The Proven Group

Choosing what to wear is only one aspect of preparing for an interview. The Proven Group provides interview coachingthat will give you the knowledge and practice to give you the confidence you need.

The Proven Group provides professional interview coaching, cover-letter and résumé-writing services in Melbourne, Ballarat and Geelong. In addition to these services, we offer LinkedIn profile-writing, advice on how to address key selection criteria, personality profiling and career counselling.

Contact us today to discuss our services.

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