Preparing for and Interview: How to Look Effortlessly Professional

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Job hunting is hard. That’s why, when you get that phone call or email requesting an interview you want to be sure you make the best possible impression. Your CV is in tip-top shape and ready to hand out as needed. You’ve run through practice questions with your mom and best friend. You’ve cleared your social media pages of anything unprofessional. You’re ready to take the interview room by storm. But is your outfit interview-ready?

There’s worrying about looking professional, and then there’s having nightmares about showing up in flip flops and a hoodie. Whatever the case, you’ll be stressed enough come interview day — the last thing you need is to spend an hour staring into your closet that morning. Do yourself a favor and pick out your outfit ahead of time. Better yet, keep these tips in mind as you do so.

Consider the workplace.

Spend some time considering the work environment you’d be entering if you’re chosen for these jobs. How do your future colleagues dress? The adage of “dressing for the job you want” is especially true at your interview. Depending on where you’ve applied, you’ll most likely dress according to one of two dress codes: business professional or business casual. Business professional typically involves a suit and tie for men and dress or blouse with a skirt or slacks for women. This would be worn in most more conservative work environments, like finance or government fields. Conversely, business casual attire uses a less formal version of business clothing, opting for blazers, pencil skirts, polo shirts, and dress shoes. As a sort of middle ground between a purely professional dress code and something completely casual, business casual allows for brighter colors and bolder accessories than its more conservative counterpart.

Implement some color psychology.

This concept can be taken in two ways. On the one hand, you can use the colors you wear to your advantage by portraying yourself as a perfect-for-this-role candidate. On the other hand, you can use certain colors to affect your own mental state going into your interview. Colour psychology can impact you and the people interviewing you, even if it’s a subconscious effect. Trying adding some red to your look for a burst of confidence or blue to emphasize that you’re a dependable candidate. As long as you’re dressing professionally, the right color can take your job interview outfit to a whole new level. A touch of color can pull double-duty in adding a bit of personality to your look, too, no matter the dress code you’re adhering to.

Stock your closet.

Picture it: you’ve gotten all dressed up in your go-to interview outfit and, as luck should have it, nailed the interview. Then, they ask you to come by for a second stage in the process — but you only have one decent ensemble that meets their business casual dress code and suits you. Avoid this struggle entirely by making sure you’ve got a few interview-friendly options on hand for whenever the need arises. On a budget? Make sure the pieces you invest in can be mixed and matched to create multiple looks. Even if you snag your new job after just one interview, you’ll be ready to look the part if you ever need to enter the job market again. Depending on the role, you may even be able to wear those same clothes once you’re hired!

Nightmares of sandals and loungewear banished, you can focus on getting a good night’s sleep and being ready for whatever the interview throws at you. With these tips in mind and your résumé in hand, you’ll feel as prepared and professional as you look when your job interview arrives — ready to look the part and get the job of your dreams.

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