JOB INTERVIEW TIPS: How make a great first impression!

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Appearance: First Impressions count

We all know that appearance is crucial when you go for a job interview. It's a fact of life that people we meet form an impression of us within the first few seconds, based on how we look and no more so than at a job interview. What makes this a trickier situation is that we are in competition with other applicants and so every little detail counts. In the current economic climate it's no longer just a case of the right experience and qualifications. In today's tough job market you will be up against numerous applicants with the right qualifications and experience so employers can afford to be ultra picky and use all sorts of criteria to weed applicants out when making a decision.


Aim to Shine

Your personality and how you market yourself are extremely important. So too is your appearance and the golden rule is to look the part for the particular job you are going for. To give an over simplistic example: if you are applying for a job as a social worker, it would not be appropriate to go for 'power dressing' in a high fashion, sharp tailored suit, lots of make-up and expensive, top-end accessories. You just wouldn't look the part and the interviewer would have difficulty envisaging you in the role. You could be the best qualified, most committed social worker ever but your appearance would be contradicting that, giving a confusing message to the interviewer. So, in simple terms, the sentiment is 'look the part - get the part!


Work on the subconsious

Partly, it's a case of common sense and using some forethought but there are also some guidelines to help you. Colours are important. There are 'trustworthy 'colours such as blue, green and some reds of the darker, burgundy types. There are 'powerful leadership' colours such as dark navy contrasting with pale blue or charcoal contrasting with white and touch of bright red. There are also 'Kind and caring' colours such as browns and cream or pastel blues and soft pinks. Sharp contrasts are more powerful and 'salesy' than blends. Blocks of self-colour are more assertive than florals. Stripes or geometric patterns can look quirky and creative.


Accessories for Interview outfit

For men at interviews, jewellery (apart from a good watch and maybe some non-jokey cufflinks) is probably best avoided altogether! However, for women, there are some simple rules for choosing interview jewellery and these finishing touches can make or break your carefully structured image. Jewellery for a woman does much the same job as a tie does for a man in that the designs and colours are together hugely important in what they say about you and can be quite revealing about your character and personality. Jewellery, by it's very nature is symbolic and your own jewellery needs to do the job of enhancing your image. If you get it right, your chosen pieces will tell your interviewer quite a lot about you. What you don't want however, is the sort of scenario where your necklace or earrings are so eye catching that they become a distraction. Your jewellery and accessories will help you if they exude taste, confidence, individuality and intelligence or, if appropriate, choose pieces that are a bit quirky or unusual to get across your creative and artistic side.


Dont over do it!

Think carefully about the qualities and characteristics required for the position you are applying for. Here are a few examples of ways to accessorize to impress: For a job in something like banking or insurance - keep your jewellery pieces fairly small and neat. Use classic shapes but avoid symbols of over sentimentality such as hearts or flowers. Geometric shapes are good. Avoid elaborate, dangly earrings or jangly bracelets. Make sure your pieces match each other and coordinate well with your outfit. All of this shows a tidy mind and good organisational skills. If it's a sales job you are after, you can be a little bolder. You want to put across your strength of personality and your 'go get' qualities! Go for primary colours in strong shapes - not too dainty but not over large and not jangly or dangly. While you want your jewellery to be interesting and individual, you want your interviewer to look at your eyes rather than stare at your weird pendant so think carefully about getting the balance right.

If you are in the health or social care sector or perhaps teaching, then a symbol of sentimentality such as a heart or flower would not go amiss but be careful with overt religious or cult symbols as they may provoke some bias. Unless you are going for a job in a nightclub, keep your jewellery of a suitably daytime nature and avoid lots of crystal and sparkle.

But how about a job in graphic design or creative advertising or maybe in the rock music industry? Now you can really go for the quirky, highly individual and bold accessorizing that will portray you as a creative entity. Bright colours, cutting edge design and daring combinations will all work for you in the world of artistic creativity. You might even wear your own handiwork!

These are just a few examples but make the point about the need to think carefully about putting together your 'position related' image for that all important job interview. Remember, detail is everything - keep accessories attractive but not distracting and above all make sure they are appropriate to the job you want to get. The right jewellery is that little extra detail that can speak volumes for you!

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