The overused advice for job hunting is to talk about how important first impressions are in choosing what to wear for an interview. This advice is both wrong and backwards. Lasting impressions are what matter. Try this exercise, think about your favorite movie. Are you remembering the opening scene (first impression)? Or, is the first scene that comes to mind another part of the movie (the lasting impression)? Is the part of a song you always remember the first line or the first chord? Probably not. Similarly, it is not only important to get your foot in the door, people must remember that you crossed their threshold.
If you have ever been on the hiring side of a job interview, you realize that the job candidates start to blur together after a while. While the bosses are discussing whom they should hire, they will often say things like, “Remember the one with the really cute shoes” or the “What was the name of the one wearing the red top?” As human animals, we are visual creatures and thus visual cues are often easier to remember than what school someone attended.
While it is important to be conservative and simple in deciding what to wear to an interview, you want to add a little extra oomph without crossing into distracting. Imagine sitting in the waiting room with ten other candidates. Most of them are wearing black suits, a black pair of pants, or a black skirt. There is nothing wrong with that, black is going to be a safe bet. However, when you are sitting in the waiting room, is there any element of your outfit that makes you stand out just a little bit more? You want your star shines just a tad bit brighter and make the other waiting job hunters envious. Here are some ways to add some oomph to your outfit and create a lasting impression:
- Brooches are now for everyone, not just granny’s. If you are wearing suit jacket, a gorgeous brooch is a great way to add a style detail to your outfit. If you are interviewing in a more conservative industry, such as banking, you want to go with a more conservative brooch. Otherwise, let your imagination run wild. Look for unique and unusual brooches on sites like Ebay.com and Etsy.com
- A great pair of shoes is a great way to kick up your style. Think about wearing shoes with a pattern, an exotic fabric, a metallic element, or made in an unexpected color. Although we all want to appear taller and leaner, avoid heels with too much height. A good rule of thumb is to stay under 4 inches.
- A stylish necklace is a fantastic way to frame your face when you are giving your extremely competent interview answers. This is where you have to be careful that the necklace is not distracting. There are beautiful statement necklaces out there, but many of them may be too much for an interview. You want something simple that will still make you stand out, so the interview will say, “Remember the one with the beautiful necklace.”
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