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How to Dress to Make a Great Impression Before You Speak in the Interview

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How to Dress to Make a Great Impression Before You Speak in the Interview

Interviews can be daunting at the best of times, so doing what we can to be more confident internally will help us shine and give the best impression to our potential employer.

How we dress is a fundamental way to gain confidence within – if we know we look the part, then we’ll also feel the part. Apart from preparing sufficiently, what we wear is the key to showing we mean business and giving ourselves the best opportunity to score that dream job.

You Only Have 10 Seconds to Make a Great First Impression – What You Wear Matters the Most

First impressions can have a huge impact, especially when it comes to job interviews. According to a study conducted by associate professor of psychology at Oregon State University, Frank Bernieri,[1] the first 10 seconds of meeting the interviewer is crucial because in this short time they’ve already decided whether you’d be right for the job or not, depending on how you present yourself, so what you wear has a big initial impact on your chances.

In psychological terms, it comes down to the phenomenon that if a person sees a desirable trait in another, then they automatically assume that the person has further desirable traits. In other words, wearing an appropriate outfit will create a halo effect and cause the interviewer to continue seeing you in a positive light for the duration of the interview – even going as far as dismissing any minor mistakes that you make.

What to Wear to Make Sure You Won’t Lose the Job Chance

Here is a guide to what different outfits both men and women can wear to make that first impression a professional and positive one.

The Interview Dress Code for Men

Suit

    The most common, go-to outfit for a man is always going to be the suit. Investing in a well-tailored suit will go toward making a great impression every time. Try to go for dark colors such as navy, black, or dark grey in order to give a solid look. You may consider a fitted waistcoat underneath to give an even better impression of effort and confidence.

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    Shirt

      When it comes to shirts, wearing solid colors is always a safe bet – white, grey, or blue. If you know a bit more about the company, or you feel confident in yourself, then going for low-patterned shirts such as a small check or subtle pinstripe will add a bit of personality and style. Try not to go for too bold colors or whacky patterns – stay neutral for the best impression.

      Blazer and Smart Trousers

        If you don’t own a suit or don’t feel comfortable wearing one, then combining a smart, fitted blazer with smart trousers will also do the trick. Again, try to keep the colors toned down and make sure the top and bottom don’t clash in terms of color or patterns. They key idea is smart and well-fitted.

        Ties

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          When it comes to ties, it’s okay to go with bold colors such as red, purple, or green, but keep any patterns subtle and make sure they go with your choice of shirt. Classic black or navy ties are the best, so if you don’t want to be worrying about the tie you chose during the interview, then stick with a safe choice.

          Shoes

            Smart, polished shoes are a must when going for an interview. Invest in a good pair of conservative black or brown leather shoes that fit well and are comfortable.

            The Interview Dress Code for Women

            Tops

              Women have a lot more versatility than men when it comes to interview attire, which can make it all the more difficult. The key throughout is conservative, but don’t be afraid to add feminine touches. Tops can be adapted according to the rest of your outfit, but generally if it’s smart, is a solid color, and covers up, then you’re good to go. Don’t be afraid to wear subtle patterns such as floral, but make sure it’s still in keeping with an interview environment.

              Blazer/Jacket

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                Teaming a top with a blazer or jacket can instantly make you look more professional. Again, go for a solid color – dark colors are best, such as black or dark grey, but as long as it’s well fitted and tailored then any subtle color can be pulled off.

                Ladies’ Trouser Suit

                  Investing in a good trouser suit will mean having a great professional look without having to spend too much time thinking about combination of outfits. Team a dark trouser suit with a classic white shirt to get that timeless look. Remember, trouser suits don’t have to make you look masculine – look for a suit with a feminine cut. The trousers can be slim-fitted, or more loose and bootcut depending on the style you’re going for.

                  Skirt

                    If trousers aren’t your thing, then a skirt is a great alternative. Classic pencil skirts are flattering on most body types and give off an air of professionalism. Of course, make sure it’s a conservative length (no higher than the knee), and that it’s comfortable to sit down in. Team this with a tailored shirt or smart top with a belt to create a great interview look.

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                    Dress

                      Choosing a dress may seem easy, but finding the right length, fit, and color can be tricky. You have to make sure you’re comfortable wearing it, otherwise you won’t be concentrating on the all-important interview.

                      Again, stick to dark, solid colors, and make sure it’s not too short or low-cut. Get it right and you can get the ultimate sophisticated look – so team it with a blazer and smart shoes to complete the outfit.

                      Shoes

                        Wearing smart, clean shoes are a must to any interview. Women have the choice of heels or flats, but either are acceptable. Just make sure that you’re comfortable in what you wear. In other words, don’t choose the day of your interview to wear heels for the first time in months. You want to be able to walk confidently and not seem awkward. A nice pair of dark heels or flats go well with any combination of outfit, whether a dress or a trouser suit.

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                        Jenny Marchal

                        A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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                        Last Updated on October 7, 2021

                        Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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                        Are You Addicted to Productivity?

                        “It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

                        Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

                        “Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

                        Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

                        Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

                        “The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

                        This is my mantra:

                        I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

                        But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

                        Addiction to Productivity is Real

                        Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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                        “A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

                        Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

                        “It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

                        Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

                        “A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

                        “There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

                        “For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

                        There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

                        Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

                        By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

                        Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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                        Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

                        Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

                        Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

                        The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

                        Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

                        • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
                        • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
                        • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
                        • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
                        • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
                        • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
                        • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

                        The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

                        Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

                        Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

                        1. Set Limits

                        Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

                        For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

                        2. Create a Not-to-Do List

                        Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

                        3. Be Vulnerable

                        By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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                        4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

                        Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

                        Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

                        There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

                        5. Don’t Be a Copycat

                        Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

                        That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

                        6. Say Yes to Less

                        Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

                        That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

                        Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

                        7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

                        “In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

                        “That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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                        • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
                        • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
                        • Establish realistic goals.
                        • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
                        • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
                        • Hold yourself accountable.
                        • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
                        • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

                        8. Simplify

                        Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

                        The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

                        9. Learn How to Relax

                        “Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

                        “But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

                        “And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

                        But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

                        • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
                        • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
                        • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
                        • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
                        • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
                        • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
                        • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
                        • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
                        • Visit a massage therapist.
                        • Just breathe.

                        “Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

                        It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

                        Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

                        Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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