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

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.

                        Reference

                        More by this author

                        Jenny Marchal

                        A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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                        Last Updated on September 18, 2019

                        15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done

                        15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done

                        You may think that you don’t have time for office organization, but if you really knew how much time that disorganization cost you, you’d reconsider.

                        Rearranging and moving piles occasionally doesn’t count. Neither does clearing off your desk, if you swipe the mess into a bin, or a desk drawer.

                        A relatively neat and orderly office space clears the way for higher productivity and less wasted time.

                        Organizing your office doesn’t have to take days, it can be done a little at a time. In fact, maintaining an organized office is much more effective if you treat it like an on-going project, instead of a massive assault.

                        So, if you’re ready to get started, the following organizing tips will help you transform your office into an efficient workspace.

                        1. Purge Your Office

                        De-clutter, empty, shred, get rid of everything that you don’t need or want. Look around. What haven’t you used in a while?

                        Take one area at a time. If it doesn’t work, send it out for repair or toss it. If you haven’t used it in months and can’t think of when you’ll actually need it, out it goes. This goes for furniture, equipment, supplies, etc.

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                        Don’t forget about knick-knacks, plants (real or artificial), and decorations – if they’re covered with dust and make your office look shabby, they’re fair game.

                        2. Gather and Redistribute

                        Gather up every item that isn’t where it belongs and put it where it does.

                        3. Establish Work “Zones”

                        Decide what type of activity happens in each area of your office. You’ll probably have a main workspace (most likely your desk,) a reference area (filing cabinet, shelves, binders,) and a supply area (closet, shelves or drawers.)

                        Place the appropriate equipment and supplies are located in the proper area as much as possible.

                        4. Close Proximity

                        Position the equipment and supplies that you use most within reach. Things that you rarely use can be stored or put away.

                        5. Get a Good Labeler

                        Choose a label maker that’s simple to use. Take the time to label shelves, bins, baskets drawers. Not only will it remind you where things go, but it will also help others who may have a need to find, use, or put away anything in your workspace.

                        6. Revise Your Filing System

                        As we move fully into the digital age, the need to store paper files has decreased.

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                        What can your store digitally? Are you duplicating files? You may be able to eliminate some of the files and folders you’ve used in the past. If you’re storing files on your computer, make sure you are doing regular back-ups.

                        Here’re some storage ideas for creating a smooth filing system:

                        • Create a meeting folder – Put all “items to be discussed” in there along with items that need to be handed off, reports that need to be given, etc. It’ll help you be prepared for meetings and save you stress in the even that a meeting is moved up.
                        • Create a WOR folder – So much of our messy papers are things that are on hold until someone else responds or acts. Corral them in a WOR (Waiting on Response) folder. Check it every few days for outstanding actions you may need to follow-up on.
                        • Storage boxes – Use inexpensive storage boxes to keep archived files and get them out of your current file space.
                        • Magazine boxes – Use magazine boxes or binders to store magazines and catalogs you really want to store. Please make sure you really need them for reference or research, otherwise recycle them, or give away.
                        • Reading folder – Designate a file for print articles and documents you want to read that aren’t urgent.
                        • Archive files – When a project is complete, put all of the materials together and file them away. Keep your “working folders” for projects in progress.
                        • File weekly – Don’t let your filing pile up. Put your papers in a “To File” folder and file everything once a week.

                        Learn more tips on organizing your files here: How to Organize Your Files for Better Productivity

                        7. Clear off Your Desk

                        Remove everything, clean it thoroughly and put back only those items that are essential for daily use.

                        If you have difficulty declutter stuff, this Declutter Formula will help you throw away stuff without regretting later.

                        8. Organize your Desktop

                        Now that you’ve streamlined your desktop, it’s a good idea to organize it.

                        Use desktop organizers or containers to organize the items on your desk. Use trays for papers, containers for smaller items.

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                        Don’t forget your computer desktop! Make sure the files or images are all in organized folders. I’d recommend you clear your computer desktop everyday before you leave work.

                        9. Organize Your Drawers

                        Put items used together in the same drawer space, stamps with envelopes, sticky pads with notepads, etc.

                        Use drawer organizers for little items – paper clips, tacks, etc. Use a separate drawer for personal items.

                        10. Separate Inboxes

                        If you work regularly with other people, create a folder, tray, or inbox for each.

                        11. Clear Your Piles

                        Hopefully with your new organized office, you won’t create piles of paper anymore, but you still have to sort through the old ones.

                        Go through the pile (a little at a time if necessary) and put it in the appropriate place or dump it.

                        12. Sort Mails

                        Don’t just stick mail in a pile to be sorted or rifle through and take out the pieces you need right now. Sort it as soon as you get it – To act, To read, To file, To delegate or hand off. .

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                        13. Assign Discard Dates

                        You don’t need to keep every piece of paper indefinitely. Mark on files or documents when they can be tossed or shredded.

                        Some legal or financial documents must be kept for specified length of time. Make sure you know what those requirements are.

                        14. Filter Your Emails

                        Some emails are important to read, others are just not that important.

                        When you use the filter system to label different types of emails, you know their priority and which to reply first.

                        Take a look at these tips to achieve inbox zero: The Ultimate Way to get to Inbox Zero

                        15. Straighten Your Desk

                        At the end of the day, do a quick straighten, so you have a clean start the next day.

                        Bottom Line

                        Use one tip or try them all. The amount of effort you put into creating and maintaining an efficient work area will pay off in a big way.

                        Instead of spending time looking for things and shuffling piles, you’ll be able to spend your time…well…working and you’ll enjoy being clutter free!

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                        Featured photo credit: Alesia Kazantceva via unsplash.com

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