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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

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                        Jenny Marchal

                        A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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                        Last Updated on September 17, 2020

                        5 Practical Ways to Get Over a Mental Block

                        5 Practical Ways to Get Over a Mental Block

                        There’s nothing quite like a state of “flow” when you’re working. The rare moments when your inspiration aligns with your motivation likely lead to some of your most creative work. Plus, it feels great to actually check a task or project off the list so you can move on to the next thing. Meanwhile, a mental block — its opposite — can cause work to feel laborious and uninspired. Forget creativity when you have a mental block — it makes it difficult even to start working on what you need to do.

                        A mental block can manifest in several ways. Perhaps your imposter syndrome is squelching your creative ideas, for instance, or you’re overwhelmed by the breadth of a project and its impending deadline. Maybe you’re just tired or stressed.

                        Either way, having a mental block feels like being trapped in your own head, and it can seriously dampen your ability to think outside the box. The problem is, you’re so locked into your own perspective that you don’t see more innovative approaches to your problems.[1]

                        Luckily, jumping over these mental hurdles is simpler than you think. You just need the right strategies to get your flow back.

                        Try these five practical ways to overcome a mental block.

                        1. Break Your Project Down

                        A few years ago, I was working on changing a company product that I believed would hugely benefit our customers. Sounds great, right?

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                        As inspired as I was to make people’s lives easier, though, the sheer magnitude of the task at hand felt overwhelming. Every morning, I cracked open my laptop to work and felt totally paralyzed. I loved the idea, yes, but actualizing it felt risky. What if it didn’t turn out the way I pictured in my mind? More importantly, where would I even begin?

                        A former colleague gave me great advice over coffee:

                        Change how you think. Start by breaking the big project down into small tasks.

                        When a major project overwhelms you, you only see the entire forest instead of the individual trees. And as you stare it down, you start to feel discouraged by your own lack of progress, thus slowing you down further.

                        Breaking down a massive task into smaller chunks makes the work feel more manageable. You’ll have multiple clear places to start and end with, which will lend a motivating sense of productivity and mastery to your process. Learn more about it here: The Motivation Flowchart: The Mental Process of Successful People

                        Think of it as accumulating small wins. When you realize you’re more capable than you have once thought, you’ll develop the momentum and confidence needed to get your big job done little by little.[2]

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                        2. Change Up Your Scenery

                        Of course, there’s a time and place for sitting down to get things done. But if you’re experiencing a mental block, switching up your surroundings can make a big difference in your output.

                        Have you ever noticed how your environment directly impacts your performance and mood?

                        Your brain associates your physical surroundings with certain feelings and activities. So, if you feel mentally stuck, your mind may need some new sensory stimuli.

                        During this time in your life, it may not be possible to set up shop at a cafe or move from your cubicle to a conference room, so you may need to think outside the box. If you’re working remotely in a home office, try going to your dining table or couch. If the weather cooperates, sit outside for a bit with your computer or take a walk around the block.

                        You can also simply rearrange your workspace. Not sure where to begin? Try decluttering. Some studies show that an organized desk enhances productivity.[3]

                        The point is to stimulate your brain with new sounds and sights. You may find a much-needed dose of inspiration when you work while breathing in the fresh air, listening to city sounds, or staying in the comfort of your own living space.

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                        3. Do an Unrelated Activity

                        When it comes to productivity, a bit of distraction isn’t always a bad thing. That’s especially true if your chosen distraction helps you get things done in the long run.

                        Have you realized how your most creative thoughts tend to bubble up when you’re, say, lying in bed or taking a shower? In their research of the “incubation period,” scientists have discovered that people’s best ideas seem to surface when they aren’t actively trying to solve a problem.[4]

                        In a 2010 study, participants needed to look for a roommate or new employee based on the profiles that the researchers gave. The people who had a brief “incubation period” — in this case, working on an anagram — consistently made better choices than those who spent more time weighing their options.

                        If you can’t seem to prime your brain for a project, try doing something completely unrelated to work, such as washing your dishes, working out, or calling a friend. Some experts say finding another low-stake project to work on can help jump-start the creative part of your brain and activate your flow.[5]

                        The key is to allow your unconscious mind to do its best work: eliciting the new knowledge your conscious mind may be ignoring or suppressing.[6]

                        4. Be Physical

                        Feeling antsy? When your mind won’t seem to settle into a state of flow, it may help to swap out your mental activity for a physical one and see how it impacts your perspective.

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                        While any physical activity is beneficial for your body — and getting up to move can serve as a helpful form of distraction — certain forms of exercise can more directly impact the mind. To be specific, relaxing, flow-based exercises like dance, yoga, or tai chi can create a gentle sense of momentum in your body, which can prime your brain for the same state.

                        Stress-reducing activities may also be necessary. Meditating or taking slow, deep breaths will also calm your nervous system if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Evidence shows that the logical, creative part of your brain essentially shuts off when you’re stressed.[7]

                        On the flip side, when your mind and body are relaxed, you can think more clearly, be more creative, and focus for longer periods — all of which will help you overcome a mental block.

                        5. Don’t Force It

                        It can be frustrating to fight against your own mind. If your mental block won’t go away after some effort, it may be time to take a break. Forcing creative thoughts only adds to your stress levels, which in turn inhibits your ability to think creatively. And if you sit and stare at a project for too long, you’ll not only waste valuable time but also begin to associate this specific work with frustration and produce work you’re not proud of.

                        “I know that forcing something is not going to create anything beyond mediocre, so I step aside and work on a different project until it hits me,” the artist Ben Skinner said about his creative process.[8]

                        If your work isn’t time-sensitive, then it may make sense to step away for a while to focus on something else, be it an administrative task that requires less creativity or a project that you feel motivated to work on.

                        When the time is right, you’ll find your way back to the original task with a fresh, creative perspective (hopefully).

                        More on Getting Rid of a Mental Block

                        Featured photo credit: Jonas Leupe via unsplash.com

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