How to look professional for your interview (for women)

Interviews can be a bit intimidating depending on your situation, but my belief is that if you look good, you’ll feel more confident and have one less thing to worry about while sitting in front of your interviewer. No matter what anyone says, you’re going to be judged on your appearance because it is all a part of your first impression. I’m not saying you have to be a model, all I’m saying is you have to look put together and wear respectful clothing.

Here are a few steps to looking good and feeling confident for your interview:

  1. Wear business casual/formal depending on the industry

If your going into an interview for a business administration position I would stick to dress pants, a solid blouse and a blazer. Black is my go-to color because it looks clean (keep a lint brush on hand just in case); it is a slimming color and it works for any skin tone. Wearing a solid blouse is more formal and by avoiding noisy prints it allows the interviewer to hold his or her attention on you and what you’re saying instead of being distracted from some crazy pattern you’re wearing. This one might sound silly, but make sure to wear a blazer that matches the color of your pants. Even if you get black pants and a black blazer, sometimes the black colors can be slightly off… and trust me, you’ll notice when you’re in a certain light and you wont be able to keep your mind off of it. As for shoes, stick with flats that match your suit or even the blouse you wear. The pants could be swapped with a knee length pencil skirt and look just as professional. If you decide to wear a dress, then choose a higher neckline with either long-sleeves, short sleeves or put a blazer over it. The dress should follow the same length rules as the skirt- knee length.

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If you’re going into a more artistic (fashion, beauty, design) position then try to incorporate more of your own unique style into your professional dress. Anything mentioned above would work just as well, but maybe spice it up a bit with a small heel and even losing the blazer and adding an ironed button up shirt with a silk neck scarf, a blouse with subtle accents, or even adding jewelry that shows your sense of style. As for what to wear on the bottom, stay within the dress pants and knee length pencil skirt because it looks put together and can be very haute when paired with the other tops.

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2. Wear a flattering shape that is not restricting

Make sure that all of your clothes fit and even take them to a tailor if you like something so much, but it might not be exactly your size. Don’t wear clothes that are too flowy or baggy and definitely do not wear anything that is too tight that may cause bulging or having to pull a skirt down constantly if it rides up. Many items can be restricting like blazers or pencil skirts, but if you get them tailored or find the right shape you wont have this problem. You don’t need to be fixing your blouse, blazer or skirt while you’re trying to answer why you think you’ll be beneficial to the company you’re applying for!

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3. Wear shoes that you can walk in

So you have the perfect outfit, but you chose heels that were too tall or flats that you just decided you were going to break in the day of your interview – that’s not going to be fun. Please ladies, be humble and choose a smaller heel; one, it looks classier when you have at most a 3-inch heel compared to a 6-inch stiletto that you should be wearing to a club; and two, it still will give you that extra height and confidence, without the worry of tripping or twisting an ankle. Also, flats can be such a great alternative, but in my experience they are super painful if they don’t fit right or are not broken-in (be prepared for blisters). Tights can help this situation, but I’m sure there are flats out there that completely avoid this problem.

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4. Take care of your hygiene

All I’m going to say is:

  • Put on deodorant (bring it in your bag in case you tend to sweat more from anxiety)
  • Wear a light perfume (not too much because you don’t want to choke out your interviewer)
  • Brush your teeth (get out anything that could be stuck in there so you’re interviewer makes eye contact instead of staring at the piece of lettuce you had at lunch and were saving for later). Fresh breath also makes you feel more comfortable with smiling and talking more instead of trying to cover your mouth from the smell of the garlic bread you just indulged in a little bit ago.
  • Shower– Because you’re an adult now.

5. Wear your hair how you would normally wear it

This is more for a business administration job. If you wear your hair down, make sure it is de-tangled, de-frizzed and out of your face. If you wear your hair up, then make sure it is brushed and there aren’t any distracting bumps. It is one less thing you will have to worry about and since that is normally how you wear your hair then you’ll feel more comfortable and confident.

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In a more artistic job you’ll want to show your creativity, but sometimes the simpler the better. Pony-tails can seem very sophisticated as long as they’re neat and it can also be one less distraction for the interviewer if you’re not in the mood to do anything special with your hair that day. If you choose to wear it down, pinning it half up and straightening or curling the bottom is beautiful on anyone and helps to lessen the urge to keep fixing your hair or pushing it out of your face. Or, you can just wear it all down with it straightened, waved or curled. Just have it styled so it doesn’t look like you just rolled out of bed, please.

6. Apply makeup that brightens your eyes and enhances your natural beauty (NOT A CAKE FACE)

Unless you’re going to a interview to work for a makeup company, don’t put the focus on your makeup. In any case, don’t over do makeup because you shouldn’t look like a different person. For an interview, just stick with what you know.

  • Apply a foundation that matches your neck color
  • Contour (not too much) to add definition to your face and a subtle pink blush to your cheeks for a natural touch
  • Fill in your brows, but follow your natural line. There are too many drawn on brows out there that are like a train wreck that I just can’t look away from.
  • Natural lip color (get rid of chaped lips wih vaseline or chapstick) because it isn’t always easy to maintain that fresh lipstick look and it can be a bit too distracting for an interview
  • Brighten the inner eye with some white or pearly eye shadow so you look more awake
  • Wear mascara to widen your eyes and some top eyeliner if you can

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7. Limit your accessories

If you have a solid color outfit than feel free to use accessories as your pop of color or a little accent of a pattern in a silk neck scarf. A statement necklace always looks great with a blazer and dress pants or skirt. If you wear a statement necklace, stick to stud earrings or even none if your hair is covering your ears anyway. If you wear a lower neckline shirt, then pull the eyes up with a choker necklace that will lead the eyes upwards instead of down. With high neck shirts, long pendant necklaces or statement necklaces that fall just at your chest can be a perfect addition. Don’t mix silver and gold; just pick one. One to two rings is enough and usually one bracelet is just enough to create a stunning look.

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8. Wear an appropriate neck-line

Sometimes it’s hard, you try to find necklines that are flattering, but not too revealing and even still, sometimes you go to bend over and you’re appropriate shirt just droops down and suddenly it looks like you’re asking for some tip money. Cleavage is not professional, save it for the weekend ladies. Some can pull it off if they are more flat-chested, but stay away from this idea on the interview day. Wear higher neck lines and if you’re worried about showing too much, just wear a camisole underneath.

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9. Bring a purse or professional portfolio book to hold your resume/business cards/etc.

Most interviewers want a paper copy of your resume or even just a business card in order to stay in touch with you. Bring a purse that can stand up on its own when you place it on the ground and one that is big enough to safely hold a folder or portfolio book for when you need to pull out your resume or business cards.

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10. Keep nails clean 

It is a simple little thing that, depending on your job, might be more important than you think. Nails can also be associated with hygiene and even if you just keep them filed and clean it can make a difference for when you go to shake hands with you’re future or hand them your business card or resume.

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Good luck!

~ M + H

 

 

(All images are taken from google.com/images – non copyrighted)

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