The goal of a resume is not so much to get the job, but to get you to the next step in the search: An invitation for an interview. The resume is a version of you – a paper version, so to speak. If the resume is well prepared, it will result in attaining your goal of getting the all important interview, or even better, many interviews. Or even “just a job”. Whatever is important in your present situation.
But are you prepared for the interview?
In this issue, we’ll discuss what to wear, actual interview questions to be prepared for and appropriate answers will be addressed in the next issue.
Although the trend of “business casual” is everyone’s mantra, the old adage of “you never get a chance to make a first impression” is tried and true. Don’t underestimate the power of the first impression. It only takes seconds to formulate an opinion. It could take hours/weeks/months to undo a poor first impression. If you have the chance at all. How much of a chance do you want to take? Better yet, how much of a chance can you afford to take?
Of course the rules change a bit depending on your field and professional level, but it’s always better to play it safe. In most situations, it’s best to avoid extremes. Not too formal. Not too casual. Not too trendy. Not too old-fashioned. Your judgement is often being examined from the moment you walk in the door. If you can’t figure out how to present yourself on an interview, then they may question your overall decision-making ability. This is one place where you actually can prepare, so take advantage of it! Once you get the job and see the day- to-day activities and environment, you’ll be in a much better position to test the extremes if you are so inclined.
It sounds obvious to say to “use common sense”, and just dress “appropriately”. There are many people who have not interviewed in quite some time, or are changing fields and are unsure of the interviewing climate. So, for those people and anyone else who needs a refresher, here are some more basic tips: dress like you already work for the company and you’ll be perceived as fitting in better. For men: wear darker colors (they present a more powerful image), get your shoes shined, don’t wear jewelry other than wedding bands and watches, mild or even no cologne is preferable and be well-groomed. For women: no noisy, jangling, distracting jewelry, light or no perfume, no short skirts, spikey heels or low cut tops.
Bottom line – interview attire is just like any other attire. If you feel good in what you are wearing you will feel more confident. If you are confident, you’ll perform better and therefore make a better impression. When you make a better impression, success follows!
Lauren Castle is the owner of Impress Express, a professional image firm, focusing on career development, resume preparation, presentation skills, etiquette and interview coaching. We are members of the Professional Association of Resume Writers. For help with your image, posting your resume, or preparing your internet-friendly resume, contact Lauren directly at 858-459-7400. And, as always, please forward your image and career-related questions to firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.