Thursday, November 26, 2015

Style Yourself for Interview Success

Schoolies are in town celebrating their final year of school before holidays and venturing on to University, jobs or apprenticeships. The world of possibility awaits and career decisions are being made. For many it will be the first in perhaps a long line of jobs and a few twists and turns on the career trajectory. It is not just school leavers who are contemplating their future. At this time of the year many people reflect and consider their past successes and achievements and also look toward new opportunity – including a new career or job.

Being skilled at what you do and having an outstanding resume will get your foot in the door. However one critical element that may help you secure that desirable position is how you appear and come across in the interview situation. Try these tips to gain the executive edge and shine.

Social media is the first port of call for recruiters. For business people LinkedIn is the place to showcase your professional persona. The first thing that will capture the attention of a recruiter or future employer is your photo. Make sure you have a professional photo taken that is clear, head and shoulders and wearing an appropriate business looking outfit. Doesn’t have to be a three piece suit – keep it sensible and simple – a shirt or top with or without jacket depending on your field of work. Wear your best accessory – a warm smile.

Handshake, eye contact and body language are all taken into consideration at an interview. These elements send subliminal signals about your confidence and authority. A direct gaze, strong firm handshake, sitting tall and upright and lack of fidgeting will convey assurance. 

Impress through your smart, appropriate style. Research the dress code of the organisation before you plan your interview outfit. Have a look at the images posted on their website. There may be images that will give you a visual impression of how they expect that brand to look. Industries such as finance and law are considered the most formal so a suit would be appropriate for both men and women. Many work places have a dress code of business casual but that still means to look smart. Shirt and pants or shirt with skirt could be just right. Colour also plays a part in creating warmth. Wear a colour close to your face that suits your skin tone and flatters you. That way you will appear bright and healthy. Style yourself as the person who is going places in this company. Consider that you will be reflecting that company brand image. Is it professional, trustworthy, creative – how would you project that visually through what you wear? Make sure the first impression the interviewer has of you is fabulous.

Neat, professional and a well-groomed appearance is the main essential criteria. Your clothing choices don’t need to be over the top expensive or the latest fashion. Don’t buy something new just for the job interview. Wear something you feel comfortable in but also presents the best version of you. Top it off with quality accessories where possible. A good handbag, well-polished shoes and simple jewellery.

Executive presence will help you stand out. Your skills, knowledge and experience, summarised in your CV and online will secure the interview. It is the interpersonal skills of appearance, behaviour and body language and your communication skills that will help you stand out.

In my free eBook The Power of Personal Public Relations I write more about image and building your brand. Download your copy here

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Read last week’s blog Does Your Leadership Presence Resonate?

Sue Currie is a personal branding specialist providing solutions to business owners and organisations to boost their image, renown, brand and business. She is the creator of the Shine Personal Branding System™ a process she uses to coach executives and entrepreneurs to progress in their careers. Sue is also the founder of Shine Academy™, providing professional development training. Through speaking, corporate workshops, and consulting, Sue helps businesses and individuals to stand out and shine.

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