So you've scored an interview for the job of your dreams. Your CV has made the right impression, but now comes the even harder part - meeting your potential employer face-to-face.
Your skills and experience play a part, but don’t forget that anyone conducting an interview will be assessing you from the moment you walk in the door.
Before you’ve said a single word, they’ve already made a first judgment or impression of you based on how you are dressed.
Here are my six fail safe tips to make sure that your clothing helps you stand out amongst the competition and secure your dream job.
The very first thing that you need to know is what standard of dressing is required and desired in the company. Organisations want people that fit in with the general character and culture of the business. So whether it’s a more conservative look (i.e. insurance, law, finance) or somewhere that accepts more casual and creative clothing (such as retail, entertainment, advertising), know the business you are in, or want to break into, and dress in a way that reflects it. Wearing a formal suit in an office with a very casual dress policy will make you seem out of touch, as will wearing jeans and a t-shirt to a traditional office.
If the company does have a relaxed dress policy, aim for smart casual, rather than "I just got out bed" casual. Smart jeans and a shirt will present a professional look but still fit in with the overall culture.
Choose clothing that expresses your personality, while still being appropriate for the environment. For example, wear a blazer in one of your best colours or add a unique accessory. The key here is to keep the look professional while using clothes that represent you and help you be memorable.
Steer clear of anything that could distract away from what you are saying - you want your clothes to support your overall message, but not overpower it, so avoid fluoro colours, noisy or heavy jewellery or bangles and low cut, revealing or tight clothing.
Choose items that you are comfortable and confident wearing, including when you are standing and seated. If you are wearing a skirt, make sure it doesn't ride up too high when you sit down. You should be able to eloquently walk into a room and present yourself confidently.
Pay attention to the details - be well groomed and make sure that any other items you use (handbag, notepad etc.) are in good condition and support your image.