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Nicole Martin
New Jersey
Remixing my wardrobe to create buzz-worthy, office-approved outfits! Find out more at: Creating Panache.
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Interview Styles

We’re going take a break from our regularly scheduled outfit post today.  Instead, I wanted to post another tips/tricks/advice article.  This week, I wanted to address a topic that unfortunately a whole lot of people are facing these days… interviewing!

Some may say that dressing for an interview is super easy – throw on a suit and you’re done.  But what sort of impression does that leave on the interviewer?  Without any panache, probably not a lasting one.  Of course it’s your experience and skills that will help you get the job in the end, blah blah blah.  I completely realize that a snazzy outfit is not always necessary, but it can differentiate you from the crowd.  And, it will help your potential new employer understand who YOU are!  A good real-life example of this is Meg over at Bow Ties Are Cool ... she pulled together a quick and simple interview outfit that was both professional and reflective of her personality.

So, for today’s post I’ve created interview styles based around the simple black suit:

This first look is classic with a twist.  Just because you love your pearls and preppy look doesn’t mean you need to be boring.  Bring out your fun side with ruffles!  Or wear a ladylike print under that jacket and pair with an interesting necklace.  Just don’t pair ruffles with the necklace… they’ll end up competing for attention and may be too much.

The second look is what I call quirky… mainly because this is how I lean and I’m not sure what to call my style at times :)  Vintagey pieces will balance against the suit.  Leave super cutesy prints at home though – they may give off a more childish feel (not the first impression you want!)  Here is where the jewelry can shine and play up a more retro look. 

Others may want to push the envelope a little more, which is why I pulled together an edgy but professional look.  Depending on where you’re interviewing, this may be completely appropriate and sometimes expected.  Strut your stuff in bright, graphic prints.   I love the blazer + dress look here, especially paired with the booties.  Bold jewelry tops it all off!

Quick caveat – these looks are obviously based on my own personal style and preferences.  There’s no one “right” look, but there are several wrongs.  For example, be sure that your skirt/dress isn’t too short, or that too much cleavage is showing.  And of course an unkempt look is never right for an interview (or regular work day, for that matter).

What makes you feel the most confident in while on an interview?

Finally, my 5 top tips for any interview:

  1. Research the company you’re interviewing with.  Meaning, go beyond the part of their website that provides the mission statement.  Find out if the company has been in recent news.  This will prepare you for tip #4, and may help you understand whether you actually want to work there.
  2. Prepare everything the day before your interview.  Gather your resume, portfolio, entire outfit, etc. so that you’re not scrambling and creating unnecessary stress for yourself the day of.
  3. Know your resume inside and out – in other words, don’t put something out there because you know it sounds good.  Be prepared to speak to each bullet point – realistically, this probably won’t happen, but you’ll be ready for anything.
  4. Prepare smart, thoughtful questions for the interviewers.  This makes a really good impression because it shows that you have a true interest in working for the company.  The questions can be around their personal experience with the company or something you found during your research.  Don’t do a quick Google search and ask super generic questions, this will be obvious.
  5. Follow up later that day or the next (at the latest) with an e-mail thanking the interviewer for his/her time.  I don’t think many people do this anymore, and it’s a nice touch.  It also opens up a line of communication that allows you to politely inquire about their progress in filling the role.  This question should only be asked if it’s been a couple weeks since you’ve heard from the company, or if they are several days beyond a promised decision date.

For those out there interviewing right now… good luck!!!

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