If you’re pounding the pavement in search of a job, the competition is fierce. So as much as we don’t want to admit or accept that looks are important; it’s paramount to put your best foot forward. It’s only a matter of time before you’re called in for a job interview and the key is to understand the importance of first impressions.
Your goal should be to convey your competence, neatness, and attention to detail — and all of those things can be communicated by your appearance. More importantly, when you feel confident about your appearance, you’ll be able to focus on presenting your qualifications and experience.
Here I’ve compiled a checklist for getting back into the work scene:
Hair: Keep it simple
• If it has been a while since your last trim due to belt-tightening, now’s the time to make that appointment and get on a regular schedule with your stylist. Nothing looks worse and (ugh, don’t say it) ages you more than scraggly ends.
• Unsightly and faded color is also a big no-no. Unless you are rockin’ that “Silver and Fabulous” look, which is great as long as you have a chic and polished haircut to emphasize it. But colored hair should be fresh and maintained.
• Make sure you stylist gives you a lesson on how to easily style your hair.
Makeup: Less is more
• For your face, you probably won’t need much more than concealer and loose powder. If you have blemishes or uneven skin tone, by all means, use a foundation
• Whether you choose lipstick or lip gloss, err on the subtle side. If the job is at Hot Topic, by all means, rock the Goth plumb look.
• Use eye shadows in neutral shades such as tan, brown, and cream. A little bit of shimmer is fine, but stay away from adding a lot of shine.
• Mascara and a thin line of smudged pencil eyeliner are really all you need to “wake up” your eyes especially for a daytime look.
• Well-groomed brows show that you pay attention to details.
• Apply a little bit of blush for a natural-looking, healthy glow.
Nails: A few tips (See what I did there?)
• Unless you have naturally clean, even, hangnail-free nails, get a manicure. It doesn’t matter whether your nails are long or short, but they should be neatly filed.
• A neutral nail is fool-proof, so look for barely-there beige and pink polishes. Classic red can work, too, but use your judgment: It’ll probably fit in at an ad agency, but not at a conservative law firm. The latest nail color trends may be perfectly appropriate for some retail/fashion and the salon environment.
Finally, and most importantly, SMILE. All of the primping and grooming doesn’t mean a thing if you aren’t excited to be there. Good luck!