Dressing For a Job Interview on a Budget
First impressions count, so the way you look for a job interview is one aspect of your preparation it is vitally important to get right. This is particularly true if you are currently out of the job market (either because of redundancy or a career break) and want to create the impression that you are professional and eager to get back to work. But if you don’t have a job, how on earth can you afford to dress like you do?
When you go to a job interview, you should aim to dress for success. However if your bank balance is feeling a little deflated, or your having cash flow problems and simply can’t afford to buy a new outfit to make you feel like a million bucks (because you don’t have a hundred bucks!) then here are a few hints and tips on dressing for a job interview on a budget:
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- Mock Interview – Practice and Prepare for Your Next Job Interview
Dress like You Already Have the Job
Research is a vital component of any interview success, and that includes research into what you should wear. Does the company favour formal wear for all of its employees, or is individual flair valued (this is often the case with tech start-ups or online endeavours). A great way of uncovering the answer to this question is to visit the company website and look for profile pictures of real members of staff.
The outfits they are wearing should give you plenty of clues as to what will be appropriate interview wear. It’s important to know your audience: if you enter a room full of individuals wearing sneakers and jeans wearing a formal black business suit then they are going to think you don’t understand the industry standards. By matching your outfit to the style and tone of others already working within the organisation you are subliminally letting them know that you will fit in well with the existing team.
Plain and Simple is an Ideal Solution
If you’re simply not sure what interview outfit style is most appropriate for the industry or role you are attempting to enter then the ideal solution is to choose a plain and simple outfit. For women, this means a pencil skirt worn with a smart top or blouse, or a plain dress worn with a well-fitting blazer. For men, a collared shirt teamed with a well-fitting suit. Ties tend to be losing favour as standard for job interviews, and are now largely optional in most modern companies.
Luckily, these kinds of outfits are easy to put together and can usually be sourced from your existing wardrobe. If not, then you could consider borrowing your outfit from a friend or family member who wears the same size as you: Your interviewer will never know, and it will save you the expense of buying an outfit that you’ll never wear again (particularly if you don’t get the job). If not, don’t dismiss the option of purchasing good quality and timeless second hand pieces from eBay or consignment stores to complement the items that you already have in your wardrobe.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
It’s a cliché because it’s true: one of the most important aspects of any outfit is the shoes on your feet. If you can’t afford new dress shoes then it is essential that the shoes you are wearing are clean and polished. Even if they are a little worn, a well-polished pair of shoes indicates that you are an individual that takes pride in their appearance and wants to make a good first impression. Black and brown shoe polish is inexpensive, so if you only buy one thing as part of your interview outfit preparation, make it the right polish to ensure your shoes are shiny and gleaming clean.
The fact is that you can never judge a book by its cover, and no one should be judged by what they choose to wear, but we are. In an interview situation, interviewers have to decide if you are the right candidate for them very quickly, you physical appearance provides just another tool by which they can base their decision about your suitability for the role: don’t make the mistake of choosing your outfit poorly and giving them something to judge negatively.
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