It’s the time of the year again when thousands of college freshies are swarming to the metro to try their luck landing their dream jobs. After four years in college, you would think at least one professor would teach you how to properly dress once you get out into the “real world”.
But with no such luck, you’re probably wondering "How exactly am I supposed to dress for my interview?"
Amy Glass, an expert on presentation skills, business etiquette, professional presence and interpersonal communication once said: "In an interview situation, you're marketing yourself as a product, and so you want and need to have the best image possible."
With that in mind, let this article help you look your best when attending an interview.
Comfort comes first
Warm blazers, tight-fitting skirts/pants and killer heels or hard-soled shoes are basically what a Tiis Ganda look consists of. Essentially, it means sacrificing comfort just to look good. But we’re forgetting to consider the weather here in the Philippines. It’s almost always hot and the traffic is always bad. This is why putting on an ensemble that’s comfortable is essential.
A slightly more unconventional way of dressing for an interview is somewhat hugely accepted now. You can ditch the uncomfy coats, blazers, dress shirts, ties and heels. For the girls, you can opt for a nice dress and thin blazer paired with an inch or two high heels. As for the guys, you could never go wrong with a tucked-in long-sleeved shirt, a good pair of pants and some comfy boat shoes.
But no matter what, make sure you are presentable. No crumpled clothes and dirty items you just picked up off your ‘floor-drobe’. This is the real world!
High price tags aren’t always necessary
Going to Rockwell, Greenbelt and other high-end malls isn’t always the answer to your wardrobe problem. Yes, it is nice to shop for branded items, but there are also alternatives where you can buy the same clothes with almost the same quality, but cheaper. Also, the variety of pieces that you can choose from is much bigger in a department store, meaning you can save money for other things like bags, shoes and other accessories to complete your get-up.
An additional tip! Some might think it’s a big no-no, but if you really are into signature things, you can always hunt the Ukay-Ukays (thrift shops) around. More than 50% of their items are branded and are still in good condition. This way, it’s a win-win situation.
Don’t stress - you don’t need a whole new wardrobe
Unless, of course, all you own are shorts and flip flops.
Try googling “clothing essentials for women at work”. You might be surprised to find out that you don’t need every colour available of those pants that you’ve been eyeing. The secret is to be smart and creative. Mix and match your old and new ones, play with colors and patterns, and try grabbing some stuff from your sibs’ closet. Your white blouse doesn’t always have to go with your brown pants.
As Glass states: "If I'm a young woman and I invest in a nice black pantsuit, I could use that one suit for interviews, but change the shirt, jewelry or scarf each time.”
Accessorise like a pro
Don’t neglect the power of the small trinkets. Get those shoes shined. Dust your leather bag. Use that vintage watch your parents gave you on your 18th birthday. These simple pieces will add on to your professional look. Some even say that adding accents to your clothing is a sign of confidence.
If all else fails, just ask!
In many traditional industries, like finance or accounting, business professional dress will be appropriate. This means a more conservative suit, shirt and tie if you're a man, or a professional dress or suit if you’re a woman. You can show your individuality through accessories - such as jewellery or a scarf.
In other industries like advertising or public relations, for example, you might be able to get away with a more casual look. But it can be difficult to know exactly what to wear, especially if some days you are behind a desk - but others you are client-facing. The solution is simple - just ask the company about their dress code. Do this when you are contacted at the interview stage so that you have a good idea of what to wear. But when in doubt, always overdress, rather than underdress.
So, with the effort and expense you have put into your professional image, will it make any difference?” Absolutely!
"Your image matters because it shows your attentiveness to detail and gives recruiters an idea of how you'll represent their company to clients, both internally and externally.,"
Essentially, the message you send visually makes a big difference in how people view you, and can ultimately make or break whether you get the job.
Excited for your first interview? Apply for jobs in these fields and choose your threads accordingly!