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Job Interviews: Plan Your Appearance to Make a Great First Impression

Your personal appearance is a critical component of that all-important first impression when you walk into the room for your interview.

So plan ahead!

Some people don't think about what they're going to wear until the morning of the interview. Then they scramble to find something that's appropriate, clean, and doesn't look like it's been slept in.

Imagine putting on that rarely used suit an hour before your interview and discovering that it no longer fits!

Plan your outfit in advance, try it on to make sure it fits well, and get it cleaned and pressed if necessary.

When deciding what to wear, think "conservative business attire." Even if you are interviewing for a field job in which you'll wear jeans and steel-toed boots, those clothes are not appropriate for the interview. It's always better to dress "up" than to dress "down."

The key is to look professional.

Here are some preparation tips:

• Think about your hair in advance and make sure it's as ready for the interview as your clothes. Do you need a haircut or touch-up on the color? This goes for mustaches and beards, too.

• How are your teeth? If they're not pearly white, consider using one of the many teeth-whitening products on the market today. Dingy teeth really can make a negative impression, so don't ignore this.

• Freshen your breath, especially if it's been a while (or if you've eaten or smoked) since brushing your teeth. Don't go into the interview chewing gum.

• Do not plan to wear perfume or cologne. Having no noticeable scent is better than turning your interviewer off by wearing too much perfume/cologne (or wearing a scent that unpleasantly reminds an interviewer of an ex-spouse). And many people are allergic to ingredients in perfumes and colognes. It's safest to wear no scent at all.

• Women, if you decide on a dress or skirt, make sure it's not too sh ort. Be conservative. By the way, pantsuits are perfectly acceptable these days if they meet all the other criteria.

• Don't forget to consider your shoes. Chose a pair that is stylish, but conservative and comfortable. (Spike heels are not a good idea.) Make sure they're clean and/or shined.

Remember, your goal is to look professional and conservative. This applies to makeup, nail polish, jewelry, body piercings, tattoos, etc. If there's any chance that the interviewer might not like it, no matter how "cool" it is, don't let it show!

Dress to impress!

Bonnie Lowe is author of the popular Job Interview Success System and free information-packed ezine, "Career-Life Times." Find those and other powerful career-building resources and tips at her website: http://www.best-interview-strategies.com.


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