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After University

Work - Personal Appearance


The following section acts as a guide to helping you prepare your appearance for . However, you can also apply the same principles to work once you have attained the . It is said that you have 10 seconds upon meeting someone to make your first impression.

Bearing that in mind, people will judge you on the way you look and carry yourself; the time old saying of never judge a book by it's cover has never been as out of place as it is within work. People and perspective especially will be doing just that! More often than not, your appearance will play a huge part in the way you are perceived and treated. In the following section we discuss factors that influence appearance, and suggest possible ways to approach at interviews and within the .

Dressing for an interview

How you look when you arrive for an will be an important factor in deciding whether that is offered to you or not. To sell yourself as the ideal candidate you will need to take into account the company to which you are applying, the type of job you are going for, the colours you wear, hair, makeup, jewellery etc. It is worthwhile remembering that you have been chosen for interview on the merits of your so the biggest part of the sale is complete. It is now up to you to impress! The guide below is just that - a guideline of ideas that could lead to that all-important job.

Appearance for Men

  • Suits - Ideally you should have in your possession either a two or . They needn't be expensive, there are plenty of department stores that sell well made and more importantly well cut suits at reasonable prices. You don't have to buy a designer suit to create an impressive look. The best colours to go for are conservative ones like black or blue. When deciding which one to wear on the day, consider the company you are going to. If you decide not to go for a suit, separates can also work well. You could buy a smart jacket and wear it with any number of trousers that match.
  • Trousers - When buying these, it is vital they fit perfectly. If you have bought a suit then the trousers come with the jacket. Ensure that whatever trousers you buy are comfortable, and do not drape along the floor. If they are too long for you, most stores will be able to offer alterations or recommend a .
  • Shirt - The shirt should match the suit, and be the right size. Again, the colour of shirt you wear on the day will depend on the you are going to. Ideally you will have a number of shirts that you can wear with the one suit. To complete the look you could always add some cufflinks. Try and avoid bright colours as they can attract attention for the wrong reasons. Remember you want to be remembered for your vibrant personality, not the colour of your shirt.
  • Tie - When attending an interview in a suit, a tie must be worn, ideally matching your suit. However, this is one area that you could have some fun with. A tie can say a lot about you - the individual. Try to avoid a novelty tie as this can distract the interviewer, but do wear one that you feel reflects your personality.
  • Shoes and socks - Formal shoes should be worn, as opposed to trainers or boots. Ensure they are polished and that your socks are dark in colour. There is nothing worse than a flash of white sport or towelling socks peeping under your trousers! Good shoes can be expensive, however department stores do shoes at reasonable prices.
  • Hair - Ensure that your hair is kept neat and tidy. If you have long hair, sweep it back into a ponytail. Most importantly, make sure that your hair is washed and combed.
  • Nails - You should make sure your nails are clean and trimmed. If you have rough skin or a tendency to bite your nails, try and fix these for the day. Avoid sweaty palms but by applying some hand cream before hand.
  • Tattoos and Piercings - The interviewer should not be able to see any piercings that adorn your body. If you wear earrings, either take them out or wear a simple stud for the interview. Nose, lip, tongue and eyebrow piercings in particular should be avoided.
  • Smoking - If you are a smoker try to avoid smoking just before the interview. Try not to smoke in a confined space, as this will retain the smell on your clothing. If you have smoked before your interview keep some breath mints handy.
  • Your demeanour - Try not to swagger, whist in the . Speak politely and clearly and be concise. Try to avoid the use of slang, but be yourself. Remember the wants to see the real you, not a performance purely for the interview.

Appearance for Ladies

  • Suit - Get a well fitting suit. For ladies this can vary from a trouser, dress or skirt suit. The suit needn't be an expensive one, go for one that is well cut. Ladies suits can be bought from a number of stores ranging from department stores to . Colours should ideally be black or blue however you could choose any neutral colour. If wearing a skirt or dress suit, pay attention to the length; it should not be too short.
  • Blouse - Ladies can wear a smart blouse with or without cufflinks or choose a smart top, which matches the suit.
  • Footwear - Always choose something that is comfortable, that matches the suit, and you can walk in. Heels can give height and definition, but avoid wearing high-heeled shoes without hosiery.
  • Hair - Everyone has bad hair days, and they always seem to attack when you least expect. Unruly hair should be swept back off the face, using combs, slides, scrunchies or hairbands. Keep hair clean and try to avoid putting too many products in your hair. Go for a soft and sleek image.
  • Make-up - The best look to go for is the natural one. Avoid the dramatic looks for an interview. Keep shades subtle.
  • Perfumes - Go for a subtle, fresh scents and keep the strong ones for evenings. As with all scents, those around you should not be able to smell your perfume.
  • Jewellery - The wearing of jewellery should be kept to a minimum. It is best not to turn up draped in jewellery as it detracts attention away from you. Keep it simple, like a watch, necklace and ring.
  • Nails - Should be clear and well trimmed. If you decide to wear nail varnish, make sure it matches your suit or play it safe and go for a clear, or fresh polish.
  • Bags - Handbags should be smart and ideally in a colour that compliments your clothing. Black, blue and browns work best. are also popular with ladies, allowing sufficient space for those important documents.
  • Smoking - If you are a smoker try to avoid smoking just before the . Try not to smoke in a confined space, as this will retain the smell on your clothing. If you have smoked before your interview keep some breath mints handy.
  • Your demeanour - Try not to swagger, whist in the interview. Speak politely and clearly and be concise. Try to avoid the use of slang, but be yourself. Remember the wants to see the real you, not a performance purely for the interview.

Dressing for work - Casual Wear

More and more nowadays offer or the chance to dress casually on occasion. The one thing to bear in mind is that you should be wearing casual business attire. Shorts and T-shirts with slogans should not be worn. Casual shirts and trousers are a preferred option. Some may deter you from wearing denim and trainers. First and foremost all clothing should be clean and crease free. Please not if attending an interview with a company that promotes casual dress, you should still dress in a formal manner.

Dressing for work - Formal Wear

The dress code for like casual varies on the situation. There are likely to be instances where only a suit will do, or you may be required to simply wear something smart. Always use your discretion. All formal wear should be dry cleaned regularly to keep it looking it's best, as shoes should be polished and healed. Stick to safe colours like blacks, blues, greys and browns, as they are least offensive. Even whilst wearing a suit it is best to avoid heavy piercings and jewellery.

Keeping Up Appearances

You have got the job - so how do you keep it?

Aim to maintain that first impression that lead led to you getting the in the first place. This needn't be a chore. The following are a short list of things to consider so you keep that job!

  • Time keeping - Always arrive a little before or on time. Try not to be late. If through no fault of your own, you are late, make sure you apologise to your boss and colleagues.
  • Attendance - Try to keep your rate of high. Book well in advance and keep sick days to a minimum.
  • Always be prepared - If there are manuals or books that you need with you ensure they are kept handy. Keep pens and paper handy at all times.
  • Cars - The car you drive can say a lot about you! Don't let it become a talking or laughing point. Choose a reliable car that is within your budget.
  • Tidy your desk - Your desk should be neat and tidy, in the event you are away someone should be able to locate items easily. A tidy desk gives an organised and capable impression.