How to power dress to impress at your job interview
Dressing well for an interview can make a huge impact on how the interview could go. Aside from making a good first impression, it also gives you a confidence boost. Your outfit should make you feel like you can take over the world. That, for me, is what power dressing is.
As a new graduate, dressing up for your first interview could be overwhelming. I’d like to believe that most interviewers shortlist candidates by merit, but between nearly similar candidates, appearance could be the deciding factor. I hope these tips could help you pick out the perfect outfit to help you get the job you want!
For tops, choose a more formal, strucktured look. A long-sleeved, button-down shirt is a good example. Opt for a crisp fabric - something that doesn’t look flimsy.
On some body shapes, stiffer fabrics might not be flattering. If you have the shoulders for it, a pussy bow blouse in soft fabric is a good alternative.
My traditional image of power dressing includes a blazer. To be honest, I feel like it’s too much for our tropical weather but for ultraconservative work environments - like in law or auditing firms - blazers are part of the dress code. I recommend investing in one if you’re applying as an associate for these firms.
For pants, choose straight-cut or slim-straight designs. Unless you have legs that stretch to infinity, avoid boot leg or wide leg pants because they sometimes make people look sloppy.
For skirts, go for knee-length or a midi pencil cut. If you find them too constricting, a-line skirts are a great option as well.
When it comes to shoes, opt for classic black high-heeled, pointed pumps. There’s something about wearing high heels that can make a woman feel powerful. If you haven’t tried walking in high heels before, practice! Go for a height that’s comfortable for you (two inches is a good start) and make sure your shoes are broken in before you attempt doing anything important with them. You’d want to avoid limping to an interview!
Keep accessories to a minimum. A way to know if it’s too much is if it might distract from the interview. In general, avoid huge pieces of jewelry, like dangling or hoop earrings or oversized bangles. If your outfit needs definition at the waist or if your slacks or skirt has loops for a belt, wear one.
Bring a bag that is big enough to carry an extra-copy of your resume, a pen, and a kit for makeup or fashion emergencies. Opt for a minimally designed and structured bag like this David Jones bag from Beauty MNL.
For makeup, the same rule applies. Keep it minimal and don’t let it take the focus of the interviewer. Use neutral colors and keep the whole look as neat-looking as possible.
These recommendations may seem boring, but I think it’s better to be on the safe side. You’d have a lot more opportunities to express yourself fashion-wise once you get the job and get a better idea of your new office's culture. In addition, as you build your corporate wardrobe, you can never have enough of these basic pieces. So choose basic cuts, neutral colors, or prints that aren’t too outlandish.
Lastly, you don’t need to spend much. Most fast fashion brands like Forever 21 and H&M have a Basics section where you can find classic pieces as shown above. Department stores like The SM Store and Robinsons are great places to shop for corporate clothes as well. And whatever you do, make sure everything fits perfectly. Spend the whole day shopping if you must, or take them to a seamstress if there's a need for minor alterations. It will be worth it!
Any tips to share? ;)