Interview Attire: Looking the Part

DSC_0057In a world where your first impression is now your resume and the second impression is when a potential employer meets you for the first time, it is important to dress appropriately for an interview.

CC Reflection: Going to an interview is tough enough without having to worry about how you look.

Recently I have been trying to teach my niece, who is new to the working world, how to dress when going in to ask for an application and if extremely lucky, an on-the-spot interview.  My niece thinks the more skin she shows the better her chances are of getting hired.  This strategy did work for her when she filled out an application at a certain fast food restaurant; she was even hired until they noticed her actual date of birth.  Apparently you have to be 18 and because of the way she was dressed and her build they thought she was older than she was.  I sat her down and gave her some tips on how she should dress and what she should NOT wear.  I’m going to share these tips with you so you can be better prepared to dress for your interview.

How you dress for an interview communicates to an interviewer how you will dress coming to work (if not wearing a uniform), how seriously you take the interview, and your respect for the company.  No matter the type of job you are interviewing for, always dress up for the interview.  This is YOUR first personal impression to an interviewer.  Your resume got you the interview; therefore how you dress for the interview can very well get you the job or cause you to lose it.

First we will start with basic tips for men and women alike.

  • ALWAYS bathe before an interview
  • Use deodorant
  • Brush your teeth
  • Groom your hair
  • Wear appropriate undergarments

The above tips seem simple and everyone should know this, but you would be surprised how many times I have seen people come in for an interview and have done none of the above.  Even if applying for a manual labor job, always follow the above tips.  If you stink at the interview, they are not going to want you to stink up the office or warehouse or even the company truck.

For women there are more guidelines that should be followed than there are for men, which is why we are leaving the men for last.  These tips will dress you from head to foot with confidence that you look professional and ready to take on any challenge.

  • A suit with a matching jacket would be the best thing you can wear
  • Dresses should NOT come any higher than half an inch above the knee, and half an inch below the knee
  • If wearing a skirt or dress, panty hose is recommended
  • Slips should be worn underneath dresses or skirts
  • Slacks should be pressed and ironed with the crease in the middle
  • Slacks should be the correct length for you, not dragging on the floor or waiting for high tide
  • Stockings or pantyhose are still recommended, even if wearing slacks
  • A blouse or shirt that is NOT cut low, accompanied with a jacket, preferably one that you can button
  • Closed toe shoes with a low heel
  • Your hair should be pulled back, away from your face and neat
  • Keep nails trimmed and clean
  • Always try on the outfit the day before to be sure it fits well, you do not want to be bursting out at the seams
  • Bring your portfolio, that will complete your professional look

We’ve concentrated on female dress and now will take a break before heading into what you guys out there need to know. Our next read will be published in a few days. Until then, keep your shoes shined and never forget one of the most important first impression cues: your smile.

Penned by Sharon Parker
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A Woman’s Evolving Empowerment

DSC_0166Although for some it may sound ridiculous, women continue to be the victims of gender discrimination. For many, discrimination is natural and based upon an historical expectation passed forth from household to the workforce. True enough, compared to other times in history, women have achieved more respect and recognition than at any other time… let’s take a minute or two to reflect.

Helping lead the way was The Equal Pay Act in 1963, designed to protect women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination. Additionally, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. (http://www.eeoc.gov/).

Though legislation to balance the field is in place, gender discrimination still exists.

Going back in history we learn World War II proved to highlight the necessity to have women become workforce active. After all, tools for war needed to be manufactured and factories were in desperate need of laborers. Statistically, before the war it was uncommon for women to work outside of their home. Thanks to the war, the number of working women rose from 14.6 million in 1941 to 19.4 million in 1944. Didn’t take long, but in only a few years, women proved they could do the same work as men.

More than 50 years ago The Equal Pay Act was passed to help correct compensation injustices. Not too long ago women were making 59 cents on the dollar for every dollar earned by a man.

Is it? Is it not? Jumping to modern times, on average women make 77cents on the dollar compared to what a man earns. Is this discrimination?

The reasons many companies prefer men over women in the workforce, even when women have a higher education level and/or the same experience as men, are too many to mention. Historically and culturally, there was (is?) the idea women want only to get married and have children, representing limitations for the employer. For the hiring manager, women represent extra expenses such as absences due to maternity responsibilities, as one of the reasons preventing women from getting a raise or a promotion… or so I’ve experienced first-hand.

Physical appearance represents another issue for consideration. (Un)Truth is, an attractive woman might represent a future sexual harassment law suit based on the number of males in the workplace. A woman that does not appear physically capable might not get even hired because the employer is making assumptions based strictly on gender without giving her the opportunity to prove him wrong. (Finn, Lisa. Demand Media)

Examining the issue objectively, Bloomberg performed an analysis and found average earnings for women to be lower than those for men. In 264 out of 265 major occupation categories, men earned more than women, representing 99.6% of all occupations. (www.bloomberg.com)

Gender discrimination is alive and kicking… no longer can our progressive country hide from the truth.

In a world of blatant discrimination, women must place success in their own hands, never settle for status quo, insist on progress, and understand that there is no limit to what can be accomplished.

Final truth: The world needs more talented, powerful, and smart women.

Already gaining steam, women can achieve equality by continuing their education, earning higher degrees, becoming entrepreneurs, and owners of their own ideas  as well as the architects of their own careers.

Penned by Carolina Mancipe
Your CC Connection