Interviews: Looking the Part

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I was recently invited to speak in panel about my volunteer work for a segment called “The Power of Giving” on CNN en Español! While my first thought was excitement (ok, let’s be honest, first came total dread that I would be on air and forget my name, after which excitement slowly trickled in), my second thought was “How the hell do I prepare myself for to be on camera?”

We all prepare ourselves for interviews by brushing up our resumes, researching a topic you will be speaking about or beefing up on our interviewer. But how much time do we spend thinking about how our outfits speak for us before we even open our mouths? I was once told that, in a job interview, you have 10 seconds to grab the employer’s attention. While I am sure that pertains to the first things that come out of your mouth, imagine the seconds that lead up to that, where all your interviewer is focused on is the person in front of them.

So, while preparing myself for this TV interview, I came across a few GREAT tips to looking perfect for any on-air or in-office interview.

1. Be well groomed! Make sure you are clean-shaven or that your hair is styled properly so that you look completely put together. Having well kept nails is just as important as a clean-shaven face.

2. Match the company colors. If the company you are interviewing for has predominant colors, incorporate them into your look- through a tie, a colored blouse.

3. No perfume!!! Seems like an odd tip, doesn’t it? You never know if your interviewer is allergic or sensitive to colognes and perfumes, so play it safe and stick with a very light scent or no scent at all.

4. Pick the right outfit! While we hope that people won’t judge a book by its cover, we know that is seldom the case. Especially when employers and interviewers are formulating their opinions of you. They want to be sure that you fit the aesthetic of the company. You can pretty much tell how you should dress for an interview based on the type of job you are interviewing for. You don’t want to dress too formally and be considered uptight or dress down and be thought of as disinterested.

5. Don’t forget to be you! Employer’s appreciate when some of your personality is reflected in your style. I once arrived at a job interview sporting blue nails and received compliments. Clearly, there are places and spaces where that wouldn’t work. But, whether it is with colorful nails or a spectacular necklace, you can add your personal touch to anything.

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