By Bamidele Dipo-Ajayi
Have you been pounding the pavement looking for a job, any job, a better job? Are you ready to start your career or take it to the next level? You know that your resume is quite impressive and you are ready to wow your prospective employer with all your skills and know how? then, it is only a matter of time before you get called for an interview.
One of the most crucial elements of the interview is the first impression you make. It takes just a quick glance, about three to seven seconds for someone to evaluate you when they meet you for the first time. You want to convey your confidence, competence and attention to detail, all of which can be communicated by your appearance. Here are a few foolproof tips to nail that interview:
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- Wash and dry your hair the day before the interview. If you don’t do your hair yourself, take it to your stylist or a salon and have it done. You want to look nice and well kept.
- If you are a natural sister with a huge afro there are several styles that can help subdue the mane so as not to intimidate people or scare them off (this has happened to me, but I still got the job and that was because I had someone that vouched for me and my skills; you might not have that so it’s crucial to go in there without giving them any opportunity to doubt your competence because of your hair). Youtube has a lot of video tutorials on professional styles and here are a few channels to visit: Naptural85, Kimmaytube, Msvaughn, and BlakIzBeautiful. You should be able to wear your hair almost any way you want once you’ve gotten the job and figured out the company’s style and policies, but the preparation is for the sake of getting your foot in the door.
- If your hair is long, consider putting it back in a ponytail, otherwise you might be tempted to play with it due to nervousness.
- Make sure your hair is out of your face; bangs falling into your eyes can be sexy on a date or a night out with friends but won’t scream ‘professional’ at a job interview. Use a bobby pin!
- Keep it simple: no flashy or glittery accessories.
- Less is definitely more: no rainbow colors, no glitter, and no false lashes, nothing reminiscent of a showgirl.
- If you don’t need much coverage, a little concealer and some powder will work. If you have blemishes or uneven skin tone that you want or need to cover then use some foundation, just make sure that it’s well blended into your hairline and down your neck, you don’t want to have a bi-colored jaw line.
- Apply eye shadows in neutral colors: tan, brown, beige, and cream.
- I suggest you skip the liquid liner even if you are a pro, just apply a thin line with a pencil liner and then some mascara.
- Apply a little blush to the cheeks; it will give you a healthy glow.
- Groom your brows. Tweeze any unwanted strays, brush in place and use some brow gel. If you don’t have brow gel, you can mix a little hair gel with water to get the same results.
- Wear a lipstick instead of lip-gloss; glosses tend to be too shiny and draw too much attention to your lips. Find a lipstick color that works best for your complexion. A tinted lip balm can also be used in place of a gloss or a lipstick.
- If you don’t typically wear makeup, there is no need to go out and spend a ton on makeup. Do what feels the most comfortable and natural for you. However, keep in mind that you want to put your best foot forward and that your appearance says a lot about you.
- Get a manicure (you can do this yourself or have a friend help if you are being economical).
- Make certain that your nails are neatly filed; jagged edges and chipped polish always look unkempt.
- If you are going to paint your nails, opt for neutral shades like pale pink or light beige. No need for a French manicure, some people like them, others don’t and you don’t know which class your interviewer falls into. Instead, opt for a single shade.
Finally, it is imperative that you feel confident about your appearance. Don’t do anything that will make you uncomfortable or fidgety to the point where you are unable to concentrate on the task at hand: showing and convincing the interviewer that you are the best candidate for the job. Give yourself enough time to get ready on the day of and arrive at least 10 to 15 minutes before your interview. And one more thing, please SMILE, it endears people to you and shows them that you are happy or excited to be there.