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Job Search Handbook

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Student Employement Services

"...equipping students with job search tools for a lifetime."

Mirror Image

The looking glass has been known to be a metaphor for the mirror. What do you see? Enthusiasm? Creativity? Confidence? You should. These are just a few characteristics of becoming an irresistible hire to a potential employer. Developing a powerful first impression is not easy nor does it come without practice. Just as an actor would audition for a play; there's only one chance to make a first impression. Dressing for the interview is the first step. Sure, figuring out what to wear for the interview can become very wearisome. But it doesn't have to be if you follow these easy tips for success.
I have heard the complaints and innocuous questions: Why do I have to dress up for the interview? Why does it matter what I wear? That's not fair! I often say that these are great questions, but my response always comes back to: "Do you want the job?" If the answer is yes, then one must adjust to the rules of the game. Knowing what to wear and when to wear it is a learned skill -- a skill that cannot remain undeveloped. It is imperative that first impressions are successful. There's an old adage, "actions speak louder than words," which still holds true especially in the business world. First impressions include your head-to-toe image: your smile, your frown, your walk, and your talk. Becoming more aware of your actions and reactions can help. Practice in front of a mirror and take note of your facial expressions and body language. This will give you an idea of what you are projecting to others. There are many forms of dress attire: casual, business casual, professional, and formal. These styles will start to take on a more definite shape depending on the career field of choice. Whether one is applying for a position as a Sales Representative at a water park or an Associate Director of a Fortune 500 company; each occupation will have its defined dress attire. Another helpful hint is to dress a step above the company's normal attire. This is not to put yourself on a pedestal, but to express genuine interest in the position. It also portrays a reflection of personal responsibility. There are many ways to find out the company's dress culture. For starters, view any advertisement of that particular company. Normally, this is reflective of their environment and dress attire. Another avenue to explore is to call Human Resources.
Interviews may contain multiple phases with various interviewers. Create an image of diligence and consistency of dress that suits you and fits the company's culture. Although dressing for success is a skin-deep approach, it does promote great self-confidence and self awareness. Arriving to the interview dressed for success is just the first step. Practice and apply these helpful hints to reflect your winning image. What should you see? Enthusiasm. Creativity. Confidence.
Justin Thompson
Student Employment Services