Do looks affect your career opportunities?

Whether you are applying for a job that involves sitting behind a computer all day or meeting customers & business partners on a regular basis, how you look makes a major impact. Studies have found 55 percent of first impressions are based on appearance. So, the way you look can set the tone of an interview within seconds of walking in. Here are some tips on dressing for the dream job:

You want your skills to stand out during an interview, not your hair. Avoid unnatural colors or unusual haircuts. Longer hair is becoming more acceptable for men, but it still depends on the job. Think short and maintained styles for jobs in law, government or finance. Facial hair is also becoming more acceptable, but a clean-shaven face might be the better option just to keep it safe. In an interview with the New York Post, one employer shared how a promising candidate was interviewing for an executive-level position. The candidate had an impressive first interview but when he came back for the second, he still had some of his lunch in his beard. Needless to say, he didn’t get the job.

Women should be wary of long hair that covers the face or becomes a distraction. If you tend to twist your hair when you’re nervous, then wear it in an updo during the interview. Other style ideas include a simple ponytail, side bun or natural waves. Women’s haircare shouldn’t be a hassle, and there are plenty of tools to get the look you want. Either way, be careful about trying a new look the day before an interview. Getting a new haircut and not liking can affect confident in pressure-filled interview.

Tattoos are becoming more and more common in the workplace. The Harris Poll found nearly half of millennials have at least one tattoo in 2016. The same study also found 71 percent of parents are comfortable with their child’s pediatrician or primary school teacher having tattoos. Ink acceptance also depends on the area of a job interview. Both the east coast and the west coast are tattoo friendly, but not necessarily the states in the middle. Rural and urban areas support ink more than suburban areas. It is best to go into a job interview with all tattoos covered from the neck down. Think long sleeve shirts, turtlenecks if needed and long pants or skirts.

Skincare and hygiene are another important factor before meeting a potential boss for the first time. Both men and women should avoid strong perfumes & showering the day of is a must. Women should wear minimal makeup and nail polish. Avoid eye shadow with shimmer or glitter, neon lipstick and liquid eyeliner. If you’re short on sleep, or a pesky pimple pops up then use concealer like a magic wand. For those that usually don’t wear makeup, a tinted moisturizer and some mascara should do the trick. Just make sure the color matches your natural skin tone.

Dress to impress, look the part, etc. are all different ways of saying what you wear matters. Clothing for a job interview should be both comfortable and professional. What that means depends on the job you are applying for. A startup tech company could lend to more casual attire. However, a job for a fashion magazine requires a well-put together outfit. A full suit is required for a position as a business executive. Do your research to figure out how casual or how formal you should dress.

Men should keep in mind button down shirts with a collar, pants (not jeans) and brown or black shoes. Learn how to tie a tie. Shirts should be in neutral colors, such as white, blue or grey. Avoid wild patterns and try to wear similar colors. Shirts should be tucked in and well fitted. Jackets as well should not be too tight on the shoulders or around the waist. Clothes that are too tight will make you uncomfortable when you’re trying to focus and answer questions. Clothes too loose will make you look unprofessional.

Women should wear neutral colors as well with slacks, skirts or dresses. Pantsuits are too dated for most positions except for government, law or finance. Shoes should be closed-toe, and heels should be under three inches. Keep accessories to a minimum and avoid purses that are too large and distracting. Just as for men, women’s outfits should fit well and be comfortable to wear. Do not wear a pair of heels for an interview if you’ve never walked in them before. The interviewer will definitely be able to tell if you are uncomfortable.

Last but not least, be aware of your body language. Keep your back straight and stand tall during an interview to show off your leadership skills. Look the person in the eye when you speak, and try to keep your hands from fidgeting and your toes from tapping. No one can tell how nervous you are on the inside if you come into an interview with confidence.

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