From your very first interview through to the end of a long hard day at work, the way you look says so much about you, before you even speak. We know that we have just seconds to make a good first impression, and that can feel a little daunting especially when we feel it really matters. The problem is if someone doesn’t like what they see, they aren’t listening to what’s being said. They can literally switch off, especially when considering you for a work position. So how can you be sure you are giving the right impression about yourself? In my job it is impossible not to notice the way people present themselves, and sometimes it’s the small things that can let someone down.
So let’s start with some really simple basics …
….clean well styled hair. That may sound obvious, but the way your hair looks is very important, even if it is pulled into a pony tail or a bun, it must be freshly washed.
Some people need to do this every day and others can go three days without their hair becoming greasy, but dirty hair also has a horrible smell that the owner is often oblivious to, so make it a priority. Your hair needs to be cut every 6-8 weeks if it is layered, as it loses its original shape, and trimmed every 10-12 weeks if you wear it one length.
….a good skin care routine . No matter how tired you are, always take off any make-up, using eye make-up remover and cleanser. Sleeping in your make-up or with dirty skin will cause more breakouts and without a good night cream to help it repair as you sleep, it will look less radiant. Choose a skin care range that suits your budget and skin type and be disciplined about using it night and morning…yes morning too, as we perspire overnight, so a little toner on a cotton pad will prepare it before you use your day cream.
…well manicured nails. Chewed nails or chipped polish will be noticed even if you keep your hands still on your lap, but generally we tend to wave our hands around as we talk. A coat of clear polish will make the shortest of nails look better, or if you are a habitual nail biter, consider some gel nails to help you break the habit. If you choose to wear a coloured polish, keep it subtle, avoiding fluorescent polishes or wacky blues and greens etc.
…check for stains. It’s a good idea to check that your clothes don’t have any greasy stains on them before you pop them in the washing machine. If they do, use some stain remover to ensure it comes out. There’s nothing worse than washing and drying your favourite shirt to discover a stain hasn’t come out in the wash as you go to iron it!
….polish those shoes or boots. Tired shabby footwear is a big no-no. There is a saying that a man’s shoes will tell you a lot about his character, but it’s also true for women. If your shoes are scuffed or need re-heeling, it will be noticed. Avoid super high shoes or strappy sandals for an interview.
….always wear some make-up. Even if you really aren’t a big fan of cosmetics, a minimum of mascara and a soft lip gloss will stop you from looking as if you didn’t have time to bother. There are some great products on the market (Bare Minerals and BB Creams) that give you a fresh look, giving you a bit of a glow without looking heavily made-up. On the other hand if you are a cosmetic fan avoid very heavy make-up for work, you don’t want to look as if you’re about to go clubbing!
So there we have it, just the basics, but they really do make a big difference to your overall appearance, and help you look professional. Remember you may be very relaxed about your appearance, but to others good grooming is very important, so give that fabulous first impression!