www.whyville.net May 18, 2008 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Flawed Fashion: Dress for Success

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Summer is only a month away! Now I am sure that we are all thinking the same thing -- NO SCHOOL. Without school, homework, and having friends away at vacations, we are going to be pretty bored. I have a simple solution to the common summer boredom problem -- why not get a part time job? Part-time jobs are an ongoing summer trend because with so many students away from school each year, it is like Christmas for employers. Though they have to train and pay whiney teenagers, employers can take a small break and enjoy their summers as well.

Before you can get the job, you need to apply and be accepted for an interview. Let's say that you submit your resume to your local McDonald's and the employer wants to interview you. What do you do? Though it sounds corny, you need to plan your interview in your mind. Practice answers to potential questions. To be frank, one of the most important parts of an interview is not your answers or your resume. It's YOU! As soon as you walk in the door, your employer will begin judging you.

How can they judge you without knowing you? Or before you even speak? By what you are wearing, of course. Believe it or not, your outfit is crucial to your potential employer because what you wear says a lot about your work habits. For example if you are wearing ripped or dirty clothing, you will not be hired for the reason that you look lazy, homeless and desperate. These are things that an interviewer does not want to see. They want someone who looks professional and put together because it implies that they actually care enough about the interview to dress up. As the phrase goes, dress for success.

The average teenager aged 13-16 years old most likely has never been to an interview. Therefore they have no knowledge about what to wear to one. In Canada, it is compulsory for Grade 10 students to take a short Careers course to learn about these things. Unfortunately, Careers is one of courses that students often fail. Also, think about this: it's summer. It's two months to relax and forget what you have learned at school. Summer is the time to get away from demanding teachers, parents' expectations, detentions and anything that reminds you of that dreaded word: school. So, many young applicants are not going to focus on what they learned about interviews at school. Here are some simple tips so you don't look flawed at your job interview!

Wardrobe Wear
Tip 1:
Dress for the Code

Find out the company's dress code so that you aren't violating it with what you're wearing. A good idea is to try to wear something from the company's uniform. For example, if you are applying to work a clothing store such as American Eagle, wear something from that store. This shows that you are will make a good employee who is knowledgeable about the merchandise.

Tip 2: Be Jewelery Free

Minimal jewelery is recommended for both sexes, especially males. If you choose to wear some accessories, make sure that they are SMALL and don't attract attention (e.g. wear small, dull earrings if you plan to wear any at all). Avoid showing off your piercing and any jewelery that will give your interviewer a "gangster" vibe about you. Also I don't recommend wearing noisy accessories such as bangles. The point of the interview is so that your employer focuses on you and not your flaws.

Tip 3: Bring a Bag

Ladies should carry a small purse and men should bring a briefcase. However, the contents of the bags are still the same. They should contain a small purse with an organizer, a pen, paper (in case the interviewer tells you to write down something), and several copies of your resume.

Tip 4: Be Wise About Clothing Size

Do not wear bulky, baggy or loose fitting clothing. You want to wear something that flatters your figure. Avoid tight clothing as well.

Tip 5: What to do With Your Shoes

Males should wear clean and polished shoes. If you are planning to wear sneakers, make sure they are dark. If females are wearing heels, the heel should be medium to low height.

Tip 6: Miscellaneous Tips

*Sell, don't smell! Good hygiene is essential. Bathe before the interview and don't forget your deodorant. You want to be remembered for what you say, not how you smell!

*Don't fail with your nails. Make sure that your fingernails are clean, trimmed, and dirt-free. Men should stay away from nail polish. Women should make sure there are no remnants of nail polish. If they are planning to wear any, make sure that it's a light color.

*The tattoo clue. Avoid the 'gangster' or 'street' vibe with your employer. Cover up all tattoos using skin tone makeup or by wearing a cardigan.

*Your mouth should be free of gum and candy. Take a breath mint half an hour before the interview so that your breath has a nice aroma.

*Iron your clothes! Do not wear anything wrinkly because it implies that you are lazy.

*Interviewers are not impressed by the bed-head look. Comb your hair and keep it maintained. Girls should have their hair tied back. Also, interviewers prefer males with short hair because it implies class and dignity.

*Wear minimal makeup, except for males, who should not have any on at all. Women should wear colors that compliment their skin tone, and apply lipstick (NOT lip-gloss!) that matches the natural color of their lips.

Women's Wardrobe
Tip 7:
Pretty and Professional

Remember, you want to look as professional as you can. I recommend wearing a simple blouse, shirt or cardigan. Stay away from garments that are BOLD. The colors that displease interviewers the most are green, purple, orange, red and yellow. Instead, wear pastel or neutral colors because they are more appealing to the eye. You can never go wrong with a classic white shirt.

Don't forget about the bottom half of your body! You are still aiming to look professional, so wear dress or dark colored pants as opposed to jeans. Skirts are also acceptable if they fall under the following criteria: a full length skirt, or a 3-quarter skirt. If you choose to wear a skirt and you don't want to show your bare legs, wear pantyhose or stockings. Make sure that they match your skin tone and that there aren't any runs in them.

Tip 8: Underwear Should Stay Under There Wear light undergarments with light clothing, and dark undergarments with dark clothing.

Garments for Guys
Tip 9:
The professional rule also applies for boys. Interviewers are pleased by males who wear collard shirts (polo shirts are okay IF you're between aged 11-16) with ties. The tie should have a simple pattern that is compatible with the rest of our outfit. Don't wear anything too bold or eye catching.

To complete your look, wear suit or dress pants, or a dark colored pant (e.g. black, dark brown, dark blue). Jeans are NEVER acceptable.

Now you are ready for your interview! By the way, I will be expecting 50% of your paycheck for helping you get your job.


Author's Note: Sources:


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