8 Ways to Level Up Your Professional Image
To stand out for the right reasons in a job interview, there are a few old-school rules that are falling by the wayside. Trends in terms of resumes, facial hair, and how to dress are changing to highlight individuals rather than blending in with other candidates. Check out our tips on how to level up your professional image for your interviews.
Do Your Research
Before sending your resume and cover letter or before heading in for your interview, do your research on where you’re applying. Review their website, mission, and values, and social media accounts to learn more about what the company values and tailor your resume and cover letter to speak to how you’ll add to their company and culture.
When prepping your outfit for the interview, also research the company’s website and social media accounts to see how their employees dress. However, err on the side of caution. While the company may give off a casual vibe online, it’s always better to be a tad more formal to make a good first impression rather than coming to the interview dressed too casually.
Edit Your Resume
Your resume is arguably your first impression. How long should your resume be? The common advice for resumes used to be to limit it to one page, but, depending on your job experience and your industry, your resume can be longer than one page. Typically, if you’re an entry-level applicant or have less than ten years of experience in your field, keep your resume edited to one page. If you have more than ten years of experience, work in a technical field, or are a senior executive, then feel comfortable using two to three pages for your resume.
Freshen Up Your Appearance
You want your face to give the same bright and eager impression that your resume does. Develop a daily skin care regimen about a week before your interview in order to portray healthy, luminous skin. You can even opt for a face mask the night before to ensure you’re looking refreshed. Feeling confident about your skin will shine through in your personality.
When it comes to makeup, keep it natural and clean. Some key tips include matching your foundation to your skin tone and sticking to your natural lip color unless you’re wearing an understated outfit. If you need help finding the best look for you, enlist the help of a beauty advisor for a consultation.
For men, take time to clean up your scruff. While facial hair is more acceptable in the workplace today, it’s best to let your fresh face shine rather than hide behind a beard. If you’re taking on a lot of interviews, don’t worry about running out of new razors by subscribing to a razor service like Harry’s so you can be interview-ready at any time.
Level Up Your Clothing
For men and women, it’s obvious to wear professional clothing to your interviews. Make sure your clothing is well-fitting too. Try your outfit on well in advance and sit, stand, and walk around in it. You’ll want to give yourself plenty of time in case you need to get your outfit cleaned or if you need to buy something new that fits better. Before heading out the door, take advantage of a lint roller in order to remove any stray pet hairs that might be lingering. Lastly, don’t overwhelm your recruiter with your perfume or cologne – wear minimal scents for your interview.
Don’t be afraid to let your personality and style show through in your outfit either. For suit-wearers, pair a bright colored shirt or patterned tie with your neutral suit. Pocket squares, pins, scarves, and shoes are another way to punch up your professional wear.
Prepare An Emergency Kit
Murphy’s Law states, “what can go wrong, will go wrong”. In order to battle these uncertainties, be sure to pack an “interview emergency kit” to help you feel secure about the day ahead. In addition to packing extra resumes, you should bring a notepad, backup pens, and make sure you have a few solid referrals on hand. Don’t forget to add various personal items to your kit that you could potentially need along the way. These items include band-aids, mints, water, umbrella, tissues, and even extra deodorant in case your scheduled interview becomes a day-long marathon. Your interview kit should be discrete enough to fit in your briefcase or handbag.
Get Some Shut Eye
Although your butterflies will be in full flight, it’s important to try to get some rest to help you function at your highest level. While you sleep, your brain will be processing the information you obtained from your studies. Receiving at least 8 hours of sleep the night before will help increase your focus and help you feel relaxed, allowing answers to come at ease. In order to promote a good night’s sleep, try drinking a cup of chamomile or caffeine-free tea paired with a warm bath to help relax your body and mind. Light exercise can also settle nerves by removing excess energy. It’s also important to minimize screen time regarding your tv, laptop, phone, etc. at least an hour before bedtime as it may inhibit the production of melatonin.
During The Interview
You’ve spent significant time and effort preparing for your dream job. Researchers have concluded that physical attributes such as your facial expression and body language have a higher impact than the words you’re actually saying. Therefore, it’s important to make sure your body is sending the right signals. It’s important to maintain eye contact while you answer questions in order signify honesty and attentiveness. In addition, a strong posture will convey high levels of confidence, a trait that is extremely important especially in leadership roles
The interview isn’t over until you’ve either received an offer letter or an email saying they’ve selected another candidate. In order to increase your chances of securing the position, send a thank you note to each interviewer recapping your experience and the important skills you have to offer the organization. If you have multiple interviewers, be sure to make each note unique in case messages are compared. These thank you notes can either be a handwritten letter or card or simply emailed within 24 hours especially if they’re looking to fill the position immediately. Lastly, if you don’t hear from human resources or the hiring manager within a week of the interview, it’s in your best interest to reach out once with a follow-up message to show how much this opportunity truly means.