Tuesday 23 January 2018

Leaving Cert Results: What to wear if you're on the job hunt

A model wears an outfit from the H&M autumn collection
A model wears an outfit from the H&M autumn collection

Belinda White

Follow our five golden rules of interview dressing to make the ideal first impression.

With record students applying for university places and the prospect of the return of university fees, many students will be joining the recent slew of graduates in the mad rush to enter the job market.

But even the best results cannot guarantee your dream job. There is so much more to getting your foot through the door, starting with the right CV and finishing with the all important interview where more than your skill set is under scrutiny.

Human nature dictates that people are judged primarily on their appearance. When you walk into the interview room for the first time, a decision can often be made about your future before you've even opened your mouth and no amount of you knowing you're the best candidate for the role can change that. So, shallow and insignificant as it may seem, what you wear is important and so is your grooming.

But don't think for a moment that dressing for an interview means you have to channel The Apprentice candidates. It is possible to stand out for the sea of pinstripe power suits, fitted shirts and sky-high stilettos, and be stylish without overdoing it.

A great place to start is high street store Whistles, which offers a wide range of smart silk blouses and shirts, elegant and fashionable trouser suits and chic skirts and dresses with hemlines that won't compromise your chances - or your dignity.

Although their price points reside at the upper end of the high street spectrum, you are investing in your entire future here, so it's worth spending as much as possible. Otherwise, take inspiration from the Whistles aesthetic and seek out cheaper alternatives at stores like H&M who, hidden among the rails of cheap jersey separates, stock interview worthy, fashion-forward gems in less luxurious fabrics.

For the boys, it really is as simple as finding a good suit. ASOS stock a great range which any good local dry cleaner should be able to alter to fit perfectly. Just make sure you are clean, well pressed, your shoes are polished and, very importantly, you have shaved and combed your hair.

And remember, if your results are a little lack lustre, getting your look right can more than help to redress the balance. That's something they don't teach you at college.

Follow our five golden rules of interview dressing:

1. First impressions count: You are judged the minute you walk through the door, and if you're fooling yourself that this is because of your excellent results think again. It's no good having 5 straight A's if you look like you've been sleeping rough.

2. Be prepared to go out of your comfort zone: Even if you live in trainers and flip-flops in your own time, 30 minutes in a pair of smart heels won't kill you.

3. Finishing touches: Clean shoes, clean nails, ironed clothes, brushed hair.

4. This is not the time to express yourself: Remember, you're entering the grown up world now - Unless you're going for a job in a body art parlour, take out elaborate piercings, excessive jewellery and cover your tattoos.

5. Keep it covered: You may have amazing legs and a great 'rack', but an interview is not the time to be showing off either. Think demure - skirts should fall no higher than just above your knee and keep your cleavage and shoulders under wraps.


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