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Feb 16, 2012

Interview Tips: Dress for Success


This post was originally from my intern blog, but I thought I would share it here also as it applies to makeup! 

This semester is flying by, for me at least, and that means summer internships are quickly approaching! In my experience, most places who have stated on their own company sites or on search engines are going to begin the interview process at end of February and in March. It is smart to prepare now so if you are busy around the time of an interview, you won't feel the panic that you are not prepared.



To start out, let's say you are at the point where you have schedule an interview. It may be an in-person interview, phone, or even Skype. Tip number one: Dress Appropriately!!

For an-person interview and even Skype, your outfit and appearance is your second impression (the way you talk via e-mail was probably your first, and the reason you got the interview in the first place), but is equally important as your first!

For your outfit...

DO look professional, neat, and very well put-together. You can't go wrong with a business suit as long as it is properly tailored to fit your body and flattering. It can be a jacket and pant/skirt or even a business dress. A matching business suit is something worth splurging on to get a good quality suit to last you for years. Also, a suit will never go out of style and if you look around a bit, you can probably find a good one on sale to not break the bank. I am personally a fan of black suits, however it is acceptable to wear a gray, navy, or brown. Some places I would recommend to look for suits are Ann Taylor Loft, Express, The Limited, Zara, Banana Republic, Macy's, Nordstrom, or any other department stores. H&M, Nordstrom BP, Target, New York & Company, and Forever 21 may have some cheaper alternatives but make sure it is tailored well and fits you properly. Some stores even offer free tailoring! It's worth asking. For jewelry, I like the look of pearl stud earrings and maybe a simple silver/gold necklace if you feel it's necessary as I know many people have a necklace they wear every day. A cute bangle to show your creativity and style is also acceptable, or a watch (such as the popular Michael Kors watches). If you are going to have one statement jewelry piece, keep the rest simple. If you are applying for a Fashion PR firm for example, I do think it's good to be on trend but in a simple and still professional way.  For shoes, I think a simple black suede or leather, round-toed pump at about 2-4in. is best. Peep toe and nude pumps are okay for most cases I think. I don't think strappy heels are appropriate however. This is all flexible and should fit your personality, style, and comfort...but I'm giving examples just so you get the idea of what a professional attire is.

DON'T wear bold/chunky jewelry or colors. You want your personality to stand out, not your clothes/jewelry. I'm not saying you can't wear color, but keep it simple. Wear something that you will be comfortable enough in to feel confident- the key ingredient in an interview. Don't wear jeans- even black jeans. As much as I love the look of a black blazer and black skinny jeans, it's simply not appropriate for an interview. Another VERY important tip is don't show any cleavage! I don't think I need to elaborate on this, but just DON'T do it. It's simply unprofessional and not the reason you are there. This next one may be tough for some, but do NOT show tattoos, no exceptions. You don't want super sky high heels or bright colored-block pumps. I am not a fan of wedges for an interview either. Ballet flats can be acceptable, but I prefer heels. I also think heels give you confidence and improve your posture. But if you're not used to wearing heels- don't! Again, comfort is most important. Don't let any of your clothes be wrinkly! It's wise to use a lint roller on your pants and jacket, especially if they are black. They should all be well pressed/ironed. Shoes should not be scratched and scuffed up at all, but wear them around if they are new so you are not uncomfortable with blisters.

For your hair/makeup/etc...

DO keep your hair simple and polished. I prefer straightening my hair and either neatly pinning or using a headband to keep my bangs out of my face. Nice waves/curls are acceptable if it's a style you wear daily and are comfortable doing. I personally would not, but a neat sleeked back pony tail can be acceptable if done right. Make sure your hair isn't too crazy long, it's not practical for the workplace. It's a good idea to practice your hair and makeup before your interview to make sure you like it and it comes out well. In terms of makeup, keep it simple and natural. I recommend a typical moisturizer, primer, concealer, foundation, powder routine with a light sweep of pink/coral blush and a light sweep of bronzer if that's how you usually wear your makeup. Natural, often matte is best with a champagne/pearl color highlight under the brow bone and in the inner crease. I think gray, brown, ivory, gold, are the safe way to go. You may use colors such as a purple/brown or a taupe or a light pink, but it should look NATURAL. A little black or brown eyeliner is okay to define the eye and make you look awake, but no crazy wing or thick lines or sparkles! A neutral pink lip is best. Moisturized lips (no one wants to look at chapped cracking lips, yuck) and either lip gloss and or lipstick is acceptable. Eyebrows must be done/plucked/groomed/shaped. For great natural makeup look tutorials, browse through the youtube videos of my  favorite beauty gurus.  I really like this look by @MakeupbyAlli that is also great for a quick look before running to class. Another one also by Alli that is slightly more dramatic, but still acceptable for an interview is this one. You should get your nails done so they look neat. French or nude/light pink shades are best. For any of you fellow sorority girls, think "recruitment style" hair and makeup!

DON'T change your style or color right before your interview. Chances are they will notice or you may not like it and then be self-conscious about it. Getting your highlights touched up the same way you always do is acceptable, but try to do it at least a week or two in advance so it looks more natural and faded into the rest of your hair. You don't want your hair to be messy, any crazy streaks, pink strands, braids, pigtails, etc. You don't want your bangs to be in your face as a distraction. For nails, no sparkly or dark colors. If you’re in the interview fidgeting and wondering if your new makeup products are holding up or if your skirt is riding up then you're not focusing on what's most important- the interview itself. You want to represent yourself in the best way, and having little worries on your mind may hinder that.

Here are some examples I've found that are appropriate:





Another tip which may only apply to some is that if you are applying for an internship in beauty PR, you can do more with your makeup and it make it a focus. Same goes for fashion PR, you can add some more fashionable, on-trend pieces. They want someone who has interest in what they'll be doing at the job so there is nothing wrong with showing your personal interest and creativity. The more risk you put into your outfit, the more risk you put to yourself at the interview. That's up to you interns!

Once you have the job, depending on what/where it is, you probably won't need to wear a suit every day. Many places have business casual attire or casual Fridays. With that said, you should still be prepared for the most professional and conservative attire requirements.

Sources to check out for additional information:

My "Internship Resources Part 1: Advice & Tips" featuring my inspiration for intern knowledge Ryan KahnNYC PR Girls, and InternsNtheCity

WISHING ALL OF YOU THE BEST OF LUCK WITH YOUR INTERVIEWS! :)

Any dress for success interview tips I DIDN'T mention? Comment below or tweet me @trulytwenties!

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