Returning to work – create a professional look on a budget

“What we express visually, verbally and emotionally will be mirrored to us by the world.”

Q1: What if I can’t afford to update my wardrobe and look?

Get creative!

  • Borrow a suit or scarf
  • Rent a designer handbag
  • A man’s white shirt synched in at the waist with a fashionable belt looks fantastic.
  • Get your makeup done for free at a cosmetic counter.
  • Splash out on one statement piece such as a sensational silk tie or scarf.
  • Use the beauty and hair schools to get a half-price cut and style.

Q2: How do I know what is appropriate to wear at interview?

It’s simple; you do your research so that your attire suits the environment:

  • Research the employer to determine their culture and values.
  • Ask your recruitment expert or agent for insight into the employer - they know their clients well, so pick their brains.
  • Follow this simple rule – always appear contemporary, nobody wants to hire someone who is out of touch.
  • Get some personal attention from a savvy shop assistant; select someone professional and experienced and go to an established retail outlet. A great fashion assistant will give you sound advice on what suits you, what is contemporary and appropriate.

Q3: Can the wrong image lose you the job?

The answer is quite possibly YES!

When it comes down to the candidate short list or the final two - every aspect matters. Remember, the person with the best qualifications does not always get the job. Many times it comes down to “fit”. Does your image say that you “fit” with this employer/ company?

Q4: What sort of things do my image choices say about me?

  • Poor grooming and attire – Scruffy and unpolished, or worn, shoes, ill-fitting clothing, suit not dry-cleaned, poor oral hygiene? Says - Lack of attention to detail, unorganised, low personal standards.
  • Polished grooming and attire Says - High personal and professional standards, detailed thinker, prepared, organised, and invested in this opportunity.
  • Closed body language – slumped shoulders, eyes cast down, hesitating to shake hands Says - Unprepared, very nervous, apprehensive, unsure, under-confident
  • Open body language – such as great posture, shoulders back, head up, making eye contact, smiling, offering an immediate handshake. Says - Self-confident, prepared, approachable and professional.

For more information see Working moms or Parenting.

 
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