An Investment in Your Future

An Investment in Your Future
  By Carine Karam

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We've all grown up hearing the expression "you can't judge a book by its cover." It's a great philosophy to live by for encountering new people and potential friends. However, now that you're trying to enter the competitive workforce, you may have to take on a different approach if you're going to land that dream job, an approach best summed up in the old adage "you never get a second chance to make a first impression."

Gone are the days of summer jobs when dingy uniforms and bed head could be overlooked. When it comes to your first full-time job interview, perception is everything. Interviewers make up their mind about a candidate within the first few minutes of an interview. The way you look is critical to that initial impact and is what will be remembered most about you, especially if there are many other candidates vying for the same position. You want to stand out (in the right way); you want to come across as looking confident and polished, someone who knows where they're going and what they want from life. The way you dress can say all of that about you without saying a word.

According to Karen Brunger, director and founder of the International Image Institute in Toronto, the subject of appearance is extremely relevant at her institute's training. "Virtually all clients require coaching in appearance, whether it's wardrobe help, body language coaching, or body image counselling."

What to Wear
First and foremost, no matter what you wear, it should be neat and clean looking. You have to dress to impress. Nothing is worse than showing up to a job interview with messy hair and a wrinkled shirt. What would that say about you as a potential employee?

Then, it's a good idea to match your outfit to the type of position you're applying for. There are varying dress codes that apply to various work settings. But before we get into the specifics, let's talk basics.

Brunger, who's institute offers training for a career in image consultancy as well as personal workshops for enhancing one's image in the corporate world, says a basic interview outfit for both men and women can be summarized down to one sure bet: the navy blue suit. How you choose it is up to you.

"The quality and style [of the suit] should be appropriate for the type of position. For example, someone in an artistic position should have a trendier cut suit in a fashionable fabric, whereas, someone in a corporate position should go for a classic cut in a high quality wool. The more classic the look, the more professional."

In other words, if you're going for a corporate job, you have to think conservative. Your goal is to appear powerful and authoritative. Anything other than a dark coloured suit in either black or navy blue (in a skirt version for ladies) is probably a bad idea. This is not the time to go out on a limb and be creative. Corporations want to
 

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