Many of us are only just starting to think about applying for summer internships, work experience or graduate schemes. For some, along with these infinitely long applications, comes the dreaded interview stage. We all know that it is important to research the company and practice your interview skills in order to succeed, however, making a good first impression is also important.
We’ve all heard the advice: “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” This is good inspiration, however, it may not be too practical if you’re an aspiring biochemist currently working in H&M. With this quick guide to creating your ‘workplace wardrobe’, I hope I can help you avoid this last-minute panic.
1) Smart shirt
The safest bet when looking to buy a staple smart shirt for interviews is buying a plain white one. You can find them anywhere and everywhere from Topshop to M&S. Because they are such a staple, you are also more likely to find them at more affordable prices. A well-fitting shirt from Primark will cost next to nothing, but it also gets the job done. For those of you who are more exotic in your choices and feel comfortable taking a risk, you could also invest in a patterned or block colour shirt. If you remember to make sure that it still looks smart and professional, then any colour shirt will be acceptable. Do remember what you could pair it with though. A bright, vivid pink coloured shirt may not be the best option, but pairing it with a black tie and black blazer could soften the effect. It shows a bit of your quirky personality while also showing your professionalism.
2) Smart trousers
I live in jeans. Blue jeans, black jeans, ripped jeans, dungarees, anything made of denim. I almost forgot that other forms of trousers existed until I had an interview and remembered that even the blackest of jeans are not considered ‘smart’. After extensive research, I decided that the most flattering and the smartest trousers that I could wear were ‘cigarette trousers’. Luckily, these are sold in nearly every clothes shop. I bought a simple black pair from H&M for a fair price and I already owned a yellow shirt that I thought I could wear with it whilst still looking like I took the interview seriously. Alternatively, instead of pairing plain trousers with a bright shirt, you could buy a pair that is a block colour or patterned to pair with a plain shirt. Either way, the ‘fun’ element of your outfit is balanced.
3) Sensible and comfortable shoes
Similarly to my trouser issue, I completely forget that trainers are not the only form of footwear that exists. Trainers are also not the smartest footwear that you can wear. A simple black pair from Primark will be valued extremely highly when you don’t want to put too much thought into your outfit so you can just shove them on and go without being worried about looking too casual. Avoid any kind of sports footwear if possible. There are some really pretty ballet pumps out there that will go with anything that you put on. If you’re not into that style, then it could be a good idea to invest in some black boots. Make sure that they are comfy because you’ll be wearing them day in day out if you get the job!
4) A smile
This may be cheesy but it’s the most important element of your workplace wardrobe. You could turn up in trackies, your free Freshers t-shirt and not even brush your teeth but if you are friendly, enthusiastic and determined then you are pretty much an unstoppable force.