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Dressing Inappropriately: How you could be letting yourself down at interviews

Written by Emma Burbidge Posted in General Advice, Interviews, Careers

Dressing Inappropriately: How you could be letting yourself down at interviews

Last week at the MTV Video Music Awards in the United States, Miley Cirus attracted a storm of criticism and controversy in the news and on social media. Dressed in a flesh-coloured bikini, and prancing around stage with a foam finger, twerking as she went, the performance of the 20 year old singer at the awards has been described as inappropriate by many, seeing her in particular as setting a bad example to her young fans who look up to her and admire her.

We cannot underestimate the pressure that Hollywood and the media put on young stars to be the best and conform in a superficial and highly volatile culture. However, even celebrities are open to censure when they dress and behave inappropriately.

It may sound harsh but people are judged by their looks. This applies when choosing a date, people select who they are going to chat to at a party or bar according to their looks typically. It also applies in interview. What you wear can help to form an impression of you.

Certainly, I think that clothes tell a lot about a person’s personality and interests, and you can quite often guess where someone works and what they value in life from how they dress.

Sometimes dressing inappropriately can give rise to awkwardness and a feeling of being silly. How often have you been in a social situation where you are wearing something completely different to everyone else? This is fine if you have the confidence to just own it, but often people will regret what they choose to wear and wish they could go home and change immediately.

In a dating situation, if you wear nice clothes you give the other person encouragement and show that you are interested in them enough to make the effort.

However, if you dress inappropriately – and this is unfortunately more true for women – you get judged by both men and other women. For example, if you go out in a skimpy outfit, women will often find themselves judged and thought of as trashy.

Often these thoughts can stem from jealousy or longstanding dislike, but dressing in this way only encourages these thoughts even more and gives rise to sexism and negative attitudes towards women.

More generally, dressing inappropriately can also have serious repercussions on your future prospects, in particular...interviews.

Dressing inappropriately or not looking the part for an interview can help the interviewer to form a negative impression of you and can lose your shot at the job without you even saying a word. It may sound harsh but often employers will make a hiring decision within the first two minutes of meeting someone, so it is important you do not miss out on any important opportunities because you are not dressed the part.

Dressing too casually will simply give an employer the impression that you are not interested or don’t care. Dressing well also shows that you take pride in your appearance, which is especially important in client/customer facing roles.

Even if the business is cool and edgy, and the dress code is relaxed to reflect this, you should still play it safe and dress more smartly than you would do normally, to make it clear that you mean business.

How should you dress for an interview?

It depends a little on the company and role, but as a general rule, girls should wear a smart dress, not too short or showing too much flesh or you could wear smart trousers or a smart skirt with a nice top or blouse.

You want to wear shoes that are both smart and practical, and offer you comfort. It’s not a good idea to show off your ten inch heels unless you are confident about wearing them. There is nothing worse than tripping over on the way to sit down so beware!

Girls should try and wear a modest amount of make up.

Guys should wear a suit and tie and smart polished shoes.

Hair is also important. If you have not had a hair cut within the last 6 months, you should definitely have one before you have an interview. This will ensure that your hair is neat and tidy and you will feel more confident on the inside because of how you look and feel on the outside.

So before you go out or attend an interview, think about whether or not what you are wearing is appropriate. What image are you presenting of yourself to the people you might meet? This should really help with your future relationships, as well as in developing your future career prospects.

About the Author

Emma Burbidge

Emma Burbidge

Emma Burbidge is the marketing assistant at TCHC. She helps to manage the website and promote the Youth Contract. She enjoys writing for the blog and sharing advice and tips with young people on a range of topics, from finding a job to battling with depression.

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