When aspiring to impress prospective employers, many a time youth in today’s tech-era and fast evolving fashion world are torn on what to wear to a job interview. Does it really matter how you dress for an interview? In most cases it does. “Clothes Make the Man” is an expression that Erasmus said more than 400 years ago. Many have repeated it since in pop- ular journals and statements and it goes without saying that it’s a popular adage. Additionally, a new study states that dressing well does not only influence our power to impress but also has a lasting effect on the mental process.

One fact for sure is that, you’ll never get a second chance to make a good first impression—interviewers always notice how you visually present yourself, the moment you first step into a room. Irrespective of the career path you take, professionalism includes dressing the part. Every organization has a profes- sional look that fits the duties of the job. While appearances matter in conserva- tive environments, it’s wise to dress your best regardless of the dress code at an organization. Even when you nail the job, it’s important to dress according to the organization’s atmosphere in order to daily maintain an air of professionalism. Irrespective of your gender, there are general dress rules that apply when attempting to impress at a job.

Go conservative: Wearing solid colour conservative clothes and a neat hairstyle at any job interview is a given. Avoid wearing bright colours and tight-fitting skirts/trousers that will make sitting a problem. Also, avoid wearing heavily printed T-shirts with silly slogans or torn, baggy jeans: It’s better to err on the side of conservatism since almost nothing can go wrong with a look that portrays a balanced state of mind, is re- laxing and is a safe dress-code that will appeal across the panel of interviewers. Always tuck your shirt/blouse in: Never present yourself to interviewers with your clothes hanging out, or bulging out of all sorts of places. It only makes them assume that you are a shabby, disorganized person with no eye for detail.

Wear clean clothes: As much as cleanliness is important, it’s not obvious commonsense for some youths. Wearing dirty or stained clothes only leaves interviewers wondering how much dirt is covered up on your skin, teeth and brain. Appearing clean doesn’t necessarily mean wearing brand new clothes; a decent piece of soap or detergent on old (not torn) clothes is just enough.

Go slow on the jewelry and body art exposure: Youths have always been known for their attention addiction—which could explain why they are target consumers of multi-million dollar firms. However, a rock-star appearance isn’t what catches the eye of an interviewer. Always wear a minimum amount of jewelry even when you are an enthusiast of body piercing and have holes all over your ears, nose, belly, tongue and eyebrows—just stick to the one set of earrings for women, and none for men. The same principle applies for tattoo devotees; cover up your body art—which doesn’t go well in both the professional and traditional Rwandan and the general African setting.

Footwear is important too: Women should always aim for moderate shoes while avoiding stilettos, 6-inch heels and bedazzled pimped up heels whereas men should aim for professional shoes coupled with dark socks while avoiding sneakers.

Final grooming won’t hurt a soul: Use minimal perfume or cologne, have well-manicured (women) or neatly trimmed nails, avoid heavy make-up and always carry a portfolio or briefcase that is not in tatters.
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