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Undergraduate Catalog

Graduate Catalog

A Good Impression


Although we don’t always like to admit it, first impressions are important. Every day we come in contact with new people and ever day we use items such as facial expressions, clothing, grooming, vocal tone and pitch, posture and gestures to initially read a person.

Your body talks. You can tell it what to say with some attention to this form of communication. Non-verbal signs signal both positive and negative messages. Make yours positive!

Interview Attire

There are many aspects of an interview that you can’t control - the questions, the location, etc. However, you are in total control of your appearance. What image do you wish to project?

Research shows that interviewers make 90% of the selection decisions within the first ten minutes of the interview. According to “Dress For Success” expert, John T. Malloy, the most common reason for eliminating a person before the interview started was that he/she was dressed inappropriately. In most cases, those eliminated were dressed too casually.

Employers often expect people to dress better for interviews than for work. If you do not dress up for an interview, you send the signal to many employers that you are not interested in the position. Interviewers are also turned off by poor grooming, sloppy shoes, too much makeup, too much perfume/ aftershave, etc.

Job applicants are almost never turned down because their appearance is too traditional and classic.

Looking the Part

  • You and your clothing must be squeaky clean.
  • In general, a classically cut suit in a charcoal gray or navy is appropriate for both men and women (skirted). (NOTE: There are geographical as well as occupational differences regarding appropriate attire. Know what they are for the position you are considering.)
  • A long sleeved white shirt for men and a simple white or off-white blouse for women is recommended. NOTE: as above)
  • Jewelry should be simple and kept to a modest minimum. No more that one ring on each hand.
  • A strand of pearls or simple pin or chain always look elegant.
  • Purchase a quality tie. The tip of the tie should barely touch the top of your belt buckle. When choosing patterns, remember: the smaller the pattern, the more authority you’ll project.
  • Shoes and other leather accessories should match.
  • Do a “clothing quality check”! Are seams neat? How will the fabric wear? How’s the fit? Do you look as good sitting as standing? Do the patterns match? Quality garments stand the test of time.

Check Your Body Language

Confidence can be very attractive. Picture in your mind’s eye just what a confident person looks like.

  • Posture - straight or slouched?
  • Gait - turtle’s pace or quick?
  • Style - assertive or timid?
  • Voice - clear or mumbled?
  • Rate of Speech - hurried or easy to follow?
  • Gestures - expressive or nervous fidgets?
  • Facial expression - smiling or stiff and scared?
  • Hand shake - fish limp or comfortable firm?

Now, take a look at yourself in the mirror. Are you standing and sitting straight? Do have a pleasant facial expression? Do you look happy to be here?

Turn on a tape recorder or ever better, a video camera. Practice introducing yourself and telling a little bit about yourself. Is your voice clear and easy to follow? Are you using proper grammar?