First impression first

Actions may speak louder than words, but sometimes clothing can speak louder than both. Trying to make a good first impression on a future employer can be very hard if an outfit is more noticeable than a personality.

As students in college, it can sometimes be hard to know what is and is not appropriate to wear for a job interview or fair, but knowing the do’s and don’ts can make or break getting that call back for another interview. And with St. Ambrose’s Pro-Fair coming up, now is the perfect time to figure it out.

It takes all of 13 seconds to make a first impression. If clothes are the first thing an employer notices, then trouble might be on the horizon.

“It doesn’t matter if you are the best candidate in the room if you don’t project that with your image,” Angela Wolfe, Intern and Recruitment Coordinator at the St. Ambrose Career Center said.

If an image of professionalism is not projected then an employer will not waste their time. Looking the part is the number one way to get the interview, and job, in the long run.

“If you are dressed professionally for the situation then they assume that you understand what the basics of professionalism are,” Wolfe said.

And while looking professional may sound easy there is a lot more that goes into it than one might think.

Flashy clothing should always be avoided; that includes bright colors, patterns and any sort of print. Neutral colors should be the go-to, but if one wants to throw in a little something more, a solid colored tie or scarf should do.

“It’s pretty boring actually, but that’s what we want: boring basics,” Wolfe said.

Hygiene is important as well. Since shaking hands is how introductions are made, it is important to have clean hands and fingernails. If employers see dirt or stains on someone’s hands, they may get the impression they do not take care of themselves.

Smelling good is important too, but do not over-do it on cologne or perfume. Employers should not get a whiff of it from a mile away. Just like with clothing, subtlety is the way to go with this too.

All of these things may seem trivial, but following the rules of professionalism will not only impress the employer, they will make one feel more prepared.

“It helps you feel more confident if you’re dressed professionally, and it helps an employer at least think that, hey, this is somebody that I want to talk to; I want to hear what they have to say,” Wolfe said.

The Pro-Fair is the perfect place to test out a new professional look. St. Ambrose puts it on in conjunction with Augustana College.  The event brings local businesses together to recruit potential interns and employees. It is taking place Sept. 24 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Augustana.

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