How What You Wear Impacts People’s Perceptions of You

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The age-old saying “dress for success” is a classic for a reason. It is no surprise that the way you dress impacts how people perceive you before they even get to know you. VALLEY is here to help you use this knowledge and create the best first visual impression in a job or interview environment. 

In a LinkedIn article, style coach Lizzie Edwards discusses the importance of the way you dress. She writes about how before you even open your mouth, the way you present yourself leads to people making assumptions about you. They assume things about your intelligence, competence level and other personality traits. 

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Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. You’ve heard this phrase before, but it does ring true according to psychological research. Dressing more professionally can lead to people picturing you for a higher or leadership position. They’re more likely to take you seriously and believe that you take things seriously as well. 

A helpful tip can be to think about what you would look for in a job candidate or co-worker. You probably want someone who looks well-dressed, organized and put-together. Looking visually put-together leads to people believing that you are really on top of your life and in control, even if you’re not. People will perceive you as more confident and also be more confident in you and your abilities. 

Photo from GlamObserver.com

So, what should you wear for your next job or internship interview? Let’s start off with what not to wear. This includes things such as open-toed shoes, anything ripped or frayed, shorts, tank tops, sneakers and athletic clothing. These seem pretty obvious, but you would be surprised. Interviewers have really seen it all. 

Now, what to wear. Obviously, this depends on the type of job and interview. Whether it’s in an office, a more laid-back setting or if it’s on Zoom, the right outfit is key. For some interviews, you may want to wear a clean, ironed suit while others may entail slacks or dark pants and a nice top. It is recommended that no matter what you wear it is clean and without stains. For the ladies out there, flats are your best bet or small heels.

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Solid colors can make you seem more serious instead of patterns. Dark colors also work better than bright, neon colors. For some specific jobs, you may need to cover any tattoos or excessive piercings. For creative jobs, you can add a bit of personal flair to your appearance. Make sure your hair and makeup are clean and professional.

Dressing confident means being confident. Show that you are competent and prepared for the job right when you walk in. Interviews and first days can be stressful, so planning out an outfit you feel confident in ahead of time can help ease some anxiety. Put your best foot forward (with a closed-toe shoe on it) and good luck!

Tag @VALLEYmag on Twitter with your best interview fit or advice!

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