Dress for success

YP cadet Joy Pamnani

First impressions count when you are hoping to land a job

YP cadet Joy Pamnani |

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A top-notch CV and cover letter are not the only things you need to win your dream job or internship. How you present yourself at the interview can decide whether you are in or out.

To make a good first impression on your potential employer during that short meeting, you have to dress well.

Style expert Eve Roth Lindsay tells us what attire is expected in different industries and what different colours might say about you.

For aspiring lawyers, bankers and businesspeople, it's a no-brainer that your boss will require you to show up at work in formal clothing. But not all teenagers own a suit or will feel comfortable in one, so a light-coloured shirt with dark trousers will still do the trick.

"When dressing for a job interview, you should dress for success and make sure you look the part," says Lindsay.

"What the interviewer wants to see is whether you are able to represent the company."

She adds that deeper solid colours will make you appear more professional, and tailored, neat and well-fitting clothes create an air of power and authority.

If you're pursuing a career in the people industry - which covers jobs such as teachers, social workers and property agents - your attire can be more relaxed, though it doesn't mean you can throw on ripped jeans or find an excuse not to iron that shirt. For girls, Lindsay recommends casual separates like a cotton shirt or a cardigan with a simple skirt.

Finally, in the creative industries - from public relations, advertising and fashion to architecture - it's better to be innovative with your clothing.

Add "a little of your own personal touch to let the interviewer know you are a creative person", says Lindsay.

As psychologists and image consultants tell us, colours are known to affect perceptions. Take McDonald's for example; red is considered to be a fast colour, while yellow suggests happiness. Maybe this means McDonald's offers fast food and wants you to be happy as you gobble down your meal.

Colours can say a lot about your personality, or the personality you want people to think you have, and there's a huge variety of shades to choose from. Here, we've narrowed them down to the basics.

1. Green is commonly known as the colour of the Earth, representing peace and nature. It shows you are a calm and relaxed individual.

2. Blue reminds us of the bright blue sky and the sparkling waters of the ocean. Wearing blue gives the impression that you are intellectual, calm and trustworthy.

3. Yellow lets your cheerful, energetic and confident personality shine through.

4. Red is a loud colour. It reflects strength and passion. It will make a statement or help you get noticed.

5. Pink shows you are amiable with a positive outlook. Many boys have a perception that pink is too girly a colour, but it will make you look compassionate.

6. Orange encourages pleasant thoughts, as it is the colour of sunset and coral. It shows you are a friendly person.

7. Purple is a royal colour. Kings and queens would wear it in the old days. It reflects wealth and imagination.

8. Gold is another colour on the list of royals. Anything gold makes others envision money and power. It's perfect for accessories and make-up.

9. Brown, beige or tan evokes the image of a down-to-earth, realistic and stable person who can be friends with anyone.

10. White is an inviting colour suggesting that you're open to others' opinions.

11. Black signifies power and mystery. That's why we see so many managers dressed in it. It blends in perfectly with most colours, but can be a bore when worn from head to toe.

So, prepare your to-do list before applying for the job. Get the look right: pair your carefully chosen clothes with brushed hair and polished shoes. Girls, spice it up with accessories!

It may sound complicated, but a little effort means a much higher chance of getting that job.

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