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3 Tips for Improving Your Appearance Before an Interview

I say it over and over again to my clients — at all levels, from analysts to CEOs — your appearance and your looks matter. Attractively pulled together and well-groomed people more often than not are given more opportunities and are generally treated with greater reverence than those with unkempt, sloppy appearances. How you look during an interview for a new job is arguably as important, if not more important, than your performance during the interview itself — after all, it’s the first impression you give to your interviewer and potential employer. Here are three unisex tips to consider that can help enhance your appearance and get your interview off on the right foot.


Get groomed for a new job

(Photo: iStockphoto)

Have your hair cut one week in advance
Fashion consultants I’ve interacted with during my career recommend letting your hair settle down for at least one week following a trip to the salon. Having your locks done by a professional is always the way to go, especially in New York City, and it’s a wise investment especially if you are looking for a new job or seeking some kind of advancement. Take the time to pick a reputable place with seasoned talent who can deliver a clean, professional, yet fashion-forward look to add a touch of modernity to your appearance. The one-week lead time is also helpful should something go wrong during the time spent with your stylist — you minimize the risk of a disaster haircut taking place the day before your big interview.

Choose industry-appropriate colors
I first started to suggest that you should always choose a dark grey or navy blue suit to maintain conservative grace, but sometimes it makes sense to choose a bold, aggressive color to identify with an industry that is less conservative and certainly more edgy. Do some research about the culture of the company and choose an appropriate palette based on what you observe from employees that already work there. You may be able to send a subliminal suggestion to your interviewer that you belong if you are dressed similarly to their staff.

Get a manicure
My clients tell me more and more about the increasing number of males in New York who they see getting a regular manicures (and pedicures) over the weekend. To me, that makes a lot of sense. What else can demonstrate your attention to detail and demand for quality than well-maintained cuticles? Take a look around in your office at the most successful people and I guarantee you that you will see highly maintained and immaculately clean fingernails. This does not happen by chance, there is real effort involved here. Among female executives, getting a regular manicure is de rigueur, and women should have theirs updated the day before.

Debra Wheatman is a certified writer and career coach who has guided the professional development of thousands of clients globally. She is reachable at

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