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JOHANNESBURG – The way that you dress can communicate who you are as a brand in ways that words can’t.

When attending a job interview, it is imperative to create a lasting impression in how you conduct yourself, but also how you look, said HR Company Solutions Managing Director, Madelein Smit.

“Your appearance can heavily factor in reinforcing or diminishing how you are perceived. With the younger generation often becoming employers, the tradition of dressing up has slightly relaxed.  Even though the organisational culture of these companies may afford a more casual dress sense, when interviewing there or at any organisation, it is important to look your best and the easiest way to do that is to be smart-casual or straight up formal,” Smit said.

Respondents ranked the importance of appearance second only to communication skills when naming qualities most often associated with professionalism, according to a national poll conducted by the Centre for Professional Excellence.

“There is no denying that how you look will play a huge factor in how seriously you are taken, especially within a corporate setting.  Research psychologist Jeffrey L. Magee surveyed over 500 firms to assess the impact of dress in the workplace. His studies led to the conclusion that continually relaxed dress ultimately leads to relaxed manners, relaxed morals and relaxed productivity, with the converse also holding equally true. So, one should dress in a manner that minimises any bias against them,” Smit said.

Smit who was on season two of  fashion TV show, How Do I Look South Africa?, says it is vital to give off your best impression in every way possible, so that no one can hold shallow biases against you – their opinion of you is an important factor in your progression and longevity within the organisation. 

The way that you dress has a huge bearing on how others perceive you. Therefore dress the way that you want to be addressed along with looking the part of the job that you want, not the job that you have.

In a bid to assist interviewees on successfully bagging employment, HR Company Solutions will be partnering up with the NGO, Mike Loutfie Foundation to host a job workshop for women, during August, where topics on such as how to put together a comprehensive resume; efficiently searching and applying for work and image management will be addressed. The workshop will also bring together prospective employers and jobseekers under the same roof.

“Be presentable. A suit and shirt are a good bet for anyone. A smart jacket can do wonders and really create an innovative and professional look.  When in doubt, dress conservatively.

Avoid bright colours and over the top accessories; but be comfortable – there is no point in looking all glitzed up and you are struggling to breathe. Dressing elegantly also says to the interviewer that you take the job, the organisation and yourself seriously enough,” Smit said.

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