JOB SEEKERS: Making Good First Impressions

Any job seeker knows looking for work can be a stressful situation. It’s the time of year when college graduates are going on their first interviews. And, others just may be looking for a new job opportunity.

Nicole Lewis says, “I want to look professional. I want to stand out when I’m going on these interviews.”

Nicole Lewis is ready to enter the job market. She says, “I’m looking to go into the social service field.” And she’s getting help from Dress for Success Des Moines and volunteer mentor Terry Johnson. Johnson says, “I have experience with interviewing and working with employees.”

The former human resources manager says the first step to a successful interview is build your confidence. She says, “And that can be a challenge, and I think it’s just taking a deep breath and realizing this is a place for you to shine.”

Johnson says every job seeker needs a firm handshake, and to practice making eye contact with the interviewer. She says it’s also important to build a resume and cover letter highlighting your assets. Johnson says, “Something people tend to do is not give themselves enough credit for what they have to offer. Sometimes they undersell who they are, what they can do for a company.”

You also want to dress the part. And, that means picking out the right accessories. Teresa Choi with Dress for Success Des Moines says, “In an interview environment, we want to keep the jewelry simple. We need to keep it appropriate, nothing too flashy, nothing too big, nothing too colorful.”

Choi says avoid dangly earrings or noisy bracelets that could distract. And, make sure you pick the right shoe. She says, “You can’t go wrong with a conservative heel. You don’t want to wear anything spikey, nothing too tall.”

Johnson also suggests sending a thank you note after your first interview.

Dress for Success helps disadvantaged women prepare for employment. The organization will host a fundraiser next weekend called Passion for Fashion. The benefit fashion show is Saturday, May 4th from 5 to 7 p.m. at Drake University’s Olmsted Center. Tickets are $20 and $50 will get you VIP access. Click here for more information.

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