Shined shoes, nice watch and other GQ tips for job interview
"We live in a casual culture. We're all in jeans all of the time," said Mark Jeffries, a career expert and author of "What's up with your handshake?" That's not enough in applying for a job, Jeffries told me in an interview. Job candidates must ask themselves how they want to be perceived, he said.
"If you act the part you get the part," he said.
I recently talked with Jeffries and Brett Fahlgren, a GQ style consultant, about style tips for men job seekers. Both are working with Gillette to help men look their best for a job interview and prepare for the job market.
Men are being harder hit by the recession than women, with 11.4% unemployment for men 16 and older, and 8.8% unemployment for women 16 and older, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
It takes more than a clean shave to look sharp for a job interview. And the good news is that grooming and your personal style is something you have control over, whereas other things in a job interview are out of your control, Fahlgren said.
Here are some style and grooming tips Fahlgren offers:
Don't be casual. Casual Fridays are fine if you're employed, but don't go in to an interview with a backpack slung over your shoulder. "It's better almost to not have your style be noticed," Fahlgren said. Instead, carry a classic item such as a briefcase.
"Business casual is something that guys thought was a God-send at first, but it has really thrown a lot of people off," Fahlgren said.
Fragrances -- be understated. A fragrance is an element of style, but instead of spraying it on your body, spray some on a finger and dab it on your neck. A little goes a long way. Body washes might also resonate well in an interview, especially ones that aren't deeply musky with a wintery mix.
Shoes. Wear black, laced up shoes with a rounded toe. Don't look trendy. And get them shined.
Watch. Get a nice one that is dark and dressy. A good one should be found for about $100. "Watches to men are like jewelry to women," Fahlgren said.
Jacket, pants. Fahlgren recommends wearing flat-front trousers, not pleated, and owning four or five sports jackets.
Sweaters. He also recommends having lightweight V-neck sweaters that look good with almost everything you wear.
The styles of the "Mad Men" TV show are making a comeback, bringing back an emphasis on dressing up, he said. And that's a good thing when you want to impress a potential boss.
"Find a look that's all your own and that you feel confident and comfortable in," he said.
Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area who can be reached at www.AaronCrowe.net