Your cover letter and resume are fabulous and you get a call from the recruiter to schedule an interview. You're almost home free, right? Not exactly. You still have to practice your interview responses, rehearse how you're going to answer a dozen or more questions and select the perfect interview attire that projects a polished, professional image. Part of looking good for your interview is coordinating the right accessories, from your shoes to your earrings.
Regardless of whether you want a job with a law firm or a tattoo parlor, keep your interview attire understated. Dark, muted shades are a good bet for any job, except if you're interviewing for a role as a cutting edge fashion stylist or wardrobe adviser. But achieving that conservative look is more than just the color of your suit. An interviewer might look at everything from your hairstyle to the shoes you wear to determine whether you fit the work environment.
Bangle bracelets, clunky necklaces and colorful headbands distract an interviewer when the focus should be on how well you explain your work history, job skills and qualifications. Save your eye-catching jewelry for a night out with friends or for a job where you have to be ultra glamorous, such as a casino host, nightclub promoter or fashion stylist. Wear just one pair of earrings and limit them to a small stud or hoop -- no big, shiny three-inch hoops, please.
If you have several ear piercings, remove the earrings and conceal the holes when you're planning your interview attire. It's acceptable to wear one pair of earrings, although the University of Cincinnati Lindner School of Business's website post says women can wear two pairs of earrings. But one pair is the safest way to go. When you remove extra earrings, you may have to conceal the holes with foundation makeup, cosmetic concealer or a coverup stick, the same kind you use to cover undereye dark circles.
Avoid wearing a hairstyle that attempts to hide your earrings -- the easiest thing to do is just remove the extra earrings. You could probably get away with wearing a hairstyle that would hide your earrings, but don't wear a style that doesn't fit your personal style. Even if you pull your long hair into a chignon, you'll look more like a schoolmarm than a savvy, experienced professional whose qualifications will convince the hiring manager that choosing you would be an excellent decision.
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.