Makeup Tips for Acing a Job Interview
If I've been a little more quiet around these parts, it's because I've finally landed a full-time job! Since getting my MA in September, I've been tirelessly and endlessly looking for a job in public relations, not an easy feat when I have absolutely zero experience in that industry and a degree in a completely different field (Linguistics). Nonetheless, I was determined to get hired, and thankfully was hired just last week. Once I get used to my long 10 hour days and my new routine, I'll blog twice a week again, but it's currently been impossible!
As my new job is on my mind, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about what kind of makeup I wore to my interviews, and what tips I have to share on landing that perfect job. Though I think this look could work for almost any industry, remember that everywhere is different. If you're going for a super corporate job, I'd keep it as minimal as possible, with hair tied back (and definitely wear a jacket and matching slacks). If you're going into a more creative field, you can play with colors a bit more and be a bit more casual. Do your research before going into the interview and get a feel for what type of place it is and what sort of dress-code they follow.
I don't wear foundation on a day-to-day basis, but for a job interview I like to have as "perfect" of a canvas as possible, without it being obvious that I'm wearing foundation (though isn't that the goal always?). I recommend you go for a base that has a satin, skin-like finish, not overly dewy or glowy or matte. Just in between. Chanel's Vitalumiere Aqua is perfect for this, it has a very fluid, watery consistency that blends and melts into the skin without a trace of texture showing. It provides light to medium coverage and is almost completely undetectable on the skin but it really does even out the skin tone and has a perfecting effect. Make sure you shake it before applying it to you face (I like to apply this foundation with my hands, and then go over with a sponge). I then apply concealer to my under-eye circles and any spots I may have. I really like the Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete concealer (what a mouthful), but I can't say it's "holy grail" status. Nonetheless, it doesn't crease on my dry under-eye area and provides decent coverage. I also like to powder my forehead and and any spots I concealed so that it slightly mattifies my skin and keeps everything in place. The Bourjous Healthy Balance Compact Powder is a great low-budget option. If you're in the States and can't get your hands on this product, Rimmel Stay Matte is another great one. Forego any highlighter if you usually wear it (unless you're interviewing for a position at, say, Sephora).
I usually like to go overboard with my blush, because I am totally down with having two bright pink circles that make me look like a happy, jolly, vibrant clown. For an interview, though, go with parsimony and strip back (in all regards but the clothes). One of my absolute all time favorite blushes, the Dior Rosy Glow Healthy Glow Awakening Blush looks terrifyingly bright in the tin, but it is the most natural-looking blush I own. Once gently dusted onto the cheeks, it gives you, as the name indicates, a healthy flush of color that is radiant and fresh, but not at all artificial-looking. Though I often like to add a bit of bronzer to warm up my skin, here, again, I keep it as simple as possible.
For the eyes, go the route you're most comfortable with, but keep it extremely light and simple. You can put a bit of a neutral eyeshadow (like a soft brown or pink) and add a coat of mascara to your lashes, or, like I do, thinly line my top lashes (not the bottom, or it can look too heavy) with a black or brown eyeliner (no wings!). I use my favorite eyeliner: Stila's Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner. My go-to style is usually slightly thicker, slightly winged out, but the idea is to enhance your features while not distracting anyone with your overall look. You want people to focus on what you're saying, not how intricate your eyeshadow abilities are. For mascara, I choose a more natural-looking one as well. I really like the L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes mascara for this purpose (and you can tell it's served me well seeing how banged up the packaging is). It never clumps, nicely lengthens, and separates all my lashes.
I feel like a browny-nude looks the most professional and chic of all, even though I usually gravitate towards more coral or pinker tones. You could go for something a bit more bolder, but I think the safe option is to go for something neutral, especially if the place you're interviewing at is more on the corporate side. I find the Clinique Different Lipstick in Tender Heart perfect for this and I always keep it in my purse at work. I never thought these types of colors fit me until I tried a free (full-size!) sample of this and absolutely fell in love. It's very lightweight in texture and has a hydrating formula.
Keep it tied up! I use a clip to make it into a sort of lazy bun. I also pin back my bangs so that they're not in my face and aren't distracting to both me and the interviewer.
General Interview Tips:
1. THE RESUME/CV
Don't underestimate the power of a nicely designed resume. Make sure it's easy to read, that every bullet point starts with a power verb, that everything is aligned perfectly, and that all fonts match. I think it's worth investing a few bucks for a nice template, which you can easily find on etsy (my friend, Maureen, sent me her template she purchased on etsy and it revolutionized my resume). An important thing to do is to tailor your resume for the position. If you've worked at 10 different places, only choose the ones that are relevant to the place you're interviewing for. An interviewer will only take about 2-5 seconds to glance over your resume, so you want to make sure they see exactly what would make you the most qualified. Having a resume that's hard to read and completely packed will only overwhelm the person who's reading it and will most likely make them give up on it.
2. THE DRESS CODE
As I mentioned in the beginning, every industry will be different. However, it's a lot safer to be over-dressed than underdressed. For my interviews, I wore nice, crisp button-down shirts, a nice pair of slacks, and some heels. I kept jewelry minimal with only a pair of studs or a small pendant. No bangles, no dangling earrings! I really liked this job interview dress-guide from Do The Hot Pants. Also make sure you have either perfectly painted nails or nothing at all on them. There is nothing more unprofessional than chipped nail polish!
3. COME PREPARED
This is obvious, but it's seriously important. Come with at least three questions once the interview is technically done. There's nothing worse than the interviewer asking "so do you have any questions for us?" and for the person being interviewed to go "uhm, no, I think you've covered it all!". This means you're not inquisitive, you're not curious, and you didn't really process anything that was said to you. Also make sure to have at least 3 copies of your resume on you the day of the interview - printed on nice, heavier paper if possible, but it's not mandatory. In terms of questions they'll ask you, an interviewer will almost always ask you the "so tell me about yourself" question. Take this opportunity to let them know exactly what makes you the perfect candidate and why you're excited about this position - don't just give a general overview of your interests and your work history. This is really your time to make your pitch.
4. WHEN TO ARRIVE
Everyone knows that you shouldn't be late, but don't be any more than 10 minutes early! The interviewer will be annoyed and feel pressured to finish whatever task they're doing. I usually get to the area where the interview is taking place at least twenty minutes before, but will go grab a coffee or use the restroom and make sure I'm still looking presentable, before I head out to the office where the interview is.
5. RELAX, BREATHE.
I know, this is much easier said than done. But remember that this is as much an opportunity for you to decide if you can see yourself work there and if you like the atmosphere of the job you're interviewing for. Also remember that the interviewer is a person, not a successful robot. It's okay to make a few jokes, and they'll appreciate you being yourself (while, of course, remaining professional). Try to see the interview as just a conversation, not a grilling.