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Professional Presentation

When I was approached to participate in the “Present The Best You” Online contest with and BeKnown* , providing tips for preparing budding young professionals for the interview process, I was excited to dive in.

I remember all too well the process of setting out in search of a proper interview suit, under the assumption that that was the only acceptable attire.  I settled on a cropped trouser and jacket option, pairing it with a bright yellow button-down; traditional enough to fall into the “suit” category whilst staying true to myself.

I no longer need to get dressed for “the office” in the traditional sense since my office is largely home based, but even when I was commuting to a cubicle, I learned quickly that a stuffy suit isn’t a girl’s only option for workplace wear.  Presenting the “real you” is extremely important during the interview process, and that entails much more than what your oral answers and a general resume will provide.  If you’re uncomfortable in what you’re wearing, there’s a good chance that that discomfort will also be apparent to your interviewer.  The key is to reflect your personal style while maintaining a professional impression.

Considering what I know now, a chic collarless blouse, tailored black trousers, metallic belt, and a classic black blazer would be my goto interview outfit of choice.  I always recommend finishing off your look with heels for a bit more polish — you can always carry flats in your purse as backup, but keep accessories minimal.  In a professional capacity such as an interview, I find the “less is more” approach is best.  Appearances aren’t everything, but they certainly contribute to a first impression.  And don’t be afraid to swipe on a bold lip color for a guaranteed quick confidence boost!

{H&M blazer and trousers; Express blouse; Gap belt; ShoeMint heels; Lisa Stewart monogram bracelet; misc. earrings}

As a participant in ’s “Present The Best You” Online contest, I automatically receive a stylish, yet professional business cardholder and a makeup kit for myself, and one to give away to one lucky reader.  To win, leave a comment below providing your own interview tips or how you put your own twist on professional style.  You can also “Like” Raving Fashionista on Facebook, and follow Raving Fashionista on Twitter (and please tweet about this contest) for additional entries, making sure to include that you did so with your comment.  Giveaway ends January 20, 2012.  One giveaway winner will be selected at random. (Terms & Conditions)

*  recently launched BeKnown, a professional networking app for Facebook (also available for iPhone download).  BeKnown allows you to set up a professional profile directly on Facebook that is completely separate from your personal Facebook page. One of the apps newest features, College Pages , even provides a way for alumni to network professionally on Facebook and view job postings from their fellow graduates!

View a guided tour here for more information on BeKnown.

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