It's graduation time for college students around the country. Some may already have job prospects, while others may just be starting their interview process.
For those with curls and kinks, figuring out how to do their hair can add a another level of stress. But you can have curls and coils and still look professional, say top curl experts.
"Curly hair doesn't need to be straight, but it has to look like effort has been put in," says Jonathan Torch of the Curly Hair Institute in Toronto, Canada. "When you're going to a job interview -- from the shoes to the hair -- neatness counts. You have to tame your frizz better than you've ever done. The way people are dressed reflects their habits. First impressions are lasting." Finding a good hairdresser is as important as getting your resume professionally done, says Torch. The hairdresser can provide ideas on how to wear your hair -- easy styles that you can do yourself at home.
Whatever style you choose, the hair should be away from the face, according to John T. Molloy, author of "Dress for Success." It's no secret that in corporate America, success can hinge on one's willingness to adapt to a company's culture. Always err on the side of conservative.
Many African-American women have felt pressure to perm their hair to fit in. But that's not neccessary, Deloitte & Touche's Chief Diversity Officer Redia Anderson recently told Diversity Inc. As long as it's neat and clean, it should not be a problem, says Anderson, who wears her curly hair in a short Afro style.
"I definitely think you should wear your hair in its natural state, whether it's curly or coily," says Diane Da Costa, author of "Textured Tresses." "But definitely wear it a little more conservatively. Big hair can scare people, especially in conservative positions."
"If you usually wear it big and out, you might want to pull it back or up in a twist," Da Costa says.
Cypriano of Christo Fifth Avenue likes styles where the hair is worn half up, with a pretty clip to hold it back. If you have bangs, pull them off your face with some pretty bobby pins or clips. Hair bands also can look professional. If one or two ringlets fall down, they must be used as an accessory.
On the day of the interview, make sure to give yourself extra time, says Lorraine Massey, author of "Curly Girl" and co-owner of the Devachan Salon in New York.
"I would definitely get up earlier that morning," she says.
When it comes to products, deep condition the night before so that your hair is in optimal shape. After showering, don't use a towel. Instead blot the hair with a microfiber towel or with paper towels.
Use a little extra styling product to make sure you get frizz-free curls. When the hair is dry, rub a little pomade in your palms and run it through your hair.
"Curly hair can look great," says Jason Kearns with Kearns Davidson Hair & Skin Salon. "The thing is to make it look curly rather than frizzy."
Make sure your hair is dry when you walk into the interview. Damp hair can make you look ill-prepared.
Ultimately, confidence is key to a successful job interview.
"We can't treat our curls like they're a disability anymore," Massey says. "They're not! The rest is you -- your spirit, your enthusiasm, your positivity," she says.
While this woman's hair is perfectly acceptable for a job interview, her outfit isn't.
How to Dress for a Job Interview
1. Call the receptionist or secretary at the prospective employer's office for tips on what employees wear.
2. Consider the job's location. If it's a library in a strip mall, you can wear sweater and slacks. At a corporate office, wear a conservative business suit. A pantsuit might work best in a creative field.
3. Choose between closed-toe shoes, pumps and loafters.
4. Avoid miniskirts, tight sweaters, sloppy overalls and sandals with straps.
5. Check your outfit for holes, tears, stains, scuffs or wrinkles.
6. Tone down the use of makeup, perfume and jewelry. One nose ring is one too many may cost you the job of your dreams.
7. Inspect your nails, hems and the shine on your shoes.
8. Trendy is fine, as long as you keep your style subtle.
9. It's best to carry a briefcase or portfolio into an interview rather than a purse.
Sources: eHow, About.com
How to Behave
Take your tone from the interviewer. Some will be very formal, while others prefer a relaxed approach.
Make good eye contact, but don't stare.
Smile where appropriate.
Don't sit down until you are asked.
Look alert and sit upright and try to relax.
Rest your hands either on the table or in your lap, which creates an impression of composure.
Don't eat or smoke, even if invited. Do accept coffee, tea or water if you want to.
You will be asked to expand on the contents of your application and resume. You also will be asked about your previous work experience.
Listen carefully and concentrate, and don't interrupt.
Show interest and enthusiasm.
Talk slowly and clearly.
Keep your answers clear and to the point and avoid talking for too long.
Take time if necessary before answering a question or ask for clarification if you are unsure of the meaning.
Don't be afraid to admit if you can't answer the question.
Don't criticize your current employer or reveal confidential information.
Find opportunities to sell yourself, relating your skills to the job. An employer is looking for determination, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.
Concentrate on positive words, such as "enjoy" and "enthusiastic."
Golden Rule No. 1
Don't be late! Allow plenty of time for the trip, and plan to arrive at least 10 minutes early. If you are held up, phone ahead and let them know. Do a trial run if necessary to see how long it takes and to check out parking availability.
Source: First 4 Recruitment