Indelible Impact: Joanne Rae

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By Keelia McCaffrey,

Joanne Rae walked into Heth carting behind her a cart full of clothes. She unzipped bags that contained suits and ties, set up a table with accessories for both genders, and did it all wearing a figure flattering cheetah print dress and black high-heels.

When her materials were all in place, Rae made sure to walk around the room and shake hands with every single person. She used this tactic to show everyone what her presentation was about: How to present yourself for a future employer.

She began with posing a simple question: What sort of occasions do people dress up for? Audience members stated the obvious answers like weddings, funerals, and church, but not a single person said “work.”

It is Rae’s belief that work is an environment where you need to look good. But more so than that, you must look your best for an interview; first impressions are made within seven seconds. According to Rae, 55 percent of a first impression is how you look, 38 percent is how you speak and your manner, and then remaining seven percent is what you say.

When you are going to prepare for an interview you have to research, research, research,” said Rae. “You research the company you are going to interview with. You practice your interview with whomever you can, and that is going to lead to your success.”

Founder of Younique Image in October 2001, Rae is a professional image consultant. She combines her knowledge of the corporate world with her knowledge of etiquette and fashion to help her clients impress companies and obtain jobs. Rae is certified member of the Association of Image Consultants International which is a non-profit committed to proficiency and improving society’s standard of image consultants.

Dressing for interviews is a process that starts early. Investing in good staple pieces in a work wardrobe is hard for college students, but looking your best is an advantage in itself. “I put on this dress today and now I feel like a million bucks, that’s how you feel when you put it on. So if your stuff is old and faded, then you will feel old and faded when you put it on.”

She started with the men. For interviews, men should dress in fitted suits. Rae stressed that colors of a suit do matter. Black means you’re in power while brown means you’re submissive. To be safe, a navy blue suit works in every situation. A button-up shirt should be worn underneath in colors such as blue, white, or pinstriped.

When questioned about ties versus bowties Rae said it doesn’t matter. A tie is like a woman’s necklace, it is a way to dress up an outfit to make a statement. This also applies to footwear. Men should wear sleek dress shoes, and if they have on a belt, the shoes should match it.

For a woman’s wardrobe a black suit is safe. Dress up a black suit with colorful, yet tasteful blouses and shoes. Shoes should be a professional color like black, or gray and Rae suggests that high heels are better because they look sleeker. Accessories and make-up should be kept at a moderate level.

“Conservative does not mean it’s boring,” said Rae. “It just means you have to tone it down a little so no purple eye shadow, or (spray can) red streaks in your hair.”

She went on to give both genders practical advice such as: no visible tattoos or body piercings, don’t excessively use perfume or cologne, don’t be too revealing (cleavage, and tight pants), always maintain eye contact, and kept the distracting absentminded gestures to a minimum.

 “I thought that Joanne was helpful,” said communications senior Lindsey Piland. “She said some things that were pretty common sense, but they are things that need to be said for them to stick.”

Rae concluded the presentation by giving the students in attendance coupons to stores that carry dress clothing. “All I’m saying is have common sense, think things through, be prepared, and you will have a tremendously successful interview,” said Rae. “I wish you all the best.” 

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Apr 10, 2013
Joanne Rae