The interview process can be scary and intimidating. You need to look professional and for some people, leaving the sanctity of their own home in anything nicer than a pair of sweats and a shirt dusted with cat hair can spark high anxiety. So, here you are, in your nice dress you only break out for fancy obligation dinners with your parents’ friends, formal shoes you only wore once (to your grandma’s funeral), with a heat rash across your forearms because you’re so uncomfortable you’re clawing your own skin off.
A lot of people find the interview disquieting due to a fear of the unknown. Most of the time, you don’t know the people interviewing you, and they don’t know you. There’s little room in the interview to make space for how you can type 100 WPM thanks to the 1,200 pages of heavily lauded fanfiction you have under your belt. You can’t say how you have an effervescent personality because the level 43 bard that you LARP on the weekends at the Renaissance Faire has an insanely high charisma level. You can’t say how your aggressive attention to detail comes from years of perfecting your art in doujinshis that you sell at anime conventions in the summer. BUT- there is one way to make this statement without having to say a word:
Because let’s face it, you can’t show up to an interview dressed up like Noctis Caelum, the Crown Prince of Lucis, because a comic strip on the internet encouraged you to “dress for the job you want.” You can, however, accessorize using lowkey fandom merch created officially or by fans.
Equipping those power accessories can help boost your charisma stats, but it can also help you identify People Like You during the interview process. Whether it’s the HR Director or somebody you cross paths with on the way to the interview room, if they see your Sailor Moon-inspired earrings, and they have a Sailor Moon tattoo sleeve hidden under their practical gray-blue button-up, they’ll instantly know you’re Good People (while someone outside the loop sees a seemingly functional human being worth having around the office).
A few basic tips to get you started: Small and subtle accessories are your best bet. Chunky earrings, necklaces, and bracelets can come off as unprofessional in an interview environment, even to people who are fans of the media you’re wearing.
A splash of color could do wonders in bringing an outfit together, but be mindful of the colors you choose for your accessories. It’s cool if you really like Haikyuu and get lots of confidence from channeling Hinata’s optimism, but you shouldn’t wear jewelry with red, white, and green volleyballs on it.
Don’t choose cheap-looking pieces for your interview! Every workplace is different, but metals tend to be easiest to match and convey a more professional look than, say, bright neon acrylic jewelry.
Everyone accessorizes in their own way that makes them feel comfortable and confident. Accessories can help transform a stuffy dress into an undercover cosplay. I love Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle. I pull strength through him by imagining myself as the most powerful wizard in the world, secretive and sassy. There’s a scene in the dub of the Ghibli movie where whiny pissbaby Christian Bale as the voice of Howl bemoans “I see no point in living if I can’t be beautiful,” and that quote stuck to me like cement to the point where I used an Etsy store to commission a custom bracelet with the quote on it. When I wear this bracelet, I feel powerful. It gives me confidence when I’m locked in a room with unfamiliar people for thirty minutes forced to discuss a challenge at my current job and how I overcame it with a toothpick, a battery, and a ball of twine.
Wearing jewelry that gives you a strong emotional boost helps put your best foot forward. Last year, I went on what was arguably the Greatest Vacation Of My Entire Life where I spent two weeks in Japan fulfilling every dream I’ve had since I was twelve. On the first day, we went to the Square Enix store, where I bought a very beautiful and very subtle necklace of one of my favorite Kingdom Hearts characters, Roxas. I like to wear it during interviews because not only does it add a cute, understated nerdy touch to my outfit; it also reminds me of a really happy memory.
And for those of you who wear makeup, there are also several types of makeup – from eyeliner to nail polish – tailor-made to your fandoms! Big name series like Sailor Moon and Rose of Versailles have their own makeup that can be imported from Japan, but small, fanmade companies like Shiro Cosmetics and Espionage Cosmetics offer colorful palettes for everything from Serenity to Yuri On Ice. There are millions of excellent makeup tutorials on Youtube that can show you how to apply these war paints to your best advantage, but I can offer some tips: Stick with basic neutrals and nudes, don’t be too heavy on the eyeliner, and possibly save the disco glitter nail polish for your toes instead of your fingers.
In the end, you want your outfit to empower you and bolster your confidence! OH MY GOD I CANT THINK OF ANYTHING I CANT WRITE A CONCLUSION TO SAVE MY LIFE. IDK. BE SURE TO FLOSS AND GOOD LUCK.