Helping students to prepare for the world of work is beneficial for both the students themselves but also for employers. Students often have no idea what to expect when they take on their first job and employers may sometimes have unrealistic expectations. I have been working with students at Longfield Academy to help them and employers, to manage expectations and to support students in preparing for the world of work.

Preparing for interview was a key element with emphasise on the importance of preparation and research of the company in terms of the industry, the company structure, company values and brand, dress code, core principles and the context of the job role they are interested in within the company as a whole.

We practised handshakes, walking talk, pitching confidently, communicating effectively and how to make the best first impression.

I explained the importance of making the best first impression and how quickly they would be judged if they didn’t give full attention to their body language, their personal grooming and to their appearance.

I showed the students some images of people dressed for business and asked them to describe their first impression of the individuals. They were genuinely surprised by their reactions to certain images and soon realised that they too could be judged incorrectly in the first instance if they didn’t dress for success.

We all know it isn’t right that we get judged based on our appearance but we are visually dominant and clothing is often the first thing that catches our eye and therefore we start making judgements in just seconds.

It is therefore so important that we all look every bit as skilled and expert as we really are, particularly when we want to impress and gain respect.

I love showing students the importance of looking good and creating impact and the difference it can make to their careers. By showing them the importance of building a strong personal brand from the outset they are creating the best platform to launch their futures.

Deborah Turner, You Image Consultancy imageconsultantkent