We don’t have to tell you that the job market majorly sucks right now. Bad news for everyone on the hunt for a new gig, but seriously crummy news for recent grads. When your resume isn’t jam-packed with experience, you need to do everything you can to show potential employers that you are career material.
Everything from your haircut to how you do (or don’t do) your makeup can hurt your chances in an interview.
With that in mind, we turned to the pros at the Eva Scrivo Salon in NYC to give three recent grads a workforce-worthy makeover. Check out their transformations, then study the expert beauty tips for making a great first impression — even seasoned interview pros could learn a thing or two from this savvy glam squad!
For more great tips from Eva, check out her book, Eva Scrivo on Beauty: The Tools, Techniques, and Insider Knowledge Every Woman Needs to Be Her Most Beautiful, Confident Self.
Photographed by Erin Yamagata
Shruti, 22, Future Lawyer
Currently enrolled in law school at the University of Michigan, Shruti was preparing for her internship interviews and needed a new look that would help her convey a more professional, serious attitude. "Since I started law school right after undergrad, with no full-time work experience, I'm definitely on the young side for my profession," says Shruti.
"Shruti's look was young and demure – attributes that could prevent her from being taken seriously in the legal world," says Eva Scrivo. "We set out to give her a more mature, polished look that exudes confidence." That meant cutting her shapeless, grown-out layers into a sleek bob and adding highlights and lowlights for dimension. "Shruti had fine, mid-length hair – a combination that made it look even thinner. I cut a strong bob line that hit just below the chin, to help strengthen her jaw line and overall bone structure," says stylist Donna Tripodi. To help camouflage the thinness at her roots, Tripodi then shaded her roots a few hues darker than the rest of Shruti's hair. This creates the optical illusion of thicker hair and the appearance of more depth.
"Shruti's brows were what first caught my eye," says makeup artist Mara Palumbo. "I started by sculpting and perfecting her arch, while maintaining the fullness of the brow and using a powder that’s a shade lighter than her natural color to fill in any gaps." Palumbo then created a clean complexion using tinted moisturizer, some sheer powder in her T-zone, and some light contouring under the cheekbones to help strengthen Shruti's facial structure. In addition to her stunning brows, Shruti was also blessed with long, lush lashes, so Palumbo used neutral tones on her eyelids to emphasize them.
The important thing to remember about working in a conservative place is that you can still look stylish and experiment with your hair and makeup, provided you do it in a sophisticated, grown-up way. "This look, hair and makeup, is perfect for a law office setting and something that's super easy to do on a daily basis," says Palumbo.
"I think the new look makes me feel more at ease and therefore more confident," says Shruti. "It brings the focus to my features, so it might help capture an interviewer's attention without being distracting. It certainly looks more mature without looking old or dated, and it helps to convey a sense of quiet confidence."
Photographed by Erin Yamagata
Sarah, 22, Future Public Relations Coordinator
A double major in Art History and Journalism at NYU, Sarah literally just graduated and, like many students entering the job market, was concerned about landing a job after college. "With school and my internship, keeping up my look wasn't a priority," she says. "I definitely left a bit too much time between cuts and coloring, leaving my hair looking less than desirable — not sloppy, but definitely not put together."
"Sarah's fine, long, blonde hair needed a haircut that could strengthen her facial features, add fullness and height, and create the illusion of thicker hair," says Scrivo. "I designed a look that would help transition her from student to professional. A concave layering pattern is a great technique that creates layers while maintaining thickness at the bottom. The layers softly frame her face and add shape and lift."
The most pressing problem for Sarah was her blonde locks. "Her hair color was too gold and not bright enough around her face," says Scrivo. "She needed some lighter pieces in the front to make her eye color pop, as well as some lowlights for more dimension and to strengthen her perimeter." Colorist Meghan Baldwin placed lowlights underneath her hair to add that dimension, plus some highlights around her face to add fullness to her fine locks. "Sarah is entering into the fashion and beauty industry, so I wanted to make sure she looked her best with a fun, yet professional look," says Baldwin.
"My main goal with Sarah was to get her away from the sorority-girl look and transform her into a successful, yet sexy business woman," says Palumbo. "In PR, it's all about looking effortlessly put together, which in reality means taking more time with your makeup than just a little concealer and a quick liquid line, which has been Sarah's go-to routine." Palumbo went for a subtle smoky eye using gold and navy tones to complement Sarah's blonde tresses. "I noticed Sarah seemed to follow her lash line on a downward slope when applying her liner," says Palumbo. "This is a common mistake women make — it can really make your eyes look tired. I showed her how to use a fine tip liner brush to create an upward angle at the outside edge of her eye before coming down onto her lash line and lid." A swipe of bronzer and peach blush on her cheeks added a healthy glow and finished off the look.
Sarah confessed she was nervous about the makeover at first, because she's not good with change — even getting a trim freaks her out — but she was thrilled with the results. "I think my hair looks a lot more professional. Even without styling, it just looks much more neat and tidy, and the color is bold and fun, but also sophisticated and clean. Going into event planning and PR, the way you present yourself matters — it speaks to what you can do for a client and I definitely feel like I now look more put together. Overall I feel I look more sophisticated without looking older than my age — or too stern."
Photographed by Erin Yamagata
Julie, 23, Future Architect
Since graduating from the University of Michigan in 2011, Julie has been struggling to find a job in her desired field, settling for internships until she can land her dream gig. "I was rocking the same style that I had from 8th grade to freshman year of college, so it felt a bit immature. I'm a low-maintenance type of girl, so I tend to spend a minimal amount of time on my hair in the morning. I usually let it air dry, so I may come off as a little too casual. As a designer, you need to have opinions on how things look and work together. Sometimes I forget that this applies to my own appearance as well," she says.
"Julie’s long, black hair was better suited for a college student than an architect," said Eva. "We wanted her to look professional, but still have an edge that lent an air of creativity. I cut her hair in square layers using a razor. Razor cutting helps to open up a haircut, giving otherwise heavy hair a sense of lightness." Julie had never colored her hair before, so when Eva mentioned highlights, she admits she got a bit nervous. Fortunately, there was nothing to fear, as colorist Mira Herri used a soft honey tone that brought out the warmth in her skin and defined the lines of the cut. "The balayage highlighting technique that I used created beautiful, soft dimension and requires less maintenance. Perfect for the busy college grad building her career," says Herri.
Julie revealed that she doesn't usually wear makeup, so Palumbo's goal was to ease her into a routine without doing anything too complex or overwhelming. "I wanted Julie to be able to express her creativity through her makeup," says Palumbo. "I chose a bold lip color as her focal point – a strong gerber-daisy pink. Her look is current to today's makeup trends and conveys her involvement in the arts. The pink tones that I chose for her lip color help to balance the yellow undertones in her complexion."
"I think my new look exudes more of a statement and shows off more of my personality," says Julie. "It better reflects my career field and shows people that I am ready to fully transition out of college mode and into the working world. I feel more confident and inspired to dress to match my new hair and makeup. I think I look more put together and ready to interact with all types of clients."
Photographed by Erin Yamagata