Dressing for an interview

Do's, dont's, and dealing with disasters


The first thing an employer sees when you walk through the door for your interview is your attire. What you wear is part of your overall first impression. The goal, of course, is to blend in.

Dressing well doesn't guarantee you a job. It does guarantee you a good first impression, which may give you a competitive advantage over other candidates.

So, how should you dress? The best advice, according to quintcareers.com, is to dress conservatively. It's also wise to check things out on your own and work to blend in to the organization. Overdressing and under dressing both send a signal to the employer that you don't care about taking the time to dress appropriately. Finding out the proper dress can be as easy as calling the company's human resources department and asking.

If you're still not quite sure of your attire, err on the conservative side. Avoid trendy clothing. According to "Employment Interviewing," by Olivia Crosby, available from the Federal Citizen Information Center, you should "dress as you would for an important day on the job, like a meeting with a supervisor or a presentation to a client."

You and your clothes should be clean. Make sure your outfit is wrinkle-free. Choose clothes that fit well  not too tight and not too loose.

According to Placement Manual Online, www.placementmanual.com, men should wear a two piece suit in a solid color, a simple pattern tie and polished shoes with socks high enough to allow you to cross your legs without showing leg.

Women should wear a conservatively colored suit with a skirt below the knee and a tailored blouse. Jewelry and makeup should be kept conservative, and a low-heeled pump is best. Avoid dresses and slacks.

Crosby reminds job seekers not to neglect their personal grooming. Make sure that your hair is neat; for men, make sure any facial hair is neatly trimmed. Limit your accessories, and avoid heavy cologne or makeup.

Last but not least, be prepared for last-minute disasters. Have an extra clean shirt pressed in case you drip on the one you are wearing. Have extra hose in case you get a run.

Sources: Quintessential Career; "Employment Interviewing," by Olivia Crosby, Federal Citizen Information Center; www.placementmanual.com.


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