Dress for Success
Congratulations, you already have the first step done. You have successfully managed to schedule an interview with the employer you intend to work for. Do not celebrate just yet; securing an interview is only the first step. Interviews can often feel intimidating, nerve wrecking, and stressful. How you present yourself, the way you dress and your overall image, are all critical elements to making a lasting impression on the interviewer. My goal is to ease some of that stress and anxiety by providing you with a 5 step guide on what to wear and what not to wear during an interview.
On a job interview your outfit is making a statement about who you are before you even speak. The way you dress communicates non-verbally to your interviewer that either, “I’m either confident, serious, and have business etiquette” or “I am incompetent, weak, and uncomfortable.”
Step 1: Confidence is Key
You probably won’t get hired if you show lack of ability to portray a strong, hardworking, motivated sense of self. Some confidence boosting clothing items that may help are either a navy blue, white, or black pinstriped blazer. Blazers are always a great guaranteed way to make you look professionally polished and make you feel like you mean business. I know when I wear a blazer I feel like I can conquer the world. It also makes me look sharp and highly self-assured, like a person that knows all the answers. If you feel comfortable and want to have a more androgynous look you can also try a black tie with a white pressed button down. Keep it conservative and professional. Some outfit ideas that represent professionalism include the following: A knee length pencil skirt, dark trousers (such as; blue, black, gray, and brown) or a classic tailored pants suit; all paired with a nice blouse of course!
Step 2: Do your research
You must be prepared, not only in researching the company or the specifications about the organizations, but also to take the valuable time out to educate yourself on the company’s dress code. You can call the company and ask what the dress code policy is or stop by on your lunch hour and walk through the company to get a feel of the company’s dress code. If it is a uniform that happens to be the dress code, depending on the job, you can indicate whether it is a formal or informal uniform dress policy. If the job environment has an informal dress code you still want to appear in something dress casual that shows confidence and competence.
Step 3: Less is more
Keep your jewelry, hair, nail polish, make-up, and perfume to a minimum. Your jewelry should be subtle yet elegant. Hair should be well groomed, clean and neat. Nail polish should be neutral or a dark shade, all make-up should look effortless and natural, and your perfume should be light and airy. People often times are either allergic to certain fragrances or just can’t tolerate a strong pungent scent. Good ole soap and water never hurts.
Step 4: Shoes
Your shoes can either make or break your outfit. Consider wearing a black, blue, nude, or brown colored footwear. When selecting a pretty professional pump, keep in mind that low to moderate heels are more appropriate when standing in front of a hiring manager. For some, they are also more comfortable. The heel you wear should not be higher than 3 ½ inches and it must be clean and polished. If you’re not the heel wearing type you can also wear power flats, choose either a dark colored round toe or pointy toe shoe.
Step 5: You got this in the BAG
The bag you wear can either be a briefcase to hold your folder, resume, references, etc. or a small to medium sized handbag that is not over flowing with your personal items. The color of your bag should match your shoe, but if it does not then the best rule of thumb is to make sure that your bag is black. In the professional world black is a sleek power color.
1. Don’t wear flashy, gaudy jewelry and bright colored nail polish.
2. Don’t wear strong perfumes and overdone make-up.
3. Don’t wear tight, short, stained, ripped, or revealing clothing.
4. Don’t chew gum. (Pop a mint if you have to).
5. Don’t wear very high heels, and carry a bag full of bathroom supplies (brush, sprays, tissues, lotions, etc.).
Last but not least, try on your outfit and role play how you envision your interview to take place with either a friend or in the mirror. This ritual will allow you to see how you feel in your business professional clothes. Keep in mind, you may be offered a second or third interview so switch it up. Run the gambit of styles, and show off the variety of your professional wardrobe. To give you an idea, you can start with a pants suit and end with a pencil skirt suit. Whatever you decide, make sure you keep your confidence at an all-time high and you are sure to get the job you deserve.