Dressing Well for the Interview

“First impressions matter. Experts say we size up new people in somewhere between 30 seconds and two minutes.”—Elliott Abrams

One of the most important first impressions you will ever make is that moment when you walk into an interview. It is wise to put as much thought into what you will wear, as you did in compiling and typing out your resume.

Here are some tips:

  1. Spend time on the Internet researching the company, industry and competitors to determine suitable interview outfits and then dress up. "The rule of thumb is that you dress one or two levels higher than the job that you're going for," explains Kate Wendleton, president and founder of the Five O'Clock Club, a national career counseling and outplacement firm. "If you were going for a job as a mechanic, you wouldn't go in there in dirty overalls, even though that's how you would dress for that kind of work. You would still go in there and show respect. You would go in with an open-collar shirt, clean pants and maybe a jacket."
  2. It’s always better to look too dressed up than too casual.
  3. Iron your clothes. Wrinkles are noticed.
  4. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking about the industry’s dress code when setting up the interview. Just dress up a level from there.
  5. Take notice of your most well-dressed friend or relative and ask them for help.
  6. Don’t think that dressing like a hip college student will impress. Often, it will have the opposite effect.
  7. Don’t think that dressing up is in essence, lying to an employer about your true self. It’s a sign of wisdom and respect, not dishonesty.
  8. In a second interview, don’t dress more casually. Keep up the standard of excellence.
  9. Wear nice looking, non-scuffed shoes. Many interviewers take notice of shoes.
  10. Your hair should be neat, clean, and conservative.
  11. Make sure you have fresh breath. Brush your teeth before you leave for the interview, and don’t eat before the interview. Don’t smoke right before an interview.
  12. Avoid loud colors and flashy ties or scarfs.
  13. Women – Be modest and avoid cleavage and short skirts.
  14. Women - Wear makeup and jewelry that are appropriate to the job/company/industry.
  15. Men – Be clean shaven. If you have mustache or beard, make sure they are well groomed.
  16. Men – Never wear collarless shirt.

“The surest way to ensure career extinction is to resist change and adaptation.” ― Miles Anthony Smith. That change and adaptation begins with the interview. Be willing to change your personal style to get that job. Dressing professionally shows respect for yourself, the interviewer, and the company. You may not have to dress this way every day, but you are more likely to be taken seriously when you present yourself in a professional manner and take the time to attend to details. The effort you put into your attire will be rewarded, possibly with a job offer. 

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