Dress for Success on That Interview

20 Sep

Article Title: Dress for Success on That Interview
Author Byline: Matthew Warzel, President of MJW Careers
Author Website: http://www.mjwcareers.com

Look your best when you go to a job interview. Dress one step above the dress required for the job. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make it a good one. Remember, first impressions are formed when the interviewer first sees and greets you. You need to look professional, confident and competent.

To help you decide what to wear to an interview, visit the company and notice what people are wearing. Make sure your interview clothes are appropriate for the job you are applying for and for the location of the interview. Do not wear a suit to an interview at a construction site, and do not wear jeans and a sport shirt to an office setting. There are differences in the way people dress depending on the industry they work in. It is always better to find yourself over-dressed than under-dressed for an interview.

Use the following lists to check yourself prior to an interview. You may even want to seek an opinion from someone in the field for which you are interviewing.

Guidelines for Men
• Depending on the position you are applying for (in descending order of business formal to business casual), wear:
o Black, navy blue or gray suit, single-breasted; white or pinstripe dress shirt and a matching silk tie; or
o Navy blue or gray jacket; coordinated gray, tan, or charcoal slacks; white or pinstripe dress shirt and coordinating silk tie; or
o White, pastel, or pinstripe dress shirt and conservative tie; coordinated navy blue, gray, charcoal, or brown dress pants; or
o Plain sports shirt (polo); coordinated navy blue, gray, charcoal, or brown slacks; or
o Clean, plain sports shirt (polo) and clean casual pants (such as khakis).
• When wearing a button-up shirt, wear it long-sleeved, never short-sleeved.
• When wearing a suit jacket or blazer, always keep the top button buttoned and the bottom button unbuttoned. If it has one button, keep it buttoned.
• If the weather is hot, you may choose not to wear a suit, but still wear a long-sleeved button-up shirt with a tie.
• Never wear all black.
• For any pinstripes, make them fine-lined.
• Do not disregard sweaters (depending on the position you are applying for). A nicely fitted (not too baggy) black, navy or gray sweater with a button-up shirt underneath (perhaps a tie underneath also) looks sophisticated.
• Tip of the tie meets the center of belt buckle. Wear a dark colored tie.
• Belt shows no signs of wear; matches shoes.
• Wear glasses with up-to-date frames and clear lenses. Do not wear sunglasses with dark tints or mirrors.
• Wear no more than one ring on each hand and a watch. Do not wear any other jewelry (bracelets, necklaces nor earrings). Cover or remove any body piercings.
• No cuff links, no contrast-collar shirts, no oversized flashy watches, no large belt buckles.
• Clean and polished conservative dark (black or brown), dress shoes with dark socks. (No white socks with a dark suit and dark shoes.) Lace-up or wing-tip dress shoes. Work boots may be appropriate for some job interviews. No loafers or tennis shoes.
• Hair is trimmed, neat, and clean. If you wear a full beard or a mustache, trim neatly. Otherwise, have a clean shave.
• Nails are cut short, filed and clean.
• Minimal or no aftershave, perfume or cologne, no strong smelling deodorants, and no smoking.
• No gum, candy, or other objects in your mouth.
• Carry a good leather or leather-like portfolio or slim briefcase with multiple copies of your resume and cover letter. Include a new, working pen and clean paper.

Guidelines for Women
• Depending on the position you are applying for (in descending order of business formal to business casual), wear:
o Seasonal business suit in solid color or conservative pattern with tailored or pleated skirt; blouse in a complimentary solid color such as white, cream or pastel; skirt meets the knee; or
o Jacket in solid color or conservative pattern; coordinating blouse and tailored or pleated skirt in appropriate length; or
o Tailored blouse, preferably with long sleeves, in white, cream or pastel; coordinating tailored or pleated skirt in solid color or conservative print or pattern and appropriate length.
• Pantsuits are acceptable, but a skirted suit is a better choice.
• Wear glasses with up-to-date frames and clear lenses. Do not wear sunglasses with dark tints or mirrors.
• Simple earrings; a pin or a necklace and a watch; no more than one ring per hand; no more than one bracelet.
• Clean hair; down if short or tied back and professional.
• Simple makeup. Avoid bright colors or too heavy an application.
• Nails are short to medium length; manicured with light or clear polish.
• Stockings or pantyhose are flawless (no runs) and conservative in color. Wear them even in the summer.
• Medium heel pumps, no open toes or open backs; no scuffs or nicks in heels; do not wear flats. Wear dark colored shoes.
• Minimal perfume or cologne, no strong-smelling deodorant, and no smoking.
• No gum, candy, or other objects in your mouth.
• Carry a good leather or leather-like portfolio or purse (not both) with multiple copies of your resume and cover letter. Include a new, working pen and clean paper.

Men and Women
• Make your overall color palette dark/neutral, but try adding a splash of red. Red is the perfect color to make you stand out, but it is still professional. Ladies, try a red scarf; for gentlemen, a red pocket square or tie. (Even actors use this tip to stand out during auditions!)
• Turn off and put away all electronic devices (cell phone, Bluetooth, PDA, GPS, laptop, pager, etc.).
• Dress in a way that flatters your body type: never tight, never too loose.
• Maintain good personal hygiene: shower or bathe, have clean hair, brush your teeth, and wear antiperspirant deodorant.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

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