How to Dress to Impress for a Job InterviewAugust 7, 2017
Congratulations! You’ve been called in for a job interview. That deserves a pat on the back — but don’t break out the ice-cream sundaes just yet. There’s still work to be done.
Now that you’ve landed the job interview, you have to decide what to wear.
I know. Deciding what to wear to your job interview can be almost as stressful as the job interview itself. Don’t worry: I’ve got your back.
First, let’s look at terminology.
Dress Code Terminology
Hopefully you asked what the company’s dress code is, or were told by the recruiter. If not, you may have to do some research before you show up for your interview.
If a company wants you to dress “business professional,” then it’s time to get your suit out of the closet. For women, a dress shirt with a skirt or a pants suit will work nicely.
If “business casual” is preferred, then you can leave the suit jacket at home. Wear a nice dress shirt and slacks, paired with a belt and your nicest dress shoes. For the ladies, you can opt for a modest dress or a nice blouse with either a skirt or dress pants.
“Casual” can be tricky. You don’t want to look too casual, but you don’t want to look overdressed or uptight either. Polo shirts work well for both genders in this case. Pair it with khaki pants or a modest skirt.
No matter what the dress code is for your job interview, you’ll want to look well put-together. Get out the iron and banish any wrinkles to another dimension. Brush your teeth and your hair. Make sure your shoes aren’t scuffed. And, for the love of all that is holy, wear deodorant!
If you’re completely unsure what to wear, err on the side of caution and go a bit more formal. So long as you look like you tried (no offending body odors, right?), then most recruiters will be forgiving.
5 Tips to Dress to Impress for EVERY Interview
1. Wear Clothes That Fit
I used to suffer from chronic “muffin top” because I would buy pants in the size I wanted to be rather than the size I actually was. Silly, right? Worse: It looked horrible.
No recruiter is going to check the tag on the back of your slacks during a job interview. Don’t be ashamed to buy clothes that fit, even if that means admitting you’re a size 22 rather than an 18.
Not only will you look nicer, you’ll be more comfortable overall — and comfort exudes confidence. Take it from a gal who knows: It’s nearly impossible to ooze confidence during a job interview when your blouse is pinching your armpits.
2. Avoid Looking Dated
This is another mistake I’ve made in the past. Learn from my errors! That’s what I’m here for.
If you wear a fat tie when skinny ties are the norm, you’re going to stand out — and not in a good way. Same goes for dress styles for women.
As a freelance writer, I barely leave my house, so my wardrobe gets outdated before I know it. On the rare occasions I’ve been called in for a job interview to work “in house,” I’ve made a trip to the local mall and picked up some “modern” clothes so I could dress-to-impress.
Updating your look doesn’t mean breaking the bank. Discount stores, like Ross or Marshalls, have plenty of “modern” options for you to select from. I’m also very fond of Target.
Skip eating out that week and invest in your wardrobe. Buy yourself an updated “job interview” outfit. You’ll be glad you did.
3. Wear Black and White
Jerry Seinfeld does a great bit about the black & white cookie being the perfect example of “racial harmony.” Bring that harmony to your wardrobe.
You really can’t go wrong with a white shirt and black pants or skirt. You’ll look conservative and respectable for the occasion.
According to over 2,000 recruiters, black, white, blue, and grey are the best job interview colors. Orange was ranked as the worst.
4. Be Modest
Yes, dress modestly, but also be modest. Even if you think you look super hot in your new job interview outfit, don’t let it go to your head.
In a recent study done by SmartRecruiters, it was found that 80 percent of successful job applicants thought of themselves as “average” in the looks department. Whereas 66 percent of applicants who failed to get hired rated themselves as “very attractive.”
5. Don’t Be Distracting
This tip applies to a number of categories when it comes to a successful job interview presence.
Remember how I advised you to wear deodorant to avoid any offending bodily odors? Well, that doesn’t mean you should bathe yourself in cologne or perfume. Many people are allergic and, even for those who are not, strong smells can be distracting and unwelcome.
This also isn’t the time to show off your impressive bosom or hirsute chest. Keep those shirts buttoned up!
Accessories should also be kept to a minimum. Wedding rings are absolutely fine, as are most watches or a simple necklace. However, you’ll want to keep the bangles (jingle jangle!) at home.
Avoid any BIG accessories as well. Instead of large hoop earrings, opt for tasteful studs (or no earrings at all). Flashy cufflinks should also be kept in your nightstand drawer.
For men, avoid wearing ties with gaudy patterns. Go for plain colors whenever possible. For women, keep your makeup routine simple — don’t look like you’re heading out dancing at the local club. Cover any flaws (acne, redness, etc.), but ultimately aim for a “natural” look. Aim to look awake, not alluring.
If you follow these five steps, you’ll have a better-than-average chance of getting hired after your job interview.
Now, get out there, get dressed, and smile! You’ve got this.
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