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Dressing For Job Interview Success

Updated on June 22, 2011

The First Impression

Everyone says you don't get a second chance to make a first impression. When looking for a job, that first impression is during the interview. Before you say a word, how you look is the first thing the interviewer will notice about you. They will gather an impression of you from that rather it is good or bad and that can color the rest of the interview. Based on that idea, you should spend some serious time figuring out how you will look for that appointment. Here are some tips that can help you.

1. Research the company you're interviewing with. If possible, drop by and see what the employees are wearing. Are they dressed conservatively? Traditional? Or do they look trendy, wearing the popular fads of the day? Do the women wear heels? Skirts or pants? Do they men wear jackets and ties or polo shirts? On the opposite side, are they wearing jeans? How dressy are the tops with the jeans? You probably wouldn't wear jeans for an interview anyway, but you might dress more casually than a suit and tie.

If you can't visit the company,try to do research online. If they have a website with pictures of employees, pay attention to how they look. General advice is to always dress one step up from the job you're applying for. So while you wouldn't copy what others are wearing, it would give you an idea of what not to do. As a general rule, businesses like banks and law firms tend to dress conservative. Even if they allow a more business casual dress, you would be more formal for an interview. Places like department stores and other offices often are more trendy and colorful.

For blue collar jobs, it's still a good idea to dress up more than the employees there. Dress slacks and a nice shirt or blouse would look impressive and set you out in the crowd of applicants.

2. Don't wear an outfit for the first time at an interview. You want something you are familiar with, to make sure it fits comfortably and isn't too tight or too loose. Pick something that makes you feel confident and professional and it will show in your posture and attitude. Interviewers read body language and will notice.

If you do have to buy something new, try to get it several days ahead of time so you can have time to wear it. You can wear it out to lunch or even just at home to get a feel for how it fits. You don't want to be pulling at it because it's too tight or tugging on it because it's too short in an interview.

3. Think about color. If you're going with traditional and conservative, limit color to a light choice on the shirt or some tasteful jewelry. If trendy is the style where you're interviewing, then you have more choices for color. However, don't pick patterns or colors that distract the interviewer. You want them to pay attention to you, not what you're wearing. It should add to you, not overpower you. Therefore, you should also consider your own personality when picking out colors. Someone who is bubbly and outgoing will do better in louder colors than someone who is shy and introverted. The loud colors could make their personality even less noticeable.

With a few minutes of planning ahead of time, you can be dressed to impress. Your attire can make you look like a professional or it can make you look sloppy or trashy or many other impressions you don't want to give. So while you want to wow them with your words, you have to catch their attention with your look first. And the most important consideration is wearing what makes you feel your best. It will show in your attitude, posture and words and you will feel like a winner even before you're hired. And who wouldn't want to hire a winner?


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    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 

      6 years ago from trailer in the country

      interesting and helpful.

    • SUSIE42 profile image


      7 years ago

      Good tips, thanks


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