Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dressing for #interview #success

During yesterday's post we discussed how to excel in your in person job interview.  You could get every aspect of your interview 100% correct, but if you don't dress appropriately, that offer letter will never make its way to your inbox.   In order to dress for success, you need to know what the atmosphere is like where you will be interviewing.

Before you can even start to think about an interview outfit, you need to fully understand how you are expected to look.

Conservative Law, Accounting, or Consulting Firm
Traditional suit, black or navy, with a solid color blouse, ideally white or blue.  Ensure your skirt is below your knee and nothing is too revealing (this applies everywhere really).  Pull your hair back and keep your jewelry and make-up to a minimum, though a string of pearls is perfectly acceptable.  Your goal is to blend in with the rest of the office, not win best dressed.  If you are uninspired to dress like this each and every day, this may not be the place for you.

Fashion Forward
Some interviewers may test your fashion sense just as much as how you can work under pressure.  If you are interviewing for a designer, a magazine, or in PR, your appearance is even more important.  Rather than trying to blend in, you will be trying to show a little personality.

But be careful, this is not the time to try to the latest untested trend as a major faux pas can spell the end of your opportunity before it even truly began.  Consider wearing a professional dress or a blouse and a skirt, with a fab pair of shoes.  A piece or two of jewelry is acceptable along with a normal level of make up.  Where your hair how you are most comfortable, with the goal of a fun, fresh, yet professional look.

Comfortable Non-profit, Casual Tech Company
More and more organizations are starting to implement casual Friday every day of the week.  There is nothing worse in being in a stuffy suit when all of your interviewers are in jeans and a t-shirt.  This doesn't mean you should wear the same, but you can tone it down slightly so that everyone feels comfortable.

A good choice is business casual type of outfit.  A blouse and a skirt or pair of pants works great.  Feel free to show some personality with a great pair of shoes or a colorful scarf.  Never wear jeans yourself, and when in doubt, always dress up rather than down.

It may be difficult to reprogram yourself to wear anything other than a traditional suit, but fitting in and putting people at ease are a huge part of building rapport and landing that dream job.  Bring it girlfriend!

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

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