Congratulations! You just scored an interview for a new job. This is the big gig you’ve been waiting for and your nerves are probably kicking into high gear right about now. You have questions to worry about, resumes and cover letters to print out, and references to line up. The last thing you’ll want to be worrying about is what to wear. But you know it’s important to put your best foot forward and make a great impression the first time you meet with a potential employer.
What you wear and how you wear it can say a lot about you as a person. Employers want to see your personality, but they also want to make sure you’re professional and respectable. From the accessories you don to the makeup you wear, all those minor details can give clues as to who you are and how you’ll fit in at the company. Make sure those clues are the right ones by following these simple guidelines.
Classy and Conservative
Whether you’re interviewing to be the Vice President of a Fortune 500 company or you’re looking to become a manager of the hottest new retail store in town, you can never go wrong with a suit. As a long time staple of any businessman’s wardrobe, the suit is as classic on a woman as it is on a man. You’ll look serious and business-savvy, ready to take on anything your employer might throw your way. Keep in mind that you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a designer label suit to achieve this chic style, either. As long as you find a suit that fits your body type and keeps your look conservative and put-together, you’ll make a great first impression off of appearances alone.
Stay away from revealing clothing, peeking bra straps, or anything that doesn’t belong in an office setting. While skirts can certainly be business-appropriate attire, make sure they’re at least knee-length. For shoes, try on dressy flats or smaller heels. And if you’re wondering about what colors you should wear, you can never go wrong with blacks, grays, and browns.
Jewelry: Less is More
Since most business attire is rather bland and conservative, the jewelry you wear is a great place to show off your personal style and personality. You can pair a black pantsuit with a chunky necklace and stud earrings or a simple bracelet would do. However, keep accessories limited to earrings, necklaces, bracelets/watches, and rings. While facial piercings (and tattoos) are becoming more widely accepted in the work place, it’s best to find such things out after you’ve been hired.
Clean Up to Dress Up
Appearances aren’t only based off of what you’re wearing; your cleanliness and makeup play a factor, too. Besides the obvious of showering, washing your hair, and brushing your teeth, give your nails and ears a quick clean and your eyebrows a quick tweeze prior to an interview. Nail polish is certainly acceptable, but don’t go too crazy with the colors or patterns.
For makeup, keep your look simple and professional. Natural colors, some mascara, and a slight pop of pink or red on the lips and cheek should do the trick. You can apply a small amount of perfume, as well, but try not to let it get too overpowering. You want all attention on you and your skills, not your makeup and perfume.
Interviews are all about first impressions. From C-level positions to entry-level jobs, potential employers will not only evaluate your skills and competency, but they’ll also be looking for personality and professionalism. Dressing up in a suit, keeping your jewels to a minimum, and cleaning up your appearance beforehand will allow you to make the right impression from the moment you step into the office.
Once you’ve been hired, you might find that your company has a more relaxed dress code, casual Fridays, or allows for a variety of styles. However, until you land the job and find out these internal rules, it’s best to look clean, neat, and professional in order to be taken seriously. These guidelines might not help you stand out, but it will allow your resume to speak for you.