Dress the Part for Your Next Interview

Posted December 12, 2012 by

Interview OutfitsIn an interview, first impressions are everything. Even the most down to earth interviewer would admit that appearances matter quite a bit.

The outfit you choose sends a message about your professionalism and your ability to fit into office culture. It is an opportunity to sell yourself as a package to your hiring manager, so it’s important that you choose attire that will give you that extra edge you need to boost your confidence.

Here are some simple guidelines to follow next time you find yourself at a loss for what to wear to your interview:

1.      Do your research

Anticipating the work environment is one of the best ways to decide what is most appropriate to wear. Check out the company website, ask your recruiter if you’re working with one or use your best judgment. In industries like finance, business and high-end retail, professional attire is most appropriate. Suits and closed toed shoes are your best bet. But if it’s a more artistic or start-up environment you may be free to tone it down a little so you won’t appear too stuffy or standoffish.

2.      Choose black, grays or dark blues

Though tangerine orange and candy apple red may be your favorite colors, they’ll be distracting to your interviewer. The goal is for your outfit to enhance, not overshadow you. Black, grays and dark blues should be your staple colors for skirts, slacks and blazers. Again, if you are interviewing as a fashion consultant it would be quite different, but these colors are essential for most professional settings.

3.      Keep it classic

Balance is best. Avoid rocking the latest trendy fashion, wearing outlandish makeup or showing too much skin. But also avoid dressing too frumpy or bland. You’ll want your clothes to be crisp, fashionable and chic while still being classic. A dark pencil skirt, light colored button up blouse, dark blazer and closed toe heels is a classic interview look for women. A dark gray sportscoat, solid colored cardigan, black slacks, button down and dress shoes are a good start to an interview outfit for men.

4.      Let “you” shine through

Though you’ll want to look sophisticated and professional, always include a few touches that express the real you. Perhaps it’s a colorful scarf or tie worn as an accent, a textured blazer or some tasteful and understated jewelry pieces. Often, your interviewer will encounter a number of candidates that are qualified for the job, so it’s important to distinguish your character and personality as an employee. Wear clothes that will make you feel confident, allowing the interviewer to see the real you.

No matter what you wear to an interview, make sure that you are comfortable. Try to choose something that is a professional variation of your own style. Wearing something that is overly formal or confining will not allow you to be at ease, and interviewers will recognize that you’re out of place. This does not mean, however, to roll in wearing jeans and a comfy T. If you’re a woman who has never walked in heels before, going for a classic flat or wedge might be a better choice, though closed toed heels are recommended. Use your discretion.

Have respect for your interviewer, yourself and the prospective company. Use the guidelines above to help you dress to impress, letting your shining personality and qualifications dazzle your interviewers. For more interview tips like these, visit LiveCareer.

Author: LiveCareer (www.livecareer.com), home to America’s #1 Resume Builder, connects job seekers of all experience levels and career categories to all the tools, resources and insider tips needed to win the job. Check out LiveCareer’s Google+ page and follow LiveCareer on Facebook for advice and tips on all things career- and resume-related.

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