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How to Dress For An Interview

It doesn’t matter where you are interviewing, there is a good chance that what you wear will directly affect whether or not you get hired.  In today’s climate, it is difficult enough just getting an interview so why would you put your chances in jeopardy by not dressing appropriately.  Unfortunately, there isn’t one uniform dress code for every interview, however there are some simple tips that you can utilize to ensure that you are always dressed in line with industry norms.  Here are a few quick guidelines that can help you standout during a job interview.

1.    Err On the Conservative Side
Ideally you will know exactly what environment you are walking into.  Obviously if you are applying for an office position you will probably be dressing differently than if you were applying for a general labor position.  The key is identifying what type of work environment you will be entering and more importantly, what the expected type of dress code will be.  If you are ever in a position where you are unsure about what you will be walking into then always err on the side of being a little more conservative.  Most people will judge you more harshly if you show up under-dressed rather than over-dressed.

2.    Don’t Forget the Details
While it may not directly reflect your abilities or qualifications, many employers have their own set of details that they consciously check during every interview.  For example, if you are wearing fingernail polish then it needs to look well maintained.  If you are where nice dress shoes, then they need to be cleaned and if possible, polished.  If you are accessorizing with a necklace, earrings, or bracelet, then they need to match your outfit and not be overbearing.  If you are wearing a tie, then make sure that it is on straight.  All of these smaller details can be just what you need to get the edge over someone else who is equally qualified, and sometimes even more qualified.

3.    Standard Women’s Dress
For women, business casual is becoming an increasingly broad term, however when in doubt, stick the basics.  Women are allowed to stray a little farther from the traditional “power colors” than men, but that doesn’t mean you should go overboard.  A bright pink skirt is not going to leave a good first impression.  A business suit, either traditional or fashionable, is normally acceptable (both pants and skirts).  Keep in mind that your jacket, blouse, and bottoms should all match and your accessories need to be an accent rather than the main event.  Finally, always make sure that your cloths fit well.  Just because you want to be a size 6 doesn’t mean that you are.  Dress to your body type and you will always stand out.

4.    Standard Men’s Dress

In general, men are limited to black, blue, gray, and brown suits.  Traditionally, only white or blue shirts were considered acceptable, however this is no longer the case.  As long as your shirt and tie coordinate with your suit, there shouldn’t be a problem.  Socks should always match your suit (not be white) and your shoes should always be either black or brown.  If you have any facial hair, make sure that it is well maintained.

If you are still wondering how to dress for an interview, then these four guidelines should get you started in the right direction.  If all else fails, use some common sense and always opt to look more conservative.

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