Dress For Success on Your Job Interview

Do clothes really make the man? Or woman? Perhaps not. But the way you dress does create an impression. And when it comes time to sit down for a job interview, you want to make sure that impression is a good one.

Today’s workplace dress code can be confusing. Dress-down days, business casual, traditional dress – the list of clothing options makes what is acceptable and unacceptable dress hard to define. However, when it comes to a job interview, there remains several guiding principals central to an appropriate wardrobe.

  • Your clothing must be clean, pressed, and free of holes.
  • Depending on the level of the position for which you are interviewing, your clothing choice will vary.
  • For a management position, men should wear a dark suit or sport coat and slacks combination, with a buttoned, collared shirt and tie.
  • For a field job, you may be fine with a neat pair of khakis and collared or button down shirt.
  • Similarly, women seeking a management position should wear a business suit, or dress slacks or skirt, with nylons. Wear a neat, professional looking blouse with long sleeves. For a field inspection job, neat slacks with a pressed blouse or sweater are appropriate.
  • Avoid wearing denim jeans, baggy pants or cargo pants.
  • Wear dress shoes that are polished and in good condition. Never wear work boots or sneakers. Men should wear dark dress socks, not white athletic socks.
  • Hair and fingernails should be clean and neat.
  • Jewelry should be minimal. Men should not wear earrings. If you have body art (tattoos), keep it covered during the interview in order to project a more professional image.

If you are uncertain about where to draw the line, adapt the “rule of 12” which states that you should never have more than 12 separate articles of clothing visible. This includes shoes, socks, watches, belts, tops, jackets, pants, skirts or any other accessory or item of clothing.

You are judged by the clothes you wear. The image you project should be professional and appropriate. Remember to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. If you are looking to advance your career and move up the success ladder, start acting and dressing the part before you hit the next rung.