You have the experience, the perfectly polished resume, and a long list of references who are happy to sing your praises. How can you make sure that your wardrobe matches your professionalism when it’s time for the big interview?
We have tips to help you dress for job interviews that will help you stand out from the pack.
How to Dress for a Job Interview
1. Keep it Classic With The Clothing….
Shopping for a suit can be overwhelming, but interviewing for job (especially if it is your first interview) isn’t the time to show that fuchsia is your best color. Your best bet is to opt for a classic, solid colored, skirt and/or pants suit in a neutral color like black, grey, or navy blue. Be sure to stay away from suits that are too short (more than a thumbs length above the knee), too tight (you can see your pantyline), or too revealing in general (cleavage isn’t a good thing in this case).
2. ….But Do Accent With Colorful Accessories
While you should go neutral and basic on the suit (no, seriously), do add a bit of personality to your office through accessories. Try accenting your suit with a playful, bright scarf. You can drape any scarf around your shoulders and tuck it into your jacket for a pop of color. Or, you can simply tie it in a knot around your handbag. In terms of earrings and necklace, keep them simple. Unless you’re interviewing in a creative field, leave the dangly earrings and statement necklaces at home. If you have a ring with a rock the size of plymouth on your hand, you might want to think about leaving that at home (the perception might be if she has a rock that big, she doesn’t need the job).
3. Rock The Bag, Not The Labels
We all love our designer bags, but those fabulous letters all over your purse could send the message, “I don’t actually need this job to pay the bills.” Instead, select a simple purse that can double as a small briefcase. That way, you can safely store extra copies of your resume or presentation without worrying about them being bent or ruined in transit. Also keep your electronic devices to minimum (unless you’re interviewing for a tech-related job).
4. Keep the Shoes VERRRRRRRRRRY Basic
Yes, we know that you’ve been wearing stilettos since Carrie put Mr. Big’s second wife in the hospital, but when interviewing for a job keep them at home. Instead, wear a pair of 2-3 in “sensible” black closed toe pumps. Why closed toe? Well, several industries (like Banking) really look down at open toed pumps.
5. Bring a nice pen and a nice notebook
Cathy Black, former CEO of Hearst Publications once said that she was always surprised by the number of job candidates she interviewed who don’t carry pens. Invest in a nice pen (by invest we mean like $10-$20) and carry it with you to all job interviews. Also purchase a nice notebook (scoop one up at Target, Staples, or OfficeMax) with a basic leather, faux leather or cloth covering. Use it, along with the pen, to take notes during the interview.
6. Keep the Nails, Make up, Hair, Basic too.
Yes, we sound like a broken record, but seriously, keep it simple. Your nails should be manicured, but use a neutral color. Your make-up should be tasteful, but leave the heavy eyeliner and eye shadow at home. Your hair should be well groom, but keep the color basic. For Black women, natural hair, locks and braids are totally ok (do you really want to work at a place where it isn’t? We didn’t think so), but just keep it simple for the interview, so the interview doesn’t become an interview about your hair style.
7. A Dose of Confidence
Last but certainly not least, don’t forget that confidence is your best accessory! By following these simple rules, you can ensure that you’ll appear intelligent, classy, and professional on the day of your interview. Better yet, you’ll look so organized and polished, your interviewer will know you’re prepared to start your new position at a moment’s notice.