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Does it really matter how I dress for an interview?

  • YES!
  • People make assumptions about your professional credibility and potential performance based upon your appearance during a first meeting
  • It is difficult to overcome a poor first impression, regardless of your knowledge or expertise

General rules

  • Wear the best you can afford; it's a good investment
  • Err on the side of conservative; less is more when it comes to color, jewelry, and perfume/cologne
  • Navy or charcoal gray suits are preferred, in a natural fiber

What should women wear?

  • Suits are still the first choice, although a conservatively tailored dress is appropriate
  • Skirts should hit below the knee and be classically styled, but never form fitting
  • Shirts should add a bit of color, without overwhelming the suit. The sleeves should go to the wrist and the neckline should be conservative
  • Always wear pantyhose in a sheer or non-patterned material. Bring along an extra pair just in case you get a run
  • Shoes should be clean, close toed, medium heeled, and simple. Thick soled shoes are not appropriate for an interview
  • Jewelry can express your personality without becoming overly distracting. Avoid dangling earrings and wear no more than one ring per hand and a dress watch. Many employers recommend each piece be smaller than a nickel
  • Carry a clean purse or a briefcase, but not both

 What should men wear?

  • A classically cut, tailored suit in a natural fiber
  • Shirts in white or eggshell are the "safest". Combine this with a poly/silk tie that compliments your suit. Fashion ties with pictures are not appropriate
  • Always wear calf length or higher socks that match your suite
  • Your belt should be a leather style in the same color as your shoes
  • Shoes should be polished, laced-up, and wing-tipped for the best impression
  • Jewelry should include no more than one ring and a dress watch. Necklaces, earrings, sports watches, and multiple rings are discouraged
  • Carry a quality brief case or portfolio

Examples of proper dress

Dress to Achieve
  • Complete guide for men's and women's professional dress.
Men's Style Dress for Success
  • Tips for professional dress
Dress for Success
  • Quintessential Careers guide



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