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Dress for Success: Job Interview Outfit Ideas and General Tips

Fall is here! And not only does that mean Halloween, pumpkin picking, and vibrant foliage coating the streets of Hamilton; but also crunch time for locking down summer internships and, for many seniors, full-time jobs. Since our first week of freshman year, Career Services have flooded our inboxes and dormitory walls with emails, reminders, and bulletins that we probably should have paid more attention to at the time. As the impending job search feelings of unpreparedness loom near for many Colgate students, it is important to utilize the resources available in order to feel confident and ready for interviews. Not only is it important to feel assertive in your skills as an interviewee and potential employee, but equally important to “look the part” as well (fake it ‘til you make it rings true now more than ever!). 

Here are some style recommendations so you can dress for success:

Outfit Idea #1 : Blazers and Dress Pants

You can never go wrong with the “Girl Boss” aesthetic. Raid your mom’s closet for a more traditional vibe, or visit a local department store (definitely check out Zara or Aritzia) to find a mature yet chic outfit for an everyday look for the office. These traditional staples are sure to be common among coworkers in most office environments and are easy to pair with basic tees or even a modest bodysuit tucked in. Accessorize with basic jewelry and a fun handbag for a more youthful take on a classic look. 

Outfit Idea #2 : Button Down Shirts and Casual Slacks

Button down shirts are another trend that has definitely made a comeback this past summer and fall. Check out Madewell or Banana Republic to find loose fitting collared shirts in a variety of colors and patterns perfect for fall and spring wear. This versatile top can be styled with white or dark wash jeans, a neutral belt, or even a sweater, quilted jacket, or vest for cooler days. I particularly enjoy this look with a pair of ballet flats or nicer sandals. Tie your hair back in an updo or half-up with a clip, and you’ll radiate a calm, confident vibe to any interviewer or potential employer!

Outfit Idea #3 : Dresses or Skirts

For a more girly look, you can never go wrong with modest dresses or skirts paired with a button down shirt or sweater. Check out Revolve or Nordstrom to find appropriate skirts and dresses that are still flattering and trendy. Both stores have sections on their websites where you can view premade looks designated for the workplace. They also have a variety of shoes and accessories that are sure to pair well with the outfit of your liking!

So now that you look the part, here are a few interview preparation tips to help you ace your next job or internship interview:

Interview Tip #1 : Practice Makes Perfect

Despite its redundancy, interview prep is essential for success. Make an appointment at Colgate Career Services and set up a mock interview or resume proofreading session. These may seem like overkill, but it’s important to prepare for absolutely everything that could be thrown at you. No need to memorize a script to every single question, but it is helpful to have a sense of an answer to a potential question that could come up. Career Services is a vital resource our student body is so fortunate to have; do not be afraid to utilize all they have to offer. You can never over prepare!

Interview Tip #2 : Do Your Research

Interviewers and potential employers want to know you’re passionate about their company. Make sure to look into the company’s mission statement and explore their website and social media ahead of the interview. Another important aspect of the job search process is networking; another resource Colgate has to offer is it’s massive and willing network of alumni. Career Services can put you in touch with alumni at businesses and career paths you’re interested in. Don’t be afraid to reach out on your own either. Whether it’s a close family member or mutual friend, nine times out of ten they will be willing to give some quick tips and advice. Even a quick email or Zoom chat can make all the difference when it comes down to choosing one of the last two resumes.

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Katie Lehan

Colgate '25

Katie is a freshman at Colgate hoping to major in Sociology and minor in Economics. She enjoys spending time with friends, working out, art, and anything outdoors.
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