Depending on the job you are applying for, dressing to impress for an interview can be a crucial factor in making a great first impression. While there are many interview techniques you must consider, such as maintaining eye contact and being prepared, what you wear also plays a role in earning the respect of a future employer. Not only does your attire show how serious you are about the position, but it also gives your potential employer a sense of who you are as a person and an employee. Here are some tips on the do’s and don’ts of what to wear during the interviewing process.
Creating a great first impression can open doors and create opportunities that you never knew were possible. The first step to deciding what to wear is doing research on the company you will be interviewing with. If they are a company that places value on aesthetics or works with detailed tasks, then you have more freedom to dress somewhat flashy and really show off your personal, but professional style. When I say flashy, I don’t mean sequins, glitter or hot pink. Instead, feel free to add little details, such as your favorite necklace, bracelet or pair of heels to express yourself.
Above is one example of a detailed, fun and professional look. I love the “orange waterfall blazer” by Dorothy Perkins. Blazers are almost always a safe choice for important interviews and meetings. This feminine option has a bit more personality than your everyday business blazer. Pair it with a contrasting patterned trouser, a simple tank and some neutral heels to complete the look.
Above is a second look that is a bit more serious than the first. If you are unsure about how your potential employer will react to bold colors or eccentric accessories, stick to a more neutral color palette with strong, structured pieces. However, dressing for a more serious environment does not mean you have to lose all of your trendy accessories. For example, in this outfit, there is a bold statement necklace and a leather pencil skirt by Club Monaco.
Fun Fact: If your budget is not allowing for trendy, of-the-moment pieces, don’t shy away from investing in a great leather pencil skirt for your work wardrobe. News from New York Fashion Week is that the leather trend will be sticking around through spring of 2013.
Finally, if it turns out that the company you are interviewing for is a more formal, conservative environment, you must look the part. In order to look professional and follow the dress code of the company, the best advice is to avoid flashy colors or unnecessary accessories. This does not mean that you have to forgo fashion completely. Instead, wear simple, sophisticated and sharp pieces. After you have created a serious and put-together look, feel free to add dainty accessories so that your potential employer can still get a feel for your personality.
No matter where your college career takes you, keep these “interview etiquette” tips in mind. First impressions are everything in the professional world, and you want to always make sure you are looking your best and dressing appropriately for the job you want. One of my favorite quotes to keep in mind whenever it comes time for an interview is, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” So, make sure to look the part!