First Impressions: How to Dress for Your Dream Job

“Dress to Impress” “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.” These are just a few phrases that everyone has heard at least once in their life from a parent or another adult figure before a big interview or job fair. Does anyone know what it really means? For me it meant being overdressed in a dress and flats for my first interview at a fast food restaurant. Now that I’m at the halfway point in my collegiate career, I find that more and more people I’ve come across never learned the art of looking professional.

When you go to an interview, the interviewer can make up their mind within the first 30 seconds of meeting you based on how you present yourself. As much as we’d like to dazzle them with just our three-page resume and 600 extracurricular activities, if you can’t make a standing first impression they’ll give the job to someone who did.

Since I never want to see that happen, here are a few tips and tricks on how dress for your dream job and make a lasting impression.

Less is more…

Yes, the goal is to throw on that power suit and run the world, but the thing to remember is you’re presenting yourself not the outfit. Keep the pieces simple and try to eliminate too many bright colors and crazy patterns. The key to this is to have small statement pieces like a necklace, statement shoe, or a simple patterned shirt/pant. It’s also good to keep in mind that if you do decide to go for a heel, you should keep it 3 inches or shorter for two reasons: A) you might break your ankle walking, which would not be the most graceful moment, and B) it gives you a polished look without going overboard.

Just because you put a blazer over it, does not make it business appropriate…

I have seen so many women throw a blazer over short, tight fitted dress and call it a professional look. Please just don’t. If you can take your blazer off and be able to go straight to the club then that is not a dress you should be wearing in a professional setting. For an appropriate business dress, it should fit the shape of your body without clinging to you and the length should follow the credit card rule, which is: if you place a credit card long ways at the top of your knee the dress or skirt, at its shortest, should come to the top of the card.


Be confident in yourself and your abilities. Hold your head up high and walk with the knowledge that you can change the world because you are a wonderful, unique (and stylish) individual who can do anything you set your mind to!