How to Dress for a Job Interview Breakthrough

Job Interview Secrets

© Written By Jimmy Sweeney
President of CareerJimmy and Author of the new,
"Job Interview Secrets"

For many new job seekers, knowing how to dress for a job interview is one of the more nerve-wracking parts of trying to get the dream job. For these job seekers, many minutes and hours are spent looking at the options, laying out different outfits and even trying on and taking off outfits on the day of the interview. Over time, the question of what to wear becomes easier, but for the first couple of interviews it helps to have a few easy rules of thumb to go by. The simplest way to think about what to wear for a job interview is that you want to dress just a little better than anyone else in the office. For most offices, that means either a skirt with a suit jacket for women or for men, a suit and tie.

In both cases, however, knowing how to dress for the job interview often means knowing where the fine line is between stylish and flashy. When you go to a job interview, you never want to be so conservatively attired as to be seen as boring or dull. However, at the same time, the last thing you want is for your clothing to be so loud and noticeable that it takes attention away from your professional accomplishments. Most of the time that means sticking with the basic colors: white, blue, black, and pastels, with dashes of bright color reserved for accents like a tie or pocket square for men or a neck scarf for women. It also means keeping jewelry and personal decoration to an understated minimum for both men and women.

Other Thoughts on How to Dress for a Job Interview

Knowing how to dress for a job interview goes beyond the clothes that a candidate wears. Hairstyle, cologne, makeup, and every other element of one's appearance takes a part in the overall impression a candidate makes on the interviewers. In all these areas, the best bet is neatness, cleanliness, style, but nothing which draws too much attention. Just as in the question of clothing, the goal should be to be seen as professional, which means looking more or less like the other people already working for the company, but just a little more dressy. When in doubt, err on the side of being too conservative and formal than on the side of being too casual.

For some professions, the question of how to dress for a job interview is a bit more complicated. Some fields, such as advertising and design are considerably more creative and relaxed. For instance, if you were to apply for a job in the fashion industry, you would certainly not wear the same kind of outfit than an interview for a job in finance or law would require. In these cases, the answer to the question of what to wear falls more heavily on the applicant to find out for himself or herself. In those cases, you would want to ask someone who would know—such as an employee at the company. No matter how casual, flamboyant, stylish or creative the environment is, you would want to dress just a little bit nicer than the others who are already there. At the end of the day, you are, after all, the one who hopes to impress them.

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