Secrets of Knowing What to Wear to a Job Interview

Job Interview Secrets

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

What to wear to a job interview is less of a list, than it is an exhortation to consider and learn what is appropriate for yourself. Though there will be different dress standards by industry and by position, in general a good rule is to dress one notch up from the rest of the office staff. A job interview is an occasion where you would much rather be overdressed than underdressed. Does that mean you need to show up in a tuxedo or even a three-piece suit? No. But it does typically involve a professional pantsuit or skirt and jacket for women and a two-piece suit, with tie, for men.

When in doubt as to what to wear to a job interview, opt for those choices. Additionally, as a general rule for most professional interviews, the best idea is to keep your appearance subtle so as to let your personality be the most noticeable thing about you. For men, this means to wear shirts that are light colored (white's always a safe bet) and keep the jewelry to a bare minimum of a single ring and a classy metal watch. For both men and women, it goes without saying that your hair should be conservatively styled and neither should wear a noticeable amount of scent. Women's makeup should be subtle, and no clothing should be too tight, too short, or revealing.

Some Exceptions To What to Wear to a Job Interview

In more creative fields, the requirements of what to wear to a job interview might be a trifle different. If you were applying for a position in a design firm, or at a trendy ad agency, showing up in a suit might make you appear to be too staid and conventional to fit in. In that case, lean toward a bit more informal, stylish and individual in your attire. Find out what's appropriate by talking to some people before you go in, either through your personal network or simply coming out and asking whoever invited you to the interview. Even in an industry like that, however, you would want to be a bit more dressed up than the people already working there. If they wear worn out jeans, you should wear new ones for instance.

If you get what to wear to a job interview wrong, and show up completely inappropriately dressed, don't sweat it. If you can answer the questions in a poised and intelligent way, you still have a good chance to get the job. As a matter of fact, your different attire might help you stand out in the interviewer's mind when he or she thinks about you later. It might be a bit of a negative, so you don't want to use inappropriate attire as an attention-getting stunt. But at the very least you won't be easily forgotten, which could work in your favor.

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