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Dress For Success: Making a Good First Impression

Congratulations, you have a job interview! So now do everything you can to make the most of that opportunity. First impressions are very important, and the first impression you make on your prospective employer is vital. This starts the moment you walk in the office door—your demeanor, your attitude, your handshake, your speech, and, of course, your appearance. How you look and what you are wearing will speak volumes about you to your prospective employer, so it’s always important to dress professionally for a job interview, even if the work environment is casual. The candidate dressed in a suit and tie is going to make a much better impression than the candidate dressed in scruffy jeans and a t-shirt. It is always okay to overdress, but never acceptable to be underdressed.

Before going on an interview, make sure you have appropriate attire and everything fits correctly. Get your clothes ready the night before, polish your shoes, and be ready to go.

Here are some general guidelines for the proper attire for your job interview:

For Men:

  • Suit (solid color – navy or dark grey)
  • Long sleeve shirt (white or coordinated with the suit)
  • Belt
  • Tie
  • Dark socks, conservative leather shoes
  • Little or no jewelry
  • Neat, professional hairstyle
  • Limit the aftershave
  • Neatly trimmed nails
  • Portfolio or briefcase

For Women:

  • Suit (navy, black, or dark grey)
  • The suit skirt should be long enough so you can sit down comfortably
  • Coordinated blouse
  • Conservative shoes
  • Limited jewelry (no dangling earrings or arms full of bracelets)
  • Professional hairstyle
  • Neutral pantyhose
  • Light make-up and perfume
  • Neatly manicured, clean nails
  • Portfolio or briefcase

In addition to wardrobe, good first impressions are made through other factors. It is a good idea, for example, to bring a breath mint and use it before you enter the building, but do not chew gum. Hair should be clean and neat. If you have a lot of body piercings, leave them at home. Limit them to earrings only. If you have tattoos, cover them. Leave your cell phone in the car, and do not attend your job interview wearing an IPod, earphones, or other entertainment device. Do not walk in with can of soda or cup of coffee in your hand.

A good impression is a lasting impression. Make the most of your one opportunity to make a positive impact on your interviewer. Sit at the front of the chair do not lean back. Look the interviewer in the eye when answering questions. Ask questions about the company and the job itself, this shows you are interested.