Look the Part

Being the best you for an interview goes far beyond your speaking skills and resume. You also have to dress the part.
Last week when I sat down with Jill Smith, she stressed the importance of dressing professionally. You never want to over dress or under dress for any job interview.
“I had one intern candidate show up in a prom dress her mom helped her pick out. She had the works-makeup, heels, and a formal gown.” You NEVER want to be that person.
These are some visual tips to help you figure out what color works best, what’s appropriate and inappropriate and the best ways to put your best foot forward.
Color Choice
Many people pay little attention to the importance of their wardrobe color, but it plays a crucial role in the message you give off to prospective employers. This interactive chart from Hired My Way explains what your wardrobe color says:
Wardrobe Staples for Guys
As you start climbing the corporate ladder, you want to make sure you are building your wardrobe with staple pieces that will take you throughout your career. That means you can’t keep borrowing your dad’s suit (raise your hand if you’re guilty). Visit your local department store for a suit and depending on your height and weight you may need to get it tailored. A few pieces you want to include in your wardrobe for your interview are:
  • A Basic Suit- Make sure your suit is of good quality in terms of stitching and fabric. Once you’ve purchased a good suit, you may opt to get it tailored to fit you perfectly. You definitely don’t want your pants well over your ankle or covering the back of your shoe.
  • dress6Long Sleeved Dress Shirt- To start, you should purchase shirts in simple colors like white, light blue, or gray.
  • dress3Belt- Put aside your canvas belt or studded belt from college, purchase a leather belt in black or brown.
  • Tie- This is one of the few places a man can add a little pop of color to his wardrobe. The tie is the cherry on top for a great suit. Make sure you stay away from bright colors or patterns (like cartoon characters) when dressing for an interview. You don’t want your tie to be a distraction to what’s really important. Don’t know how to tie a tie? Don’t worry got we got you covered.
  • Socks- You are probably thinking, “well I have socks.” No, not your traditional gym sock or tube sock. You should invest in a few pairs of dress socks (tip: try to purchase a multi-pack with colors like black, blue, grey, and brown). Imagine crossing your leg in the waiting room, and your dingy gym sock is revealed under your suit.
  • Dress Shoe- You want to select a conservative style of shoe. Stay away from designs. Keep it simple with a black or dark brown shoe.
Wardrobe Staple for Girls
Ladies, many of the same rules apply, if not a few more. To build a versatile, professional wardrobe you want to incorporate suit basics that can be mixed and matched.
dress7Key tips to keep in mind when entering any professional setting, especially for the first time, keep the jewelry to a minimum. Many HR professionals will tell you that too many trinkets on your neck, wrists, and fingers can be a distraction during the interview process. If you decide to wear makeup or paint your nails, keep it light and natural-looking. Here are some things you should have in your wardrobe:
  • Pants Suit/Skirt Suit- Regardless of the one you decide, make sure you purchase a suit in a staple color (black,graynavy blue, or tan). These pieces can be mixed and matched to create different wardrobes for another day. When purchasing a skirt, try it on to make sure you can sit down comfortably without having to tug too much.
  • Blouse- To keep it simple, invest in a few Oxford shirts in standard colors like white or light blue. You should also try you shirt on and pull your arms back to ensure there are no gaps in between your buttons.
  • Accessories-If you need to wear accessories refrain from wearing hoop earrings. Keep it simple with a pair of stud earrings and a watch if necessary.
  • dress2Neutral pantyhose- If you plan to wear a skirt suit or dress to an interview wear pantyhose.
  • Dress Shoes- If you purchase new shoes for an interview, be sure tobreak them in and walk around in them before your interview. You don’t want to wobble or look uncomfortable if your interview location requires a lot of walking. You should also wear a black, brown, or navy blue shoe.
Happy shopping and good luck on your interview. Go be awesome on purpose!



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