When you prepare for your first interviews post-college, your fashion choices are every bit as important as preparing for the interview questions. One of the mistakes young women make in their careers is not dressing the part. When you’re straight out of school and starting your career, it’s essential to put your best fashion foot forward. Fashion is a reflection of your self-worth and of where you see yourself going in your career.
I am sure you’ve heard the term “dress for success.” This statement could not ring truer than the way you dress for an interview. By dressing like the winner you know you are, you are already ahead of the process. It is competitive in the job market, especially if you are just entering the workforce. Attire is one of the areas that can help you stand out from your peers.
It is true that appearance is not everything. Your knowledge is key for landing the position. Yet equally important is your demeanor and the way you present yourself visually. This is how you make your first impression. Your prospective employers will make judgments based on how you present yourself for the interview. Also, they will notice your confidence. All of this can help land you your dream job…or help it slip away.
Do your research on the business environment of the company where you’ll be interviewing. Think of yourself as an ambassador for the company while maintaining your personal brand. Show that if you worked for this company, you would always be presenting it in the best light.
Many business environments feature a “business casual” attire, but people often mistake this idea for dressing in a relaxed way. Your business attire is not meant to be the same attire you wear to the gym or the beach… or even on the weekend. Regardless of whether the company follows “business casual,” you should dress more formally than normal for an interview. You’ll have time later to learn the ins and outs of “business casual” in your new workplace. For the interview, I always remind everyone of the importance of the first impression. Here is the time that being over-dressed to a degree works in your favor. This is the time to look your best self professionally, yet not to go over the top.
Fashion Tips for Your Interview
Consider the type of business where you’ll be interviewing.
- For a corporate, legal or finance position, choose a conservative look even if they say business casual. I would suggest a crisp pant or skirt suit with a button-down shirt.
- For a marketing, PR or advertising position, you can dress similarly to a conservative corporate look, but perhaps add a pop of color through a sweater or blazer, or choose a non-intrusive print blouse. Perhaps pair your top with a pleated skirt.
- For both industries, dresses are always a winner. Choose a classic silhouette. You might wear a belted shirt-dress that is professional or a print or polka dot pattern. A dress shows style and fashion while still showing you mean business.
For any interview, follow these fashion tips:
- Fit is key to looking sharp. Your outfit should not look ill-fitting or slouchy. At the same time, it should have enough room so you can sit and walk comfortably in your look.