Dressing for success may be an overused term these days but knowing how to physically show up for an interview is as important as what is on your resume. Having the ability to know the corporate culture and environment of a workplace also helps you figure out what to wear when you are called for an in person interview. Over dressing can be as deadly as under dressing when it comes to making a good first impression. How do you know what to choose that will work for you and not make you look like you are going to the opening of an Art Gallery or the Royal Ballet?
Understanding a corporate culture is as much about what the work environment is like as well as what is and is not appropriate to wear to work. In a day wear “flip flops” are the norm in some work places, knowing how to dress for your very first interview will either make or break your chances for the job.
When in doubt follow these few simple rules when it comes to dressing up:
- Tie or No Tie? For men, this can be a real challenge. Even in the most casual of work environments, wearing a tie can immediately signal that you are not the right type to work at a company. If you are looking to work in technology, a creative environment or production, wearing a tie may seem too formal or that you are over-dressed for the occasion. Make sure you bring a tie with you and check out the scene in the lobby. If it looks like there are a few folks wearing ties, then by all means, slip into the men’s room and put one on. If not, best to keep it in your back pocket for another interview.
- Hose or no panty hose? For woman, some people are blessed with great, tan legs others need a little help. Panty hose even in the hottest days signals that you are put together and dressed. These days woman are rarely expected to wear panty hose with any outfit. Whether you choose to wear a skirt, dress or pants to an interview, having a pair of hose handy might help if you notice the environment is more formal than you expected. If not, make sure the length of your skirt is fashionable and appropriate so it does not matter whether you are wearing hose or not.
- No Brainers: No matter what the situation here are a few items that are NEVER appropriate in any interview situation even if the work environment is casual, these include: Flip flops, barefoot, shorts, capris, cut offs, swim trunks, graphic tee shirts, wall art, short shorts, no bra, tank top, belly risers, body piercings, overly inked forearms, good luck talismans, overly accessorized, etc. You get the picture.
When in doubt if it makes noise, does not cover your body parts and is something you would not wear in front of your grandmother or church, best to switch it for something a bit mainstream. I’m not suggesting you change your look in order to get the job offer, but toning it down particularly if you have a “fashion flair” might be more suitable. You can whip out your wears AFTER you get the job offer!
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