There is an old saying  “Dress for the job you want.” Everyone has probably heard it before, and it couldn’t be more exact. Being on point with your physical appearance is one of the classic ways to send a strong message without having to open your mouth. Even if you are abstaining, you are still communicating a message to those who are looking.

When heading out to a job interview, it is essential to be aware of what you are saying with your physical presence. Understanding this will help you avoid some big interview fashion blunders.


Good Grooming Gone Bad

You have been hearing it from your mother since you were five years old. “You better scrub behind your ears, brush your teeth, trim your nails” etc. These are great habits and their importance goes double for a job interview.

To draw a parallel to having an interview, think of it as finally scoring a date with the person you have been chasing. Chances are you would get your hair cut (or colored), put on your best new clothes, and spend a good amount of time making sure everything is trim and clean.

The same is true for an interview. If you show up and have a haircut that is over a week old, noticeably unkept nails, or bags under your eyes that makes it look like you and Courtney Love are besties, you are not sending a positive message.

Showing up well-groomed conveys a strong impression of self-assurance and pride. You are an adult. You can take care of the things that you need too when you need to. This creates an excellent foundation to build from.

Be careful of overdoing it. Going back to the date example, romance has nothing to do with business. While smelling like a million bucks out on a date is beneficial, leave all but the faintest perfumes and colognes at home in the date night drawer. The last thing you want to do is trigger your interviewer because you smell like their recent Ex, or overpower the room with your scent.

The same thing is true for hair and makeup. Clean, neat and professional. This way you are sending the message that you are on top of your responsibilities and can be trusted to handle the company’s as well.


Dress for the Job You Want.

The standards for what is acceptable to wear for an interview can change depending on the profession and the company. Men can never go wrong with a clean shave, a good business suit and good clean shoes. For women, slacks, blouse, sensible shoes and the optional blazer work everywhere. Everyone should have at least one professional outfit clean, pressed and ready to go at all times.

If you happen to be interviewing at a law firm, (one of the most traditional places to work) you don’t show up in a suit with a superhero tie, bacon & egg dress socks, while wearing a white 56-millimeter knockoff timepiece. Want to become a lawyer? Dress like a lawyer.

On the flip side, jobs in the tech industry can be more relaxed. That doesn’t mean you can show up in pajama pants (well, maybe at a pajama pants start-up). It just means that that superhero tie and the bacon and eggs sock could work there. But guys, always wear a jacket or a blazer! Take a page from Dr. House… Jeans, a band T-shirt and a clean blazer over the top. Make it look like you care, even if it’s just to appease the oppressive hospital administrator.


Final Notes

Still not sure of what to wear? Go undercover (or use the internet). Every job has a uniform. Seek out people who work in the industry you are aspiring to join and go shopping. If you can’t afford the newest and best, hit up a thrift shop. They have racks and racks of professional clothes for pennies on the dollar.

Want to go the extra mile? Find a tailor! Never underestimate the power of the right cut. Most clothes for the western world are cut… we’ll just say, with a tad bit of extra room in the midsection. A tailer can make that $25 shirt or blouse look like a $60 designer cut. Well worth the money. 

Put all that together, and you’ll be right at home walking into that interview dressed for success. The rest is up to your qualifications and what you say. Go get em’ tiger!20th


Article updated from origina on February 20th, 2019