Do you think applying for a casual job means that you don’t need to dress up? Think again. No matter what job you apply for, your appearance can get you ahead in the job market and set you apart from other candidates.
If you’re new to job interviews or you’re back in the job circuit after some time, it’s good to read up on the basics dos and don’ts of dressing for job interviews.
• Wear a matching two piece suit in basic black, dark gray or dark navy to any job at a formal industry.
• Always wear a coat and tie. It gives you a professional finish that you just can’t beat.
• If the company you are applying specifically asks you to wear casual attire, try wearing carefully pressed slacks and a button-down shirt. Wear leather loafers and don’t forget a belt!
• Wear a long-sleeved dress shirt to your interview, even in the summer. For the most conservative settings, you can wear white, blue, or subtly striped shirts.
• Wear a shirt that has been ironed very well. Pay special attention to the collars and cuffs.
• Find a tie in a solid color or with small, understated patterns.
• Even if you are applying at a company that emphasizes creativity, never wear a tie that has cartoons or sports logos on it.
The Shoes & the Accessories
• Match your belt to the color of your shoes. Choose black if your outfit is made up of navys, browns, dark grays or black. Choose dark brown if you will be wearing tans, muted pastels, or medium tones.
• Wear dark socks that are high enough not to show skin when you sit down.
• Carry professional accessories like a leather-bound portfolio or a polished attaché case.
• Use caution with your cologne. If you insist on wearing some, use half as much as your normally do.
Tips on Dressing for Interviews
There is some wiggle room for your job interview garb—but only within reason. Think about the job you are applying for and what kind of daily dress you are expected to wear. If you are applying to a bank or a law firm, your suit will expected to be highly conservative. Be sure that you carry a briefcase and that your nails are clean.
If you apply to a restaurant, advertising agency, school, or Internet company, you can express more personality in your dress. You can wear a tie in a slightly more unique pattern or a pair of interesting cufflinks or a contrasting pocket square. For those applying for jobs in the arts, you have even more opportunities to experiment with interview looks. Try a contrasting striped shirt and tie or a bright and bold tie if you will work in an artistic, casual environment.
Research the company before you go to the interview. This can help you guide your interview wardrobe, especially if you’re lucky enough to get on a website with photos of the staff to see what they regularly wear. No matter where you have your interview, it’s in your best interest to dress the best you can.