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Dressing Up For Your Job Interview

Whether you are a new graduate embarking on a career, a student applying for a part-time job or someone looking for the next big thing, getting ready for a job interview can be stressful because often times, the ideal look eludes us. And no matter how unfair you may think it is, your image “says” something about you even before you speak a word.



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Dressing Up For Your Job Interview
Posted on June 5, 2012

Costumes are the first impression that you have of the character before they open their mouth-it really does establish who they are ... Colleen Atwood

Whether you are a new graduate embarking on a career, a student applying for a part-time job or someone looking for the next big thing, getting ready for a job interview can be stressful because often times, the ideal look eludes us. And no matter how unfair you may think it is, your image “says” something about you even before you speak a word.

Like your resume, clothes make a strong statement about you. In fact, the first judgment an interviewer will make will be based on what you are wearing and then your resume.

Simply put, you must pay attention to your image during an employment interview because you want the hiring manager to get a good perception of you and not be distracted by what you are wearing. Let your talent and personality get noticed – not your clothes!

While dress code remains casual for certain industries in the Philippines, it is a totally different world out there. And it is always better to err on the side of conservatism and be dressed too formally than too casually. Moreover, though many companies have relaxed the dress code for their employees, interviews still follow the conservative trend.

Neither is there a need for you to buy a new wardrobe. One or two quality business suits should serve you well until you get your first pay check. Your friends or family will not fault you for wearing the same nice outfit for every interview. However if you need variety, you may want to consider just buying another shirt or blouse or other accessories without having to break out the piggy bank.

If you need a quick review of basic professional dress code, try these guidelines for a successful interview wardrobe:

  • Know the company you will be interviewing with and familiarize yourself with the universal dress code. If you have a friend or relative who works there, this is the time for you to ask an opinion. You can carry it a bit further by calling the receptionist and ask what the appropriate dress would be for the interview. It is better to be thought lacking in social polish than making a mistake that could sabotage your job prospects.
  • When in doubt, the rule of thumb is to keep your style subtle to project a business-like appearance. So while you know that your new denims or mini-skirt fit you like the proverbial glove, leave these in your closet. Dressing for a night out will definitely leave an impression on the hiring manager – but not one that you hoped to leave!
  • Consider the job's location. If you are going to apply in a mall, it may be safe to wear dress slacks and a nice sweater and shirt (for men) or blouse (for women). If you will be interviewed at a corporate office, the rule for men and women is to wear a conservative business suit in navy, black or dark grey. Men must wear a tie while women can wear a silk scarf.
  • An office may be informal so pantsuit with a sweater or blouse (for women) and slacks with a clean, ironed button-down shirt, a belt and leather loafers (for men) would be appropriate for an informal office.
  • And a note on your shoes. Women can choose between closed-toe shoes, pumps and loafers. Men should stay away from rubber shoes. Whatever the office though, wearing hosiery in a neutral color is a must. If you are wearing a belt, do match the color of your belt to your shoes. And, wear black shoes if your clothes are of darker colors. Dark brown footwear can be worn if your clothes are shades of brown or muted pastels and clothes of a medium tone. Your interview day is definitely not the time to break in a new pair of shoes. Remember, you may have to walk a long way to get to the office of the interviewer so make sure your footwear is comfortable.
  • Limited jewelry (no dangling earrings or arms full of bracelets). And if you have to wear jewelry, remember that no jewelry is better than cheap jewelry. Multiple earrings, piercings should likewise be left at home were they don’t distract your interviewer.
  • It is also better to wear light, subtle perfume or aftershave. After all, the key here is to spend more time with the interviewer. If the scent you wear overpowers your interviewer, you may find yourself out of the office in short order without even having the chance of creating a good impression.
  • A professional hairdo that is tidy and neatly styled. It goes without saying that curls on the top of your head, a lá Grecian mode is distracting as much as mohawks, glittery headbands and well ... you get the gist.

In short, you should be pressed and polished for an interview. Research shows that 55% of someone’s overall impression of you is based on how you look. There is an upside to being well dressed as well. You project an air of confidence and being interested in the job. And that is something every interviewer will always be impressed about.

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