It really is true what they say about first impressions. Not only are they more important than many of us want to believe, but you only have a few seconds to make the right one. What’s more, your choice in clothing often makes or breaks that impression before you’ve even had a chance to open your mouth.
That said, putting together an interview outfit that hits all the right notes could be one of the most important decisions you make when applying for your dream job. Keep the following tips in mind to ensure you’ll show up dressed to impress.
6 Interview Outfit Tips to Help Land Your Dream Job
1. Dress Appropriately for The Position
Your choice in interview outfits is your golden opportunity to show your potential employer just how perfect you are for the open position in question. That said, choose your ensemble with the industry, company, and the exact role you’ll be playing in mind. Applying for a position in finance? You can’t go wrong with a tailored black pantsuit and some sensible black pumps. Interviewing for a job in fashion or retail? Definitely still keep it professional, but look for ways to show you’re in step with current fashion trends as well.
If you’re not precisely sure how much room you have to play with personal style, always err on the conservative side, even if you’re applying someplace where the dress code is relatively casual. Dress down too much, and you risk looking like you aren’t serious about your career.
2. Let Your Accomplishments Do The Talking
Letting your choice in interview clothing show you’re in touch with current fashions is one thing. Showing up in clothing that’s distracting is another. You want to let your accomplishments speak for you, so the last thing you want is to show up in clothing that drowns out that message. There are lots of ways you can go wrong here, but the following are some common errors to make sure you avoid:
Clothing that’s too tight or revealing.
Open-toed shoes or sandals.
Anything in a loud color or pattern.
Not wearing stockings, hose, or socks.
3. Show Up in Colors That Flatter You
Of course, showing up in a well-tailored black suit is always the simplest, easiest way to make a great impression on a future employer. However, that hardly means basic black is your only acceptable option. You can definitely wear color so long as it’s a color that flatters you. For instance, if you know you look like a million dollars in chocolate brown, navy blue, or dove gray, by all means, wear that.
Not sure what your best colors are? Ask for a little insight from a personal stylist for their professional opinion. You can also use color to add a little pop and pizzazz to an otherwise no-nonsense ensemble. Try layering a pretty satin blouse in a shade like emerald or royal blue underneath your suit jacket for a little visual appeal or reaching for some stylish footwear.
4. Always Wear Clean, Pressed Clothing
There’s no such thing as paying too much attention to cleanliness and neatness when it comes to putting together a solid interview look. Make sure the suit, dress, or outfit is cleaned and pressed a couple of days before your appointment. If you don’t own an iron, either get one or be prepared to take a trip to your dry cleaner. If you land the job, you’ll need to maintain your professional wardrobe every day
Make sure you look neat and clean. Shower or bathe the morning of your interview. Wear deodorant, and take care to freshen your breath, but avoid applying cologne or perfume, as it’s easy for it to be too overpowering. Your hair should be clean, combed, and styled conservatively as well.
5. Understand That Details Matter
People don’t just look at the big picture when it comes to how you look and dress. They really do zero in on the little details as well, so you’ll want to make sure you cover all your bases. Start with your footwear. You might think that little scuff or a lack of polish wouldn’t really be that important, but it actually tells the interviewer a lot about you.
You’ll also want to pay attention to the quality of the items you wear, especially if you’re applying for a senior role or other high-ranking position. Choices like cheap suits and costume jewelry may not pay off in your favor. Again, everything you wear makes a statement about your personal standards so it’s best to wear quality pieces if you have them. Even if you’re on a budget, you can snag really good deals when items go on sale. Not only do better quality items look better, but they will last longer as well.
6. Make Sure Your Clothing Fits You Properly
Paying attention to how your clothes fit you is just as important as choosing the right outfit for an interview. Avoid items that are too tight or too loose. Jackets should button easily and comfortably, and suits should be tailored for the perfect fit. Even if you have a go-to interview ensemble that normally fits you like a glove, make sure you try it on first with plenty of time to spare so that you’re sure that it looks perfect. If it needs any adjustment, it doesn’t hurt to visit a tailor and have it adjusted before the big interview.
You’ll also want to make sure you’re dressing in a way that flatters your body type. Remember, you can always opt for a professional fitting or opinion if you’re really not sure what you look best in.
Since first impressions really matter, it’s important that you put together a polished look for any business interview. It may take a few extra steps, but the possibility of landing your dream job is well worth it!
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