Interviews can be terrifying, especially if you walk in feeling underdressed. Thankfully, Katharine Brooks, director of the liberal arts career service, has provided some general insight into what to shoot for when flicking through your closet. On the Dress for Success page utexas.edu/cola/orgs/lacs, she includes these standard tips:
1. Keep in mind what you’re applying for and dress appropriately. By taking the initiative to dress the way you would as an employee, you are showing the interviewer that you are serious about the job. If you’re unsure about what to wear, just go with professional dress. Better to be the best dressed than the worst.
2. Err on the conservative side. Avoid too much jewelry, make-up and especially cleavage. Also, don’t overdo it. It’s best not to wear perfume or cologne because the interviewer may have an allergy. If you really want it though, just go with one spritz.
3. Ladies: Go with a dark pencil skirt or dark slacks, a white long-sleeved button up blouse, closed-toed heels and a matching blazer to look clean and polished. If wearing a skirt, make sure that it comes to your knees while standing, and, Brooks suggests to wear hose underneath. Avoid open-toed and brightly colored heels and don’t go higher than 2 ½ inches. Keep your hair out of your face and stick to light make-up and clear, polished nails.
4. Gents: You can’t go wrong with a suit when heading into a serious interview. Go with a black or charcoal gray suit, a white button up shirt, some black dress shoes (DO NOT wear white socks!) and a simple black tie. Keep all hair short and well-groomed.
5. Don’t allow yourself to be confused by the term “business casual.” According to Brooks, it is a lot like business professional but you have a little more leeway with fabrics and color. Don’t go overboard with shades, unless of course the job you’re applying for is more lenient on creativity.
First impressions are important in an interview, but try not to get stressed over your clothes. If you’re still unsure about what to wear, check out the business’ website. Sometimes they’ll post expected interview attire. Overall, it’s you that they are hiring, not your clothes. Good luck!