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How you dress for a job interview matters

The interview for your job is tomorrow and the butterflies are fluttering in your stomach. You are confident that this interview will result in a job offer and want to ensure you make a good visual impression to work with your great resume. How you dress for the in-person interview can be an important part of the first impression as it often reflects your respect for the interviewer, the company and yourself. • Your attire often signals to the prospective employer how sincere you are about wanting the job and your values and attitude. Unless the prospective employer tells you otherwise, dress in your "Sunday best" clothes. You should never have to apologize for how you are dressed. Sloppiness sends a clear message that work may not be your top priority. Make your appearance either a neutral or positive factor in the interview, never a negative. • We have seen our fair share of interviews start poorly because of inappropriate dress. You just don't get a second chance to make that first impression a good one. • So what do you wear to ensure you send the right message about you?


• For an office position, dark-colored, two-piece (single breasted) business suit. Clean and pressed. Ensure the suit fits well.

• No lapel pins supporting controversial causes or addressing political issues.

• Solid white or light-colored long-sleeve shirt. Clean and ironed. Cuff links are optional.

• Simple necktie. No loud colors or bold patterns. Avoid clip-on or bow tie.

• For a field or general labor position, wear a long-sleeved, solid color shirt and slacks. No jeans.

• Dark-colored leather shoes that match your suit or slacks. Clean and polished. Soles in good condition.

• Socks that match your pants. No holes or snags.

• Belt that matches color of shoes. No gaudy or large belt buckles.

• Fresh haircut. Comb your hair before you enter the interview.

• Fingernails clean and clipped.

• No or minimal cologne or aftershave.

• Wristwatch and simple ring. No expensive or flashy jewelry, bracelets, rubber bands or earrings.

• Cover exposed tattoos with a bandage, if possible.


• For an office position, a dark-colored, two-piece business suit. Clean and pressed. Don't wear tight-fitting clothing.

• Skirt suits are preferred and skirts should be no more than 2 inches above the knee. Avoid culottes or form-fitting pants.

• White or light-colored long-sleeve blouse or sweater with a conservative neckline. Scarf is optional.

• Simple, closed-toed shoes with low to medium heels. Avoid metal taps on heels.

• Skin-colored hosiery.

• For a field or general labor position, long sleeved, solid color blouse and skirt or slacks. No jeans or tight-fitting clothing.

• Minimal make-up.

• Simple earrings. No dangles or multiple earrings.

• Well-groomed hair.

• Nails polished and appropriate.

• No or minimal perfume or cologne.

• No additional rings, bracelets, necklaces or piercing jewelry. Jangling bracelets are distracting to the interview.

• Cover tattoos with a bandage, if possible.

• Carry a small purse containing only basic needs.

Money saving tip

If you find that your wardrobe closet is lacking an appropriate outfit for the interview, try a local consignment shop or charity organization thrift store. They often have clean, fashionable outfits at very reasonable prices.

And don't forget... wear a smile. People like friendly people. No one wants to work with a grouch.

David Coreen is president and CEO, and Robert Belluci is managing director and partner of Davron Staffing. The Tampa-based firm recruits executives and technical experts in engineering, architecture, geology, finance and accounting, information technology and related technical support to meet their local, national and international client companies' needs. Go to for more information.

How you dress for a job interview matters 07/17/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 1:15pm]
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