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The Job Search: Dress to Impress

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Your appearance can have a big impact on the overall impression you give at your first in-person interview.

Although we touched on dress in the previous post on interviewing, it can be such an important part of the job search process that it deserves a little more attention. Since you want to send a positive and professional message, you should make it a priority to plan out the outfit and accessories you will wear to the interview. For some help, check out some tips on how you can achieve a professional look below:

Clothes & Accessories

A job interview is an instance where your clothing and accessory choices can matter a great deal. Knowing the culture of the industry to which you’re applying is helpful when putting an interview outfit together. For example, business professional attire is typically a good option for an industry like healthcare or finance, while less formal clothing options may be suitable for a career in design or programming.  If you are unsure of the culture, it’s usually a good idea to stick with business formal or dressed-up business casual attire. When in doubt, dress up rather than down.

Generally, it is also a good idea to follow the “less-is-more” rule, which includes keeping accessories simple and patterns small. Distracting patterns and statement pieces – unless industry appropriate – can take away from you and the great things you’re saying.

As always, ensure you’re in clean and unwrinkled clothes and avoid anything too tight or ill-fitting – it can distract and may not help you put your best foot forward!


Not only can your shoe choices impact the look of your outfit, but they can also impact your comfort during the interview. This is why it is important to select appropriate and comfortable shoes. Anything that is uncomfortable, even if it looks good, might not be the best choice because it can distract you from the talking points you prepared.

In most instances it is best to avoid sandals because they are too casual. Platform shoes and stilettos should also be avoided, as they are not professional. Keep in mind that your fanciest shoes may not be the best choice either. Instead, opt for shoes that have a classic style and are neutral in color.

General Appearance

This may seem obvious, but always be well groomed for job interviews. This is probably not the ideal time to try out something new, so stick with your routine and what you know.  Trimmed facial hair, as well as clean and appropriately styled hair are necessary. If you wear makeup, consider the industry and make sure your choice is appropriate. Avoid strong perfume and cologne as well as hats and anything with logos.

Keep It Professional

It’s great to show your personality in an interview, but remember that interviews are always professional interactions and your dress and appearance should reflect that. Although the appropriate attire may vary from industry to industry, these guidelines are a starting point for making a good first impression. Use your resources, be comfortable and you will shine through!

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