While you may have had a weekend or part-time job before, your college years are usually when you begin perusing your chosen field and things get a bit more serious.
Between term times you may be seeking work experience and internships, preparing yourself for the job market after graduation.
Getting it right now will make things easier later.
So, what should you wear when you’re trying to make a good impression for your future career rather than spare cash for partying?
Here are our top tips …
1) What Do Existing Employees Wear?
Researching the company is job interview 101, but one aspect you might not consider is the dress code. What do existing employees wear?
Of course, a job interview is slightly different than being on the job itself, but if there is an overt policy to be casual and comfortable and this is adopted at all levels, you might not need to go overboard. Dress slightly better than the average employee and mention that you’ve read about their laid-back approach.
Likewise, if this is a super smart law firm, dress to the nines and try to get a bit of insight on whether there’s a preferred style—It might impress the right person.
2) What Do They Tell You?
Sometimes you will be informed what to wear, so make sure to pour over any letters or emails in case you missed this.
If it says casual, then don’t come in a full suit. However, casual does not necessarily mean the clothes you’d lounge around it at home or even socialize in.
For men, a blazer or sports coat and t-shirt, a buttoned-down shirt, or preppy sweater—all with slacks or chinos, work well.
Women have slightly more variety to choose from, but good casual options include skirts or trousers with a blouse, and you might also consider a blazer or cardigan.
Both should stick to darker solid colors rather than vibrant colors or wacky patterns. There are always exceptions, but you will probably know if you’re approaching a job of this nature.
3) Suits Are Standard
If you haven’t been told what to wear and you have no special insight, not much has changed about the general approach to job interview attire and it’s not as complicated as you might think.
Men should dress smartly in a suit and tie with proper shoes. You can go for a unique designer style, but don’t overdo it—this is a job interview, not an evening event.
You can’t go wrong with black, navy, or deep gray.
Women can go with either a skirt suit or pantsuit with a button-down shirt or blouse (again sticking to simple solid colors over wild patterns).
4) Get It Clean and Ironed
If your attire isn’t brand new make sure it is well cleaned and ironed properly. If you have yet to master how to iron shirts or hang suit jackets it doesn’t hurt to ask your parents or pull up the YouTube tutorials.
While it will show that you’ve at least tried, turning up all creased doesn’t inspire enthusiasm.
5) Be Clean and Groomed
Get a haircut, use some hair product, tame the beard or line the stubble; women don’t overdo the makeup and opt for simpler hairstyles like a ponytail or up-do; both avoid strong perfumes or cologne and make sure your breath is on point!
If you have problems with your appearance due to illness or an accident, you shouldn’t be discriminated against if it’s beyond your control, but equally, if there are things you can do for your own self-esteem that’s ok too.
For example, getting your teeth fixed is common and taking out a small dental loan is often seen as an investment in your self-improvement.
6) Tattoos and Jewellery
Society is certainly more forgiving of tattoos these days but unless stated otherwise, cover-up where you can.
Basic jewellery is fine, such as a watch, necklace, small hoops, or ear studs. Elaborate piercings, chains, and anything with spikes or that leave big holes should probably be avoided.
7) Turn off the Tech
Unless the interview calls for it, leave your tech behind or at least turn it off and put it away before the interview begins. You don’t want a phone going off or something making noises while you’re trying to explain what a focused person you are.
If you’re bringing a portfolio, have it printed out in a folder—interviewers don’t want to awkwardly have to look at your screen.
Job interviews are never as scary as they first seem. By following the above tips and using some common sense you should not have a problem with your appearance.
Recently been on an interview? Let us know what you wore and the approach you took in the comments below!