While a casual approach may work for some jobs, job applicants need to pay attention to the image they present to potential employers.
In doing “mock interviews” for a local college, I was greeted by an overwhelming number of graduating students who simply didn’t have a clue of how to dress for that crucial interview.
“It’s your first impression, and you have ten seconds to make it,” I said. “If you are wearing sneakers, if your pants sag, if your skirt is too short or too tight, if your keys are jingling off your belt loops, you have one foot out the door before you even start.”
Men should wear a clean pressed shirt and pants — at the very minimum — to any interview. Shoes, not sneakers, are the order of the day. The tie might be optional when applying for fast food and other service jobs. Women should be similarly dressed, wearing a well-pressed blouse, skirt or trousers, and neat shoes.
When applying for a professional position, a suit — for both men and women — is required. Women’s skirts should skim the knees; any shorter is not acceptable. Men need to wear a tie. Shoes should be clean and polished; sneakers are never a good choice. Keep accessories to a minimum. Keep your keys in your purse or pocket, not dangling from the waist. Your hair should be well cut and groomed. Your perfume or aftershave shouldn’t come in the room before you do.
The key word is keep it simple and classic. It is better to be overdressed than underdressed. Your desired job may depend on it.