Dress for Success by Claire Chouinard

Dressing for an interview can be really tough. A few years ago I decided to get a second job at Ulta Beauty. I consider it to be a pretty trendy place, so when I went in for the interview I wore a black and white printed dress, a royal blue blazer, open-toe shoes, and no pantyhose. Thinking back now I’m totally mortified – and a little curious why they even hired me. Now that I’ve been through a few more interviews and career fairs I can help make sure no one else makes my mistakes!

General Rules:
• Dress one or two levels up from the job or internship you are interviewing for. If the company is usually business casual bring your outfit up a step by wearing a jacket or blazer.
• Iron your clothes! Never EVER go into an interview with wrinkled clothes.
• Don’t be too trendy. You can show your personal style when you get the job, but stick to a conservative outfit for the interview.
• No perfume or cologne.
• Make sure you have fresh breath!
• Make sure you are comfortable in whatever you choose to wear. It will affect your performance if you’re not.
• ALWAYS overdress rather than under dress. As Oscar Wilde said: “You can never be overdressed or over educated.”
• Technically a suit is not required, but personally I always think a man looks more professional in a suit rather than slacks and a dress shirt.
• Your socks should match your pants, not your shoes. I had to Google this one. It’s a rule that I can never seem to remember, but it’s an important rule! Also, your shoes should match your belt.
• You should have a dark colored suit (black, navy, gray) with a light colored shirt underneath.
• You can add a little color with your tie. I would stay away from patterns or bold colors. Also, make sure your tie is nicely tied. You don’t want it too long, too short, or crooked. Ask for help if necessary!
• Some people say you need to be clean-shaven for an interview. I’ve seen some guys that look ten years younger when they shave and they don’t like losing the look of their maturity. I’d say if you want to have facial hair that’s fine, but make sure it’s trimmed and well groomed.
• Carry your resumes and personal items in a briefcase.
• Pant or skirt suit in dark colors (black, navy, gray) is preferred. A dress is okay if it is professional and you wear a jacket with it.
• Dress modest. No cleavage, skirt should be at knee length, and definitely wear pantyhose.
• Close-toe shoes look way more professional than open-toe shoes. If you are going to wear a heel make sure it’s low.
• No bling on anything! There is a time and place for sequins.
• Be careful about jewelry. You don’t want any statement jewelry or anything that makes a lot of noise. Stick to a simple ring, necklace, or bracelet.
• Stick to natural makeup.
• Hair can be up or down; it just needs to be polished. I hate wearing my hair up, so for interviews and career fairs I always make sure it’s tucked behind my ears and not falling in my face.
• Don’t carry a big purse. A small clutch is okay, but try to bring a briefcase instead.

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