Dressing for Success

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Many job seekers under-estimate the importance of dressing well for an interview. It is an unfortunate fact that people are judged at first glance. A personís appearance will tell an employer if a job candidate is capable of handling the job and if they are professional enough to understand what is necessary for success. Job seekers are competing and they need the whole package: the right qualifications, a great resume, an effective interview, and an impressive first appearance (and a follow-up letter).

Many job seekers are new graduates or are trying to gain a better job. Dressing for success can be intimidating, but it can be done. There are some simple and easy hints for success.

Both Men and Women Should:
  1. Have a spotless, polished, and conservative look.
  2. Hair should be professional and well-groomed.
  3. All applicants need professional and conservative shoes.
  4. Clean teeth and fresh breath are critical.
  5. There should be no strong smelling perfumes/colognes, after shave, or scented lotions.
  6. Fingernails and toenails should be clean, trimmed, and women should have a conservative-colored polish.
  7. Both men and women should have a minimal amount of jewelry on. A classy and professional look is the goal.
  8. Obviously, ensure that body odor is not an issue. If you live in a hot environment you can always bring a small, travel-sized deodorant with you.
  9. There should be no gum, candy, items to chew, or tongue piercings during the interview.
  10. There should be, at most, one pair of earrings on and no other visible piercings. If men want to wear earrings they should be small and professional.
  11. Try to cover tattoos. Most of our society has changed their views on tattoos, but there are some who do not want tattoos presented at work.
Buying a professional wardrobe does not have to be expensive. Most of the department stores that have expensive clothing have great sales racks. There are discount department stores, such as TJ Maxx and Ross, that offer name-brand, professional clothes with inexpensive prices. Even Target and Walmart have a section for business clothes and these clothes were designed by famous clothing designers. You can also visit department store websites. They often offer a large amount of clearance clothing with low shipping charges. Affordable clothing is available and you can inexpensively dress for success.

What Women Need to Dress for Success
  • A solid-colored, conservative suit that can easily be changed with a different color blouse. A good suit will come with a jacket, pants, and skirt. This makes the suit versatile.
  • A professional blouse that blends well with the suit. By blending we do not mean the same color, but it should be as professional as the suit and the color should coordinate well.
  • Professional shoes with a low heel.
  • A minimal amount of jewelry; classy and professional is the goal.
  • A well-groomed, professional hairstyle
  • Skin-colored hosiery
  • A minimal amount of make-up. You do not want anything that distracts the interviewer from the conversation. Your skills should stand out above anything.
  • Manicured fingernails and toenails with a conservative-colored polish
  • Minimal amount of perfume and try to avoid strong smelling lotions.
  • A professional briefcase or portfolio
What Men Need to Dress for Success
  • A solid-colored, conservative suit
  • Clean shave
  • A long-sleeved shirt that matches well with the suit
  • A professional tie
  • Coordinating sock color; no crazy colors or styles
  • Professional, color-coordinated shoes
  • Minimal jewelry
  • Well-groomed, professional haircut
  • Minimal aftershave and/or cologne
  • Clean and trimmed fingernails
  • A professional briefcase or portfolio

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