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How to Dress Up for a Job Interview

Regardless of the occasion, appropriate dressing is important because first impressions will be formed based on how you look and what you are wearing. So, what is the best way to dress for a job interview? The answer will differ depending on the job and the company you're interviewing with. For a job interview, the outfit you wear will depend on whether you're interviewing at a formal company with a formal dress code, at a casual startup, or for an informal summer job or internship. For example, wearing a suit to an interview for a truck driver or a logo T-shirt to an interview for a bank will send the message that you don't fully understand the roles of the position.

First and foremost, learn about the dress code of the company that you’re interviewing for. Next, learn what to wear (and what not to wear) for interviews at various types of businesses:

What to wear for a business/professional job interview

What to wear for a business/professional job interview

What to wear to a professional/business job interview

A job interview typically requires you to dress professionally, or in business attire. Men may wear a suit jacket and slacks with a shirt and tie or a sweater and button-down. A blouse and dress pants or a statement dress is appropriate for women.

You can also incorporate some current fashion trends into your ensemble. When choosing an interview outfit, all interviewees should consider colour and avoid wearing anything too bright or flashy that will distract the hiring manager. The most crucial thing to remember when dressing up for a job interview is to look professional and polished regardless of the position you're applying for.

Although your interview attire will need to vary depending on the position you're applying for, you should arrive at the interview looking neat, tidy, and well-dressed. Make sure that your outfit is free of stains, animal furs and is well-pressed.

Dressing for non-professional or business casual interviews

Smart casual dressing for men

Smart casual dressing for men

Smart casual dressing for women

Smart casual dressing for women

If you have a job interview in a more casual work environment, you may want to dress in business casual attire. Business casual attire is less formal than a suit, but it is also more professional and polished than a T-shirt and shorts or a sundress and sandals.

Of course, before assuming that business casual is acceptable, make sure you understand the dress code. If you are unsure, call the office and speak with the administrative coordinator, or contact the person who scheduled the interview and seek advice.

Always dress a little more professionally than the average company employee. If everyone else is wearing shorts and T-shirts, you could wear khakis and a Polo shirt or a button-down short sleeved shirt.

Dressing for casual interviews

If you have an interview at a startup company, avoid wearing all-black formal business attire. You want to appear appropriate and professional, but not overly so. Rather than wearing a black suit and dress shoes, opt for something more relaxed but still presentable, such as relaxed-fit khakis, dark-wash jeans, and a suitable top.

Dressing up for college/university internship interviews

When interviewing for a professional job or internship as a college student, dress professionally. It will demonstrate that if you are hired, you will know how to behave professionally.

When interviewing for campus jobs and more casual workplace jobs, less formal attire is acceptable. However, even if the position is entry-level, you should still dress professionally. Examine these tips for college women and men on what to wear to an interview, as well as what to wear for an internship interview.

Internships are an important part of career development, and as with any job, nailing your interview is a big part of getting the job. When it comes to your internship search, making a good first impression -- appearing polished, professional, and attentive -- is critical.

What NOT to wear on an interview

Finally, regardless of how formal or informal the workplace is, let's go over what you should not wear to an interview. In a job interview, your goal is to make a good first impression, and how you dress influences how others perceive you. Avoid the following to ensure you look your best:

  • Thongs and other sandals with open toes

  • Athletic footwear

  • Shirts or tank tops with thin straps

  • Shorts

  • Underwear that protrudes from your clothing (This could include the top of your boxers, briefs, etc. peeking from the top of your pants or skirt, or visible bra straps.)

  • Skirts or dresses that are too short for the workplace (you can test this by standing and placing your arms straight down your sides. If the hem of your skirt is shorter than the tips of your fingers, you should consider getting a longer one)

  • Shirts with excessively low necklines or that expose your stomach Perfume or cologne (While you should smell clean, some scents are offensive to some people.) Smells can be distracting in a small meeting room)

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