Getting ready for a job interview? Take a good hard look at your outfit. While preparing for the interview typically involves a lot of resume review and practicing lines, the clothes you choose to wear are just as important. Send the wrong impression, and you may just find yourself without an offer at the end of the day. Take the following factors into consideration before deciding what to wear.
Sticking to a dull palette of black, gray and brown isn't necessary for the interview, but don't go overboard. If you choose to accentuate your outfit with a bold color or pattern, limit it to one piece. For example, try a bright blue tie, but pair it with a white shirt and black slacks. A colorful, patterned blouse works great with a neutral skirt or pair of slacks. You want just a pop of color — not an entire outfit's worth.
Maybe it's been a while since you were in the market for a new job. If it's been a long time since you've pulled out the old interview suit, reconsider. Clothes that appear dated or no longer fit properly send the message that you're out of touch. Get your outfit professionally tailored, buy a new one, or borrow from a friend or family member.
A formal suit is not always the safest choice for the interview. "Wearing a blazer or tie at a startup could make you look stuffy," says Jaclyn Westlake, career adviser and founder of The Job Hop. "The whole point of an interview is to check if you're the right fit for each other." Prior to the interview, check out the company's blog and social media pages for ideas on what their employees wear to work, and choose an outfit that's just a bit dressier than the company's everyday dress code.
Your bag should match the tone of your outfit. A briefcase is fine when interviewing for a corporate position, but it might be too stuffy and formal for a casual startup or IT company. Choose a neutral bag that is big enough to stow a small notebook and a laptop and complements your interview outfit.
No matter what outfit you choose to wear, presentation matters. Your clothes should be clean, stain-free and neatly pressed or steamed. Button-up shirts should be tucked in, and pant hems should be the right length. Before you leave for the interview, check for rips, tears, stains and loose threads. Your scent is also important; avoid smoking, eating pungent food or spraying on too much perfume or cologne, as a strong smell can be distracting during the interview.
At the end of the day, the outfit you choose to wear for the interview should make you feel like the best version of you: comfortable, confident and professional. Once you decide what to wear, you can focus on the interview and making a stronger impression.
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