When I think about preparing for an interview, I typically think about what questions I will be asked and how I want to answer them. I spend a lot of time researching the company and rehearsing my pitch for why I’m the best candidate for the job. All of this is important to do, and I recommend you do as much of this kind of preparation as possible. But, part of how you present yourself includes what you’re wearing. For better or worse, your interview outfit matters. Here are a few tips to remember when dressing for an interview.
Wear Something Office- Appropriate
This seems like an obvious one, but what is appropriate is going to vary quite a bit depending on where you’re interviewing. For instance, if you’re interviewing with a large corporation or law firm, you should wear a suit since these environments tend to be more formal. However, if you’re interviewing with a tech start-up, it’s probably OK to wear something a bit more casual. Still, I always recommend erring on the side of formality. This is, after all, is your chance to make a stellar first impression. For me, this means that no matter how casual the workplace, never show up to an interview in jeans. Or even worse, any kind of leggings. For causal or semi-casual workplaces, a pair of well-fitted pants, top, and blazer will help you look professional without looking over the top or out of place.
Look Neat and Polished
When you show up to an interview looking neat and clean, you’re letting your potential employer know that you care enough to make an effort. Make sure that everything your wearing is clean and wrinkle-free. Anything with holes or stains should stay home. The same goes for anything too baggy, too tight, or too short. Based on experience, I recommend carrying a bottle of clear nail polish or an extra pair of pantyhose or tights in your bag in case you hit a snag on your way to your interview. And don’t neglect your nails! Spending a few extra minutes filing and buffing your nails is well worth the effort since you will probably be shaking a lot of hands. To avoid a hurried morning, do all of these things the night before. That way, the day of your interview you’ll be ready to go.
Choose Your Accessories Wisely
Every woman knows accessories can make or break an outfit. For an interview, it’s important to choose your accessories wisely. In formal environments, I would shy away from anything too flashy. But that doesn’t mean you need to be boring. A sleek suit with a bold bag can make a nice statement. If you’re interviewing for a more casual or creative role, a fun statement necklace or bright scarf can really make your outfit pop and show off your personality. I would also invest in a portfolio folder to keep extra copies of your resume, a note pad to take down important notes, and a business card holder to collect the cards of everyone you meet. This will be helpful later when you’re sending out your thank you e-mails.
These are just a few ways that you can put your best foot forward when interviewing for your dream job. What are some of the ways you prepare for an interview?