© Written By Jimmy Sweeney
President of CareerJimmy and Author of the new,
"Job Interview Secrets"
There have been many books written about the correct way to dress for a job interview. Thousands of red ties and dress shoes have been sold to prospective job seekers, on the premise that they will be just the items to impress an interviewer. Hundreds of interviewees have tried on a variety of shirts, blouses, slacks, skirts and ties on the morning of the big job interview. However, none of this is necessary. The secret to how to dress for a job interview is so simple that it shouldn't even be a secret. To be appropriately dressed for a job interview, find out how the people employed at the target company dress, and then go up one step from there.
This rule for how to dress for a job interview applies to all environments. Imagine a corporate law firm or investment banking house full of people wearing business suits. You would want to dress in a business suit, as well, complete with your most conservative tie if you are a man, or your most professional skirt and jacket combination, with minimal make-up and jewelry if you're a woman. In other words, dress in a similar way to those employed, but add an extra touch so you appear at your best. When you arrive, people in the company will know immediately that you "get it," that you understand what's expected at their organization. Consequently, they are able to pay attention to the more substantive elements you offer as a candidate. And because you fit in, you'll feel comfortable and can concentrate on giving your best interview performance.
This rule of how to dress for a job interview fits other environments as well. For instance, imagine that you are applying to a fashion design house, or a creative advertising agency as a copywriter. The other fashion designers and copywriters in the office probably aren't dressed like corporate attorneys. They may be wearing more imaginative, casual and flamboyant clothing to reflect their personalities. If you go in dressed to impress investment bankers, you are going to stand out. You will look like someone who doesn't understand the business and environment, will probably feel uncomfortable, and consequently will give a less than optimal interview performance.
To dress for a job interview like the other workers at the creative job, you would need to wear something more relaxed. However, if the workers wear jeans and tee-shirts, as many advertising employees do, that won't work either. So your best bet is to wear something in the middle––nice enough to show that you respect the workplace and the interview opportunity, but not so formal that you look like you came to the wrong organization. A good place to start is to ask people who have worked in that firm or that industry and get some guidance from them. If you're a man you can never go wrong if you wear a pair of slacks and a pastel shirt. And for women casual slacks and an attractive blouse or sweater also works in almost any work environment.
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