Say goodbye to shorts, jeans and sandals. As you transition from college to the working world, it is time for some serious wardrobe updating. Especially as you prepare for job interviews, you are going to need clothes that make a good first impression with employers. You may want to put new clothes toward the top of your Christmas and graduation wish list during your senior year in college.
Here are some suggestions to guide your shopping.
Men’s clothing tips
•Buy a dress suit for job interviews. It should be a two-piece matched suit; a sport coat and contrasting slacks won’t do. An off-the-rack suit is fine; you don’t need a tailored suit, but stick to better-quality wools and other finer fabrics. Avoid polyester suits.
•Navy blue and dark gray are the best suit colors. Solid colors are fine, although subtle patterns are OK.
•Wear long-sleeve shirts, even in summer. White or light blue solid colors, or subtle patterns, are the best choices.
•For ties, keep patterns conservative. Silk ties are the best. Avoid fads and “message” ties and NEVER wear clip-on ties. If you don’t know, learn how to properly tie a tie before the day of the job interview.
•Favor dark color, solid, mid-calf length socks that match your suit and don’t show any bare leg.
•Shoes: You will need well-polished, clean leather dress shoes with good soles and heels. As for colors, you can’t beat black.
•Your belt should be leather and should include a conservative buckle. The color should match your dress shoes, which probably means a black leather belt.
•The only acceptable jewelry for men are conservative rings and watches. No earrings, nose rings or necklaces. Period.
•All clothes must be clean, creased and well ironed. Once again, don’t wait until the day of the interview. Plan ahead.
Women’s clothing tips
There are many more variables for how women should dress for job interviews and on the job. There are also more potential traps and mistakes. So consider the tips below as just a start and adjust them accordingly. Remember, you want to be taken seriously and make the right impression. Your choice of clothes can go a long way toward helping you make the impression you want.
•Two-piece matched suits are best for job interviews, business meetings and for more conservative office environments.
•Tailored pants suits are acceptable in most industries, but check ahead if in doubt.
•Suit colors are more flexible than for men; black, dark or medium blue, dark or light gray or brown are usually acceptable.
•Skirts must cover thighs when seated. Knee-length when standing skirts look best. Skirts should not be too narrow or too tight. Avoid high slits.
•It should go without saying, but after-hours and party wear are not suitable for job interviews or the office.
•As for shirts and sweaters, tailored blouses in conservative contrasting color, or knit shell look nice. Don’t show cleavage; if in doubt about a particular outfit, ask a parent or trusted older friend for a second opinion. Avoid sheer fabrics.
•Keep jewelry and hairstyles simple.
•Be conservative with cosmetics and perfumes. A little is OK but avoid extremes such as long or brightly colored finger nails.
•Wear leather, closed-toe pumps. No high heels.
•Select a purse that is small and simple. Leather is best, but micro fibers and fine wovens are OK.
Grooming and hygiene tips
•Arrive early for a job interview to allow time to freshen up prior to our interview.
•Shoes, fingernails and hands must all be clean.
•Perfumes and colognes should be used sparingly if at all. Men should avoid them.
•Check clothes for hanging tags, lint and missing buttons.
•Check your teeth and your breath. It is best not to eat just before a job interview, but if you do get to a bathroom afterwards to give your teeth a good check. Carry breath mints or sprays with you.