Winter is fast approaching and dressing appropriately for the weather is a must (especially in Michigan). What you wear is the first thing that a potential employer notices and it’s important to make a good first impression. In many cases, it can be the difference between landing that job and just being another person in the candidate pool. Having trouble deciding on what is appropriate to wear to that important interview when its below zero out? Below are a few tips to keep in mind.
Dress for the job you want and do your research
Depending on what and where you are interviewing, dressing for the job you want to land is important. The outfit you would wear in a corporate finance department might be very different than how you would dress to that cool startup. While personality and skills rank high on the list, your appearance will be the first thing your interviewer notices. Research the company you will be interviewing with and find out what their company culture is all about. Do they wear jeans and hoodies every day? Or do they require a black suit five days a week?
For a corporate or business environment, keep your look simple and conservative. Keep the colors basic (black, navy, neutrals) and make sure you are well groomed (hair, nails, makeup for the ladies). And while initial interviews are a lot about first impressions, make sure to dress for the job you want, not what you are applying for. It might even be a good idea to make sure you are dressed better than those interviewing you.
• For men; a two piece matching suit, solid under shirt, tie with a conservative pattern and matching belts / shoes. Outerwear in the winter is important! Make sure you get your favorite winter coat cleaned before the big interview.
• For women; two piece pant / skirt suit, tailored blouse, solid leather (closed toe) pumps and conservative jewelry. Make sure to wear some good quality hosiery and make sure your outwear is clean and tailored.
For a more ‘casual job’ or those that usually wear uniforms (nurses, etc.), remember that while a suit will not be work every day, the first impression is still key. You should still dress conservatively and a step above everyone else, even if it is a casual meeting. Remember, the interview is your time to shine, and this helps for you to stand out in the interviewer’s minds when making a decision on the best candidate for the job.
For the creative types, a simple black suit might not fit in with the company culture. Again, this is where your research will come into play. Make sure you show that you are understanding the culture, but you are still wearing something that is work appropriate and represents you.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money
While you may need to put a little investment into your interview wardrobe at first, buying top of the line designers is not always necessary. A good place to shop might be outlet stores, where you can still get the quality at a discounted price.
In the end, if you do decide to make a big investment on a few pieces, keep in mind what kind of pay off this will bring in terms of first impressions and confidence. Having a sales associate help you find the perfect suit allows you to make sure the fit and sizing will be just right. In the end, if you look great and you feel great, that gives you a much better chance of acing that interview!
Finishing touches are key, especially in the winter
Accessories, shoes and belts are important, but one thing some people tend to neglect for interviews is their grooming (hair, makeup, nails, etc.) and ‘finishing touches’. While this seems small, it’s an important one! Take a little extra time before the interview to make sure your nails are neat and your hair is in place. If you are running from one interview to another, be sure you stop in the mirror to compose yourself and make sure you are all put together.
Quality outwear is also important. Make sure to clean your shoes of all salt stains and lint roll your favorite coat before the interview. When necessary, it might be a good idea to wear shoe covers or boots, and change before the interview. Always bring an umbrella with you and a quality pad folio to keep your resumes clean and dry!
If you are still stumped, just remember to keep it simple and conservative – and remember, a suit never goes out of style! And always be sure to dress warm!