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Dress to Impress

The importance of proper attire cannot be overly emphasized.

A recent survey indicated that approximately 40% of all employment rejections were based on personal presentation, which includes dress and grooming.

So what is proper attire? It will often depend on the organization with which you are interviewing. By researching the company, you can find out in advance how formal or informal the dress code is. According to Linda Travis, an Atlanta image consultant, even if you find out that XYZ Company is basically a business casual operation, it would be wise to keep your interview attire on the conservative side, since most recruiters are expecting it.

Unless you are trying to land a job that is very clearly creative/artistic (photographer, commercial artist, musician, actress, etc.), it makes sense to wear the traditional garb. Here are a few tips to help you make that key first impression:

Business Professional Attire

Business professional attire is normally worn for more formal business events such as interviews. Below are some tips for dressing appropriately in formal business attire.

The Outfit

  • Matching, two-piece dark colored suit (black, blue, grey. Solid or light stripes.)
  • Tailored shirt/skirt with conservative neckline/length. Mild/neutral color.

Accessories

  • Conservative tie or bow tie (no “flashy” designs.)
  • Minimal jewelry, perfume/cologne and makeup. Make sure body piercing and tattoo coverage aligns with company culture/standards.
  • Carry a portfolio, professional bag or simple purse.

Shoes

  • Polished dress shoes that match belt color. No sneakers or open-toed shoes.
  • Dark or neutral socks or pantyhose.

Business Casual - How is it different?

The Outfit

  • Top and bottom do not necessarily need to match and more color is acceptable.
  • Shirts/skirts still need to be pressed/tailored and have a conservative neckline/length.

Accessories

  • Tie/bow tie not necessary, more color and design is acceptable.
  • More freedom with jewelry but still wear jewelry, perfume/cologne and makeup in moderation. Make sure body piercing and tattoo coverage aligns with company culture/standards.
  • Carry a portfolio, professional bag or simple purse.

Shoes

  • Open-toed shoes acceptable depending on employer/industry.