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Career Corner
Dressing for the interview

Jane Harvey -- Well, your resume worked and now you have an appointment for the all important job interview. You have done your homework. You are confident that you can answer anything the interviewer throws at you. Finally the big day arrives and the final important choice must be made. What should you wear?

It is no secret that how you look has everything to do with the first impression you make. A first impression is made in the first 27 seconds. If you are too formal in your appearance, you might give the impression of being rigid and stuffy. If you are too casual, you may send the signal that you do not take the interview or the job very seriously.

Begin by talking to employees of your potential new employer and find out what the dress code is and how seriously management takes it. If you can't find out this information, you should choose clothing that is professional in the impression it gives.

If you do not already own clothing that will work on an interview, you should go to a store where you can get good advice from the sales person. Be prepared to have the clothes tailored. No human being completely fits in clothes that are off the rack. To make the best impression the clothes must be altered to fit and accent your best features.

The following ideas can never be neglected:

* Look clean and neat. Make sure that your hair is done appropriately. Women -- do not wear wild hairdo's Men -- get a trim of head and facial hair.

* Do not wear a perfume or cologne as many people are allergic. Bathing with a good quality bath soap will leave a light scent. You will be nervous and a gentle scent can mask the perspiring you may be doing. An unscented antiperspirant can be used.

* Cover any tattoos and avoid gaudy jewelry. Definitely limit pierced jewelry to ears only. Do not wear nose or tongue jewelry


* Wear a suit or sport jacket with color coordinated trousers

* The color should be neutral or dark -- blue, black or gray is best

* Wear a tie -- even if you will never wear one after you get the job

* Shoes should be leather -- clean and polished - black is best

* Make sure your nails are trimmed and that they are clean.


* Wear a classic suit or a simple dress with a jacket. This is not a time to be provocative or sexy. Some appropriate colors are navy blue, black, dark green, dark red, burgundy, or gray.

* Dress in a higher style that the position calls for but do not attempt to out dress everyone there.

* Avoid wearing clothes that are tight, revealing or trendy. It may be the very latest fashion but it will not impress the interviewer

* Fingernails should be trimmed to a length that doesn't leave an observer wondering how you keep from stabbing yourself. The polish should be closer to a color your mom might wear that to a color that your kid sister would go for.

Even after you are successful in getting the job, you should continue to pay attention to your wardrobe. Interviewing for that first job is only the beginning in the role clothing will play in your career.

You should regularly add pieces made of high quality, long wearing fabrics. It is best to buy separates that you can mix and match with the pieces that you already own. Each piece you buy adds to the variety of looks you can achieve. You may ask why this is important? The reason is that even after you have the job you sought, you might like to be considered for advancement and promotion. The impression you leave on the job every day will be added to your performance when the boss looks around for someone to promote.

Jane Harvey is a Wardrobe Consultant from Tucson, AZ.

© 2003

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