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Career Services

Make A Good Impression, Dress to Impress

Dressing to impress employers should be a crucial part of your job search strategy. Although we may believe that no one should be judged by what they wear, the reality is that employers are looking for reasons to remove you from their selection process.

Women: Suggested Dress Code

  • Professional looking suit, tailored dress or pantsuit
    Lean toward the conservative side with skirted suits and use the gray or black. Colors like brown, camel or beige are feasible. We encourage you to dress for the position and know the employer. Fashion, advertising and the arts often allow more creativity than more traditional careers such as finance, law and accounting which favor conformity. The hierarchy of conservative dress goes: dark suit, lighter suit, dress with dark jacket, and mixed color skirt and blazer. Project a professional image.

  • Polished and comfortable shoes
    Shoes should be conservative; low to medium heels are best.

  • Accessories
    Make-up should enhance your appearance. Avoid wearing any clothing, accessories or jewelry which might distract or draw attention to yourself rather than reinforcing your look as a professional. If you wear nail polish, make sure it's a subtle color and neatly done. Hair should be freshly cleaned and neatly styled. Long hair should be worn as conservatively as possible.
Men: Suggested Dress Code

  • Suit or jacket, shirt and tie
    Traditional business attire is best - a conservative dark navy or gray suit and white long-sleeved pressed dress shirt . If you don't own a suit, borrow one from a friend or consider investing in a high quality one. A tailored suit will last many years into your professional career. If you are unable to obtain a suit, a conservative sports coat and dress slacks are second best. White shirts are always your first choice. Solid blue is an acceptable alternative. If you don't own either a white or blue shirt, go out and buy some. There is no short cut here, and if you get the job you will probably need more than one anyway.

  • Shoes, socks, ties, belts
    Polished leather - lace-up black or dark brown shoes are best. Never wear white or tan shoes. Wear comfortable dark socks. Ties can make a statement about who you are. Conservative silk ties are best. Be sure that ties coordinate well with the suit and avoid flashy patterns. Make sure the knot is neat and the tie comes to the top of your belt or slacks. The interviewer need not see your stomach. Be sure the tie is wrinkle free. Wear a dark belt preferably black or conservative in style. It should have a clean functional buckle.

Dress for Success For Both Men & Women
If you dress more formally you may feel more comfortable and prepared for an important interview. Rumpled and wrinkled clothing is out. Shoes should be polished, not scuffed, and coordinated with your outfit. Fly-away hair or bizarre haircuts are out; make sure it is neat and well groomed. Avoid wearing cologne or perfume. Also, for men if you wear an earring, remove it before the meeting. Your hands and nails should be clean and trimmed. After you secure the job, you can dress less conservatively. For example, if you are applying for a teaching position, few will expect you will wear a formal suit each day on the job. If you have doubts about what you are considering wearing, then don't wear it; err on the side of conservatism.

Dress not for where you are but for where you want to be. . Don't give the interviewer a chance to rule you out because you didn't feel like ironing your shirt or polishing your shoes. Dress in a business-like professional manner, and you will be sure to fit in wherever you interview.

» Guide to Business Casual Attire at Work