Hey, I’ve done it. I’ve committed fashion many, many faux pas before. One of my senior pictures shows me wearing socks with sandals. Not only was it a bad choice, it was a bad choice caught on film. Truthfully, the word “caught” implies that I wasn’t expecting to be photographed in this ensemble. I can’t claim ignorance either. My mom told me outright the socks/sandals combo was a bad idea. Thank you, Mom, for having more fashion sense than I did. Unfortunately, I had poor listening skills.
However you want to dress on your own time is your prerogative. You’re a tax payer. You can do what you want. While Henry David Thoreau cautions against enterprises that require new clothes, interviewing is one institution that requires a certain level of polish to what you wear. We’ll go over the flip side of the previous post and cover the don’ts of dressing for an interview.
So, Vanna, if you please . . .
1. Don’t show up wrinkled. I know I mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. You could be wearing an expensive, well-tailored suit, but if you look like a hobo you’re not going to be taken seriously. You might as well carry a bindle and wear a crushed top hat.
2. Don’t try to use your clothes to make a statement. A bright shirt or funky jewelry is a great way to show your individuality on your first day of work; not during your interview. Unless you’re Ellen DeGeneres, Chuck Taylors are not to be worn with a suit.
3. Don’t wear cologne, perfume, body wash, etc. You may not be able to smell your favorite wild papaya soap, but someone else might. And, they might not like it. People are sensitive (funny) to (about) smells.
4. Don’t ignore your hair. Hair should be neat and out of your face. Gentlemen, remember that it’s not your job to keep the hair gel industry in business. Also, if you have to flip your head back every 15 seconds to move your bangs out of your eyes, your hair is too long. Paul McCartney is the only one who could pull that hairstyle off. (I’m looking at you, Justin Bieber.)
Ladies, keep it simple but not casual. A low-slung clip to keep your hair pulled back is fine. A ponytail is too casual. Also, you’re not auditioning for the Miss America pageant. Keep a low profile. *taps nose*
I know money can be tight sometimes, but try to budget for regular haircuts. You don’t have to go to high-end salons. The main thing is to find an affordable place to keep your hair neatly trimmed.
5. Don’t forget to accessorize properly. No worn out messenger bags or backpacks. Keep purses to a manageable size, i.e. no “runnin’ away from home purses.” (I have to give credit to my sergeant-in-arms, Em, for this great expression!) Have a portfolio or pad holder to carry extra resumes in.
I still remember when I first moved to Seattle, Washington with three of my friends. We were crashing at my friend’s aunt and uncle’s place while job hunting. I was getting ready for an interview; had on my suit and resumes in manila file folders. Uncle “Joe” stopped me and said, “You’re not going to carry your resumes in like that, are you? Yuck! Let me give you something better to carry them in.” At first I was annoyed by his condemnation of my method of doing things, but I have to say that a sense of humility is the best accessory a person can carry.
Once you wow them with your professional sense of style, it’s time to wow them with your talent and experience!
Positive Thought of the Day:
“It’s always the badly dressed people who are the most interesting.” – Jean Paul Gaultier