When you hear “professional attire,” what comes to mind? For many, it’s gray pantsuits and black blazers. While a generic, stock photo-like outfit may be practical, it’s not going to help you stand out and make a great first impression. It’s time to update your brand and start looking like the impressive leader you are! Here is a step-by-step tutorial to help you stand out in your next interview:
The first step to success is planning ahead. At least one week before the interview, lay out possible tops, bottoms, shoes, accessories, and more. Make sure what you pull still fits properly. If you do not have professional attire, need something altered, or your favorite pants no longer fit, you will need the time to buy something new or head to the tailor.
The night before the interview, lay out everything for your outfit so you don’t have to think about what you are wearing. It saves time and reduces anxiety.
Be Dressier than the Dress Code
You can usually identify a company’s dress code by checking their social media or website. But, if it’s hard to tell, you can ask the recruiter or visit the office beforehand. The most common dress codes include:
Business Casual – combines relaxed and formal clothing to create a “smart casual” appearance. Common business casual attire includes sweaters, cardigans, plain t-shirts, chinos, khakis, loafers, flats, etc.
Professional – formal wear usually required for conferences, speaking engagements, presentations, customer meetings, and more.
As a rule of thumb, defaulting to a professional dress code is better. Even if you are in a blazer and your recruiter is in a t-shirt, it shows your investment in the company and how seriously you care about the interview. Check out examples of each dress codes and how businesses can de-gender their dress codes to become more inclusive on IAWs blog.
Go for Comfort
Sometimes business attire is not the most comfortable clothing. Women especially understand blistered feet from a pair of heels or having a migraine from a slicked-back ponytail. The last thing you want to do during an interview is constantly adjust what you are wearing to get comfortable. Here are some examples of comfortable and formal professional clothes:
Pack an Extra Pair
There are plenty of reasons to pack a backup outfit. Working mom’s understand how kids are messy and accidents happen. A spare shirt or pants can be a lifesaver when you don’t have time during the day to change. Plus, if you are commuting or driving to your interview, chances are you want to limit your time in formal shoes as much as possible. Wear those comfy sneakers for the commute, and change into your heels before stepping into the office.
Add Your Colors!
Professional does not have to mean neutral colors only. Color, texture, prints, and more can say a lot about a person. Plus, you will be more memorable to the interviewee who sees hundreds of people a day. So, find a blazer in your favorite color, or wear a statement piece of jewelry. Fashion can be as fun and exciting as you. Here are some fun office clothing examples:
Neat as a Pin
Make sure your appearance is clean to really show you’re detail oriented. There is a good chance you won’t have the time to iron out wrinkles or pick off every dog hair when you’ve got kids to drop off at school or run errands. Pack an interview bag in your car with everything you need to keep you neat. Some items you may want include:
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