5 Ways to Dress the Part for an Interview

Mon, Oct 4, 2010

Internship Interview

When I was in my first year of college, I was given the opportunity to interview for an internship with my local city county building. The job would have included researching grants and working in the county building with regular employees. I didn’t listen to what my university’s career services department (or my parents) said and I dressed inappropriately for the interview. Instead of wearing something that would have fit “government fashion” a little better, I chose to wear a summery white dress that was much too casual for the job I hoped to get.  In the end, I never got called back for a second interview.

While I don’t know for sure, looking back, I’m convinced it had something to with the way I was too casually dressed. Therefore, I think it’s important to keep the following five steps in mind when choosing an outfit for your next interview:

 1. Look the part: If you’re going to work in an office, then by all means, your interview outfit should look like you already work there. Stop by the office ahead of time, or ask others who have worked there previously to know what the dress code is like.

 2. Be conscious of perfume: The first interview is not the best time to try out a new fragrance or cologne. It could be overpowering and you might not have enough time to let it wear off before scaring everyone away with the overpowering scent. So try out anything new a few days ahead of time, just to make sure.

3. Make sure everything works: Making sure your dress is not see-through, or that your clothing doesn’t have any tears or snags in it is also essential to making a good impression.

4. Don’t wear jeans: This has been harped into me by collegiate career counselors over and over. I’ve done it before and it’s never landed me the job. So even if you have dressy jeans, don’t wear them on the first interview for a professional office internship.

5. Watch your shoes: Sometimes shoes can make or break the outfit. For example, wearing gym shoes with dress pants and a nice shirt. If you have a fancy outfit on, don’t ruin it with inappropriate shoes. Choose a coordinating pair of dress shoes and you’ll be well on your way to landing the internship you might be hoping for. While you might not think the little details like what shoes you’re wearing will count, at some places of employment, they will.

By Kelly McLendon. Kelly is studying Environmental Policy and Journalism. She can be reached at mclendon.kelly@gmail.com.

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