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How to Dress for Interview Success

Learn how you can dress for success for a part-time job, internship, or full-time job after college.

How to Dress for Interview Success
Interview garb isn't what it used to be -- find out what to wear.
At this point in the job search, you’ve successfully submitted your resume and cover letter, and hopefully you’ve prepared answers to common interview questions. So what’s left on the job search to-do list? Dress for success. If this is your first time searching for a job, you may have no idea what to wear. After all, every job interview scenario you’ve seen on television or a movie features an interviewee wearing a three-piece suit. Is that how people really dress for interviews in the real world? And what are you supposed to wear if you’re interviewing for a casual job at a fast food joint?
Fortunately, we’ve got you covered with a few part-time job interview dress tips: Don’t wear a three-piece suit. Unless you’re interviewing at a swanky law or financial consultant firm in Manhattan. But in all seriousness – gone are the days when you have to wear a suit to a job interview. In addition to the fact that most places of employment have gone “business casual” in recent years, a suit is just too formal for most part-time job interviews.
Do dress up. However, that’s not to say that you should show up in jeans and a t-shirt. The experts at Monster say that you should dress at least one notch more formally than the current employees at that particular company. If you’re interviewing at a fast food restaurant or bowling alley, for example, wear chinos and a button-down shirt or black dress pants and a blouse to the interview. If you’re seeking a part-time job at the local newspaper or marketing firm, opt for a pencil skirt and blouse or khakis, a button-down shirt and a blazer. Do your research. If you’re not sure what people wear to this job, do some investigating beforehand. Talk to people you know that work there or visit their workplace a few days ahead of your interview – if that’s appropriate. And if neither of those is an option – ask the hiring manager. Asking ahead of time does not in any way mean that you’re clueless. Rather, it shows that you want to be informed and prepared. Don’t use this as an opportunity to experiment. It’s important in the job interview to be comfortable, to be yourself. That’s why you shouldn’t choose a job interview as the venue to try out that haircut that you always wanted but thought was too edgy. Or maybe you decided the day beforehand that you wanted to completely reinvent yourself. Perhaps you took “dress to impress” to a whole new level and have transformed into someone you’re not even used to. It’s fine to walk the road of self-discovery; just save the big detours for after the job interview.
While you’ve been told your whole life that what is on the inside counts more than what’s on the outside, dressing to impress for the job interview is still important. It doesn’t say anything superficial about you. It shows your professionalism, ambition and awareness of the place and role for which you’re interviewing. Most importantly, it communicates that you’re serious about the job as well as yourself. For more ideas on how to dress for an interview, visit our interview style Pinterest board.

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