Interview Attire for College Students

Experience, check. Internship, check. Degree, check. To your interviewer you look good on paper. But how well do you actually look? A lot of people underestimate the importance of dressing well. They make excuses, “I’m not that stylish, I’ve never really been into fashion.” But it isn’t about being into fashion; it is about being into yourself. The way you present yourself speaks volumes of who you are, equally as important as your resume. So as you’re getting callbacks, and scheduling days to meet up with your would-be employer think about not only what you’re going to say but also think about what information your outfit might offer as well.

No matter what the job is when you are going on your interview you should look like a professional. Uniform for the job could be Suit_Interview_ManSuit_Interview_Womanbusiness or business casual; if you are unsure be prepared to dress business. It is better to show up overdressed rather than underdressed. If you are a man this means a suit and tie and polished dress shoes. Your suit should be dark, preferably navy or gray with a long sleeve button down coordinating shirt and tie, along with professional socks which could show when you sit, and clean black shoes. Unless told otherwise, this is the look one should wear to an interview. Let’s say you’re given the heads up to dress business casual, you can still look professional in a blazer, or a sports jacket over a button down shirt or sweater with slacks, again making sure your shoes are polished, your jacket and pants match and your socks correspond as well.

If you are a woman, you have a few more options than a man. You can look professional in a skirt suit, a pantsuit, and even a dress. Be careful in wearing a skirt because you then need to include pantyhose. But just like men, you want your look to be dark and not too bright; solid neutral colors such as black, navy, or gray are most appropriate. This includes your shoes, which should be heels or flats depending on the job, not sandals, and if you do choose to wear heels they should be of regular height (2-3 inches). Underneath your jacket you can wear a nice silk blouse or a button down top. Make-up should be simple and limited.

Keep in mind to also be well groomed. Clean combed hair, styled or pulled back,  go easy on the cologne, nails are trimmed, and men should have shaved or trimmed their facial hair. Always remember when you look good, you also feel good.

This may be new to you, but it is important you make this your look for all interviews after college. Part time jobs rarely require professionalism; some even provide a uniform for you, limiting ways for you to stand out as a unique employee. Your part-time employers understand that for most part time workers a job is only a means to make quick money on the weekends or while on break from school, but your job after college starts your career. It is something that will be full-time and permanent, unless and until it leads to a promotion. The selection process for a career is much more in depth and far more competitive than part-time interviews, where something as little as a stain on a shirt, or fabric that is too bright for an interview can cost you the job. You don’t have to show up dressed like you’re going to a wedding, (in fact you shouldn’t) but you have to remember to always look professional.

Image Design Consulting owner Sharon Kornstein, offers etiquette training, wardrobe organizing and presentations on dress in the workplace. Sharon’s expertise gives her clientele a leading edge on how to conduct themselves and dress in the office.