Attire to Increase Your Chances of Getting the Hire
As a job seeker, you’ve probably been counseled on various ways to improve your resume, answer tough interview questions and write remarkable cover letters. And most likely, you’ve also been advised to “dress for success.” But how exactly do you go about impressing potential employers with your attire?
According to “The New Rules of What to Wear to an Interview,” an article posted on Oprah Winfrey’s website, there are six foolproof ways to make sure your clothing is helping your job search and not hindering it.
1. Go Undercover: Without actually stalking, drive by your potential new workplace during a busy period like lunchtime, and just watch people come and go. Observe what the employees are wearing because they could end up being your new coworkers and they provide a model for how you will be expected to dress.
2. Create a Halo Effect: According to Oregon State University associate psychology professor Frank Bernieri, PhD, “A well-tailored outfit suggests that you’re conscientious and detail-oriented in other areas.” This doesn’t mean anyone expects you to look like Marc Jacobs or spend hundreds of dollars having your suit tailored, but it does mean you should invest in clothes that fit you well and compliment your body type. Just because a suit that is two sizes too big is $20 cheaper at Goodwill doesn’t mean that’s the one that will land you a job! Skirts should be barely above or at your knee and pants should touch the tops of your shoes. For women, if pants are only slightly too long, try pairing them with a higher heel.
3. Stick to the Classics: Even if you consider yourself fashion-forward, a job interview may not be the best place to experiment with new trends. “When in doubt, think classic,” advises Adam Glassman, the creative director for Oprah’s magazine. Included under the “classic” category are basic button-downs, pencil skirts, slim trousers, sheath dresses and smart blazers.
4. Step Out of the Shadows: While we advise sticking to classics instead of choosing the workplace to try out your latest design, being professional doesn’t mean you have to stick to black. While black does have its perks, such as slimming your body, it’s difficult to make a positive lasting impression if you look like you’ve just come from a funeral. The most important thing to remember is balance. If you’re wearing a bright top, offset it with a neutral jacket and trousers. Wearing a lively color also exudes confidence and causes people to notice you. Floral printed blouses for women or ties with unusual patterns for men are acceptable, but again, pair it with something less busy to assure people that you really do know how to match.
5. Accessorize with Aplomb (Poise): Just as important as the clothes themselves are accessories. Similar to bright colors and funky patterns, one bold accessory is more than enough. A gaudy watch or ostentatious necklace paired with either no other accessories or very simply ones can be quite flattering. However, choose wisely because one accessory could be the difference between standing out from the crowd and sabotaging your chances of being offered the job.
6. Take the Sit-Down Test: When you’re looking in the mirror at your completed outfit, you may be thinking, “This dress is just long enough,” or “No one will be able to tell that these pants are too small.” Please think again, because when you sit down, it could be an entirely different story. Particularly for women, it’s important to make sure that when you sit, your dress or skirt is still an appropriate length. Make sure buttons are not too tight and zippers don’t snap. And always give yourself enough time to make adjustments if necessary.
Whether you’re in the workplace or elsewhere, it always pays to know what clothing is acceptable for the occasion. By following these six simple rules, you are well on your way to combining a witty fashion sense with professional dress that’s sure to impress.
This article is written by Ariana Gainer, Recruiting & Marketing Assistant for the local Greenwood Express Employment Professionals franchise. Information for this article is from “The New Rules of What to Wear to an Interview” from oprah.com.