When Your "Fit" Doesn't Fit the Job: How to Dress for Your Next Job Interview
Summer time is moving along quickly, and for some of us, our career and/or our school journey is moving just as fast. That said, job interviews are on the rise and now is the time to get ready!
I've sat in on many interviews over the years questioning applicants on their qualifications. Some interviews were a breeze because I was able to have authentic conversations with the interviewee across from me. Others weren't that easy. I've been distracted by chipped and old fingernail polish, brightly-colored suits, short skirts and even hair weaves that only Diana Ross could pull off. The biggest faux pas I saw time-after-time, were women not knowing what to wear on their "big day". Sure, women no longer have to wear pantyhose or a business skirt to their ankles, however, there are just some things that need to be left in the closet or thrown in a bonfire.
I get it. Some women are fresh out of their undergraduate studies and can't afford an Olivia Pope inspired suit, OR some women who have been working still can't afford an upgrade to their wardrobe as they climb up the ladder. No need to fear though; there are ways around that!
A job interview is your one shot at impressing your potential employer and your attire plays a HUGE role in that experience. If you really want the job of your dreams, or even a job for stability, you have to invest in your future. Nothing is wrong with shopping at Target, Walmart or Ross. These stores are equipped with your interview essentials and can prepare you to abide by the simple Dos and Don'ts for a job interview...(and those are):
1. Stay away from RED.
Red nail polish, red lipstick, red suits, red shoes and bright red hair are all a no-no. Although red can be a beautiful color to play with, it's not appropriate for an interview. Unfortunately, red is sometimes associated with anger, fear and seduction (and we all know you're not trying to seduce your future boss!) Stick with very basic colors on this day and you're sure to be fine.
2. Go NUDE.
While it would be a riot to show up to your interview naked, that's not what this means. Going "nude" means wearing safe colors on the body parts most interviewers notice. If your nails will be polished, go nude. If you're wearing a white shirt under your suit that may have slight visibility to your brassiere (that you can't help), go nude or skin tone. Want to have a nice lip to compliment your face? Go nude. Neon nails, spring-colored lipsticks and colored undergarments are risky. Nude is safe and you'll be taken more seriously by your interviewer with the "Go Nude" approach.
3. Closed-toe/No-toe Rule.
Never, ever, show your toes on a job interview. Wearing opened-toed shoes are not only unsafe, as you may greet several people and possibly walk around, but it's not professional. You'll want to invest in a black, dark brown or even dark gray work shoe. This is an important investment because you'll need these shoes to market yourself in different interviews and it pairs nicely with a business suit. Make sure your shoe heel is no higher than 3 inches and is a solid color. If you can help it, get a leather/pleather shoe or pump. Materials like suede, fur and tweed are a diversion to your polished look and can be ridiculously hot during the summer.
4. Flaunt your favorite hair-do after you get the job.
Your job interview is not the time to prove to your future employer how fun you can be. While playful hairstyles show your personality, brightly colored hair, eccentric styles and hair covering your face are never good. If you can, pull your hair into a low ponytail or bun. If you have short tresses or a hair cut that can't be pulled back, style it in a way that will show your eyes and not be a negative focal point during the interview.
5. Kill the "Mr. T" Look
Keep your jewelry simple on the day of your job interview. Wear one pair of small earrings or studs, stay clear of heavy or big neck pieces, don't wear bangles or bracelets that jingle and if you must wear a ring, limit it to ONE. Too much jewelry is not only tacky on your "big day", but it's not necessary. If you're dressed in a suit or a buttoned shirt and a nicely fit pencil skirt, let that do the talking. Again, when you get the job, you can wear your lucky pink hoops or your blinged-out watch. For now, keep it classy and simple with your jewels, as you don't want to make noise every time you move your hand or your head.
So there it is. While I can go on-and-on about how to dress, we can start with these simple tips for any woman to follow. More importantly, if you're one of the ones out there ready to take on the world, more power and blessings to you! Put your best foot (or outfit) forward and you'll be fine.
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