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You want people – especially potential employers – to know that you are a serious and professional job seeker, right?
Of course you do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reflect a bit of your own personal brand in your choice of wardrobe. Here are six ways you can personalize your job interviewing attire without raising any eyebrows.
1. Know the company and position
Every company’s culture is different. If possible, talk to someone who works at the company and find out about their culture. Some industries – namely technology and manufacturing - don’t expect you to dress up quite as much as industries like fashion, hospitality, and sales do. The size and age of the company also matters. Startups, for example, are usually pretty lax in their dress code, but when in doubt, lean more conservatively.
The most important thing in any workplace outfit is that everything is wrinkle free and clean. This includes your hair, face, underarms, shoes, and suit. Even if the company’s dress code isn’t strict, nobody wants to work with you if you smell bad and look like you crawled out from under a bus. If hygiene isn’t normally your thing, it’s time to make it a higher priority.
3. Interviews aren’t all about you
With the exception of a few jobs like modeling or some certain subsets of the food and drink service industry, you should not be there to flaunt your sexiest or flashiest attire. Remember, your goal isn’t to show off with your clothes, it’s to show off with your ability. You don’t want your attire to distract everyone from your real skills.
4. Pick at most one thing that might be a conversation starter
Accessories should be kept to a minimum in your job interview attire. That said, a small piece of personal expression like a pin, necklace, belt or other jewelry might be appropriate. For men, you probably shouldn’t go with more than a wristwatch, but if the atmosphere is more “creative,” piercings might be acceptable.
Just remember that any time you go into an interview with a facial piercing, you run a pretty high risk of being taken less seriously by anyone older than 30. The good news is that if you did your research on the company culture, the right accessory might be the thing that gets you remembered at the end of the day.
5. Do a dress rehearsal
Don’t buy an outfit, take it home, and then wake up an hour before your interview only to find that some piece of your planned attire is uncomfortable, ill-fitting, or not quite the right color. Put everything on a week before and do a dress rehearsal. Sit down, stand up, walk around, and answer some questions under a warm light just to make sure the outfit isn’t hot or uncomfortable. You’re bound to get nervous which raises your body temperature, and you don’t want to look like you just stepped out of a sauna.
6. Wear what makes you confident
Know yourself, and flatter yourself. As I wrote earlier this week, recruiters may be biased against hiring people who are overweight, so be sure that your outfit isn’t grossly tight. Light makeup is best for women, but honestly, if wearing less makes you feel self-conscious, just do your normal thing. If you feel comfortable and at home in your clothes, you’re more likely to do well in an interview, regardless of the little things you might miss.