Dress Code

As Will Rogers said, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression." Your interview image must be buffed and polished until you have mastered a flawless presentation of yourself. Your personal image extends well beyond the interview. Every contact with the interviewer (résumé, cover letter, telephone calls, information sessions, etc.) must reflect your professional image. 

Your appearance tells people how you feel about yourself as an applicant, as well as how you feel about the interviewer(s), the company, and the process of interviewing itself. The correct image at an interview will give you a real edge over your competition, and will add to your own sense of self-esteem and confidence.

Interview Appearance Tips

Within the first five seconds of meeting someone, you are generally evaluated on your appearance. It is important that your appearance match the culture of the company. One way to do this is to visit the company to see how people who work there are dressed or ask people that you know in the professional workplace. For example, in most public and private accounting firms women wear skirted suits. Therefore, interviewing in a pantsuit would most likely be unacceptable for such accounting positions. Many companies do have business casual dress one or more days a week. Business casual dress is still inappropriate for interviewing.

Invest in your interviews as you have invested into your education. If you need a book for a class, you buy it. If you need a suit for interviewing, buy it. Buy the highest quality suit you can afford. We recommend a lined, all-season wool suit. It will pay off in the long run.

General Tips

You can never go wrong if you dress conservatively. Know your industry and the company. The more conservative the industry the more conservative you should dress. For example, an accounting firm is going to have a more professional and conservative dress code than an advertising agency, where you may need to show more style 

  • Wrinkle-free, lint-free, clean clothes
  • Proper fit, clothes that are not too tight and not too baggy
  • Remove all external tags from clothing
  • Minimal jewelry and makeup

What to Wear

  • Typically navy or dark gray are the safest colors for suits for the first interview. A suit is defined as having a matching (same color) jacket and bottom (pants or skirt)
  • Wear a non-wrinkled shirt or blouse that complements your suit
  • If you wear a tie, the tie should be conservative. Avoid a distracting eye-catching pattern. The tie should reach right above your belt buckle. 
  • Wear a belt if the pant has belt loops
  • Keep jewelry to a minimum 
  • Wear shoes that complement your suit and do not have scuff marks or a worn heel. If you are wearing shoes with heels make sure the heels are no higher than 3"
  • Button your jacket; it is fine to unbutton when you sit down
  • If you are wearing a skirt, keep the length conservative. Hosiery is recommended; avoid patterns

When interviewing (for both jobs and internships) follow professional dress guidelines (a suit).

Grooming and Personal Hygiene

  • Always have fresh breath, but do not keep gum or mints in your mouth
  • Wear deodorant
  • Skip perfume or cologne
  • Avoid having smoker’s breath or smoker’s clothing
  • Minimal makeup
  • Clean and trimmed nails 
  • Well-groomed facial hair (if applicable) or be clean shaven

What to Carry

  • If you want to carry a bag, it should be a professional or business-looking bag. This would include a briefcase, messenger bag or tote bag 
  • Avoid being weighed down by multiple bags or a heavy bag