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How to Dress for an Interview

It takes a lot of effort to get a job interview.  For some postings, the employer will receive hundreds of applications.  If you are one of the lucky few to be invited in for an interview, you'll want to make the most of the opportunity.  When you walk in for the interview, the employer will make a quick assessment of you based on your appearance.  You might be surprised to learn that in most cases the employer has formed an impression of you before you even open your mouth to answer the first question.  Here are some tips that will help you look like the candidate that they want to hire:

Find an outfit that makes you feel amazing.  Confidence is key when you are at a job interview.  If you can get an extra boost by wearing an awesome outfit, then power to you!  You will make a better first impression because you look great and since you feel good, you will come across as more confident and enthusiastic.     

Make an effort to understand the organizational culture.  At the interview stage, employers are often looking for organizational fit.  It is important that you look like you would fit in at the company.  Do some homework and see what employees typically wear to work.  For example, is it a corporate style or is it business casual?  Typically for a job interview, you would dress a little more formally than you would for work.    

Go the extra mile with your grooming.  Do everything you can to look and smell great.  Take a shower, wash your hair, brush your teeth, shave, get a manicure, wear deodorant, and anything else that will make you feel comfortable.  

Don't draw too much attention with your outfit.  Always keep your eye on the prize.  Your goal for your appearance is to look professional so that the employer listens to your answers to see if you are a good fit for the job.  If the employer remembers you as "the guy with the orange polka dot tie", then your outfit was a fail.    

Consider your entire appearance.  Keep in mind that when you walk through the door, the employer will be looking at the complete package.  This includes your shoes, jacket, brief case, and anything else that you are carrying.  Make sure that everything together projects a professional image.  Details count!

Make no mistake; wearing the right outfit won't get you the job.  However, if you look professional, you will be given the opportunity to persuade the employer that you are the best candidate.  At the end of the day, that is all you can ever ask for!

(Written by Karen Bivand, Image by