It’s a known fact that we judge folks on looks within seconds of meeting them. Our brains are wired to make snap decisions about everything – and it only takes us 7 seconds to process a visual first impression.
This means that dressing the wrong way can ruin the way you’re perceived at a job interview. In other words, your clothes can literally stop you from getting the job that you want!
Of course, the reverse is also true. If you do everything right, you’ll make an excellent first impression and come across as smart and professional.
To help you do that, here are 10 tips that will help you look the part as you apply for your next job. Number one is…
1. Avoid Sports Clothes
Unless you are applying for a position at your local gym, stay away from sweat pants, hoodies, sports branded t-shirts and sneakers.
Sports clothes may be comfy and relaxing, but an employer is looking for a person that has their life together. Wearing a tracksuit to a job interview will not give them that impression.
Same goes for…
2. Not Wearing Revealing Clothes
Try not to wear shorts or short sleeves to an interview. Even blistering heat outdoors is not an excuse to turn up to an important job interview in shorts.
Think of it this way. When is the last time you have seen a banker in shorts while at work? How about a lawyer?
Even though you might not be applying to work at a bank, bare shins just don’t look professional or respectable.
Next tip is…
3. Don’t Wear Hats
Yes, that means no caps and no beanies. Headgear is all the rage among fashionistas and hipsters, but a job interview is not a line for the new Yeezy release at the sneaker store.
The person reviewing your application is most likely to be older than you, and thus a little old fashioned. Wearing hats indoors is considered disrespectful and doing otherwise will turn off your potential employer.
As a rule of thumb, you should also…
4. Stay away from jarring patterns and aggressively bright colors
It is possible that a bright outfit will make you more memorable, but the chance is higher that you will just be remembered for not fitting in.
Go for muted colors and if you want to spice things up to match your style, consider picking original accessories instead.
The next tip is different, because it’s about doing something rather than avoiding it. Of course, we’re talking about…
5. Staying clean
This is a basic but important tip. Not only do you have to be personally clean (this should go without saying); your outfit also has to be impeccably clean, both literally and figuratively.
Wash the clothes you plan to wear to the interview the day before and iron what needs to be ironed. Look sharp and be on top of your game. Don’t be that guy with the ketchup stain on your shirt. Staying clean goes a long way towards that.
And remember; check that your shoes are clean before walking into the interview. This is something your employer will pay particular attention to; we guarantee it.
If you really want to take things to the next level, also consider…
6. A suit
In many cases, chinos and a shirt will do the trick. But if you want to go the extra mile and really make sure that you maximize your chances with how you look, wear a suit. It is really hard to go wrong with any classic suit that fits you and isn’t lime green or bright pink.
Good news is, any suit you bought in the last 3-4 years will be the right cut. If you don’t own a suit, buy or rent one; don’t borrow from a friend. A suit rental will pick a suit that is right for you quickly and at a fair price; a suit that belongs to someone else is likely to be ill-fitting and cheap-looking on you.
And once you have a suit, consider getting…
7. A Tie
If the idea of a tie seems old-fashioned to you, just look at a photo of some trendy people. High chances that they will be rocking ties. Why do you think that is?
Oh, that’s right. Because ties are Classy, with a capital “C”. Wearing one will make you stand out in the best possible way – and that’s what we want here.
This is also the clothing item with which to get a little creative. So long as you don’t go crazy and get an electric boogaloo tie with parrots on it, there are countless patterns and color combinations to choose from.
If you don’t know how to tie a tie, ask the shopping assistant at a store that your are getting it at to help you get it right. Alternatively, you can get pre-tied ties that come ready.
The last clothing item you’ll need is also (arguably) the most important one. Of course, we’re talking about…
8. Leather Shoes
Put on a pair of leather shoes and match them to your belt. As has been mentioned before, avoid sneakers. In fact, avoid everything that is not a classic leather shoe or a moccasin.
If you are wearing a belt, match it to your shoes. It is not hard and looks nice. Pair brown with brown and black with black. Keep you shoes nice and clean.
That’s all for your clothes. Of course, you may also want to consider a tasteful, appropriate accessory of two – of which the first is…
9. An office bag
Don’t walk into an office wearing your beach bag or your distressed backpack. Look professional and take an office bag. It is perfect for carrying everything you need to the interview and conveys a sense of purpose.
The style and material does not really matter. What you carry inside does not matter much, but consider carrying a small notepad and a pen.
It is a good idea to take it out before the interview and write down a few questions you want to ask about the job. This will calm you down and organize your thoughts.
The very last thing you’ll need to do to impress during a job application is…
10. Know your audience
This is extremely important. You need to know what is considered appropriate for the job and industry you want to work in. If you are applying for an office job – everything above is extremely relevant.
However, if you are looking to work in a surf shop, some of it does not apply. Chances are, you already know what people wear in the profession you are going into, but if not, the Internet is your friend.
Do some basic research and look at pictures of people doing your work. If you are not sure – go conservative. Being overdressed is much better than being underdressed.
It just shows that you care a lot about making the right impression and getting the job. That will take you one step closer to getting the offer you want.