Dress to impress Deck: What you wear says a lot about yourself, especially during an interview and at work

Alexandria Kobryn - Jobs Reporter Email at [email protected]

Interviews are a way to provide your possible future employer with a good first impression, and one of the best ways to do that is by dressing appropriately.

Craig Wilkinson, the recruiting coordinator at Career Services, said preparation for an interview depends on the type of industry and should involve heavy research on its culture.

“If you’re wearing the wrong thing, at the very least, it’s a strike against you going into the interview,” Wilkinson said. “If it’s wrong enough, you’ve already lost it.”

Associate Director of Student Employment Ami Hollis said the fashion industry is a great example of an industry that requires extensive research and preparation when it comes to interviews.

“If you wear a suit to an interview with one of the chains in the fashion industry, and not their clothes, that could cost you the job immediately,” she said.

Miriam Yohannes, a sophomore fashion merchandising major, believes the dress code for interviews is different for the fashion industry than other industries.

“I do believe that our dress code is a little different than for students of other majors because even though we are supposed to remain professional … employers want to see your style and see that you actually have some type of fashion sense,” said Yohannes.

She has also been told that “wearing 3/4 sleeve blazers or tops shows that you lack confidence and wearing specific colors like red or purple means your powerful or creative.”

Stephanie Decker, a junior fashion design major, does not currently work but landed her last job by following advice on dressing as if she already had the position.

“Simply put, dress to the extent that the job entails,” she said. “For my last interview, I wore dark wash jeans, a plain black t-shirt and black boots–the basic employee uniform of the store.”

Another piece of advice from Wilkinson is that it is better to overdress than underdress for an interview.

“Let’s say I take a look at the culture and say they’re business casual,” he said. “I might go a step up for an interview and go more business formal so it’s easier to scale back, because if you’re underdressed, it’s bad.”

An important aspect for men to consider when preparing for an interview is facial hair.

“I think the general rule is if men would choose to have facial hair, to have it neatly trimmed and presentable,” said Wilkinson. “… My general rule is to be clean shaven in an interview … and then once I have the job I might try to experiment with some facial hair.”

Break head: Wardrobe for the workforce

Graduating seniors have either already landed a job for after graduation or are still in the midst of the interview process. Regardless of where they stand, they are most likely attempting to switch out their current wardrobe for one more appropriate for the workforce.

Ami Hollis, associate director of student employment at Career Services, said students should begin to fill their closets with business casual and business formal apparel.

“In either case, men or women, you want to have just a standard suit … and a variety of either dress shirts, ties, just something to change it up,” she said.

Recruitment Coordinator Craig Wilkinson said the process of updating a wardrobe does not have to be expensive.

“There’s outlets around … local outlets that you can find pretty nice clothes for pretty fair prices,” he said. “It’s definitely not beyond the wallet to have a starter set of clothes at the graduating senior level.”

Hannah Parkinson, a junior double majoring in accounting and finance, recently got accepted for an auditing internship with Ernst & Young LLP and feels the need to change her wardrobe now that she is entering the workforce.

“As of recently, I had very few pieces of clothing that would meet the criteria mentioned, and I now have a full-time internship to dress for,” she said.

Angie Roberts, the administrative support team supervisor at Macy’s, suggests a few pieces of clothing that she feels is essential for graduating seniors who will soon be starting their careers.

“I would always have a black or blue skirt or dress pants, or a dress … if it’s a skirt or dress … you can always find another blouse to go with it,” she said.