Dress for Success

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 4.20.01 PMFirst Impressions

Before you get a job, your goal is to impress employers enough so they will want to hire you. It’s

probably one of the most frequently used phrases in job hunting, but it still is true: “Dress for Success.”

When you are job hunting, you want to positively impact everyone you meet. It is very difficult to

overcome a poor first impression. Remember: you are selling yourself to a potential employer who does

not know you. The first thing the employer sees when greeting you is your attire so make every effort to

have the proper dress for the type of job you are seeking. This is an investment in your job future. Will

dressing properly guarantee you get the job? Of course not, but it may give you an advantage over other



There are various standards of dress that work for different kinds of jobs. Dressing conservatively is

always the safest route. Try to do a little investigating to learn what to wear to the interview so you will

look as though you fit in with the company. Learn what to wear by:

  • Calling the human resource office where you are interviewing and asking
  • Visiting the company’s office to get an application or a brochure to see what employees are wearing
  • Watching people arriving and leaving work

It is a good idea to match your interview outfit to the position. If you are applying for a job working on a

warehouse floor, you will look out of place wearing a formal suit. Jeans and a tee-shirt would not be

best when interviewing for a sales position. A basic rule is to dress one step above what you would wear

on the job. Always select and try on your interview clothing before the day of the interview to be sure

everything fits and that it presents the image you want. Business clothes do not have to be expensive.

Look for sales and shop at discount stores if you want something new for your interview.

What Should I Wear Today?

Once you get the job, it is still important to dress properly. For the first few days you might dress

similarly to how you dressed for your interview. Once you have been working several weeks, you will be

able to see what everyone else is wearing. Ask if your employer has a dress code. Some codes are written,

but others are just understood. If you are hoping for a promotion or more responsibilities, dress a bit

better than your current level. For example, if your coworkers wear business casual with polo shirts but

the people one level above you wear business casual and dress shirts, wear dress shirts. Always dress for

the job that you want, not for the job that you have. The goal is to use clothes as a tool for getting,

keeping and advancing in your job.


Dress for Job Success Websites:



By: Charles Jennings, Jr., Associate Director for Employer Relations


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