With the emergence of tech companies and start-ups, workplace wardrobes have gone casual. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress to impress on a job interview. Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s career expert and best selling author says, “On a job interview, your attire makes a statement about yourself before you even open your mouth.” Keeping that sentiment in mind, different industries have different cultures and expectations for their employee’s attire. Here is a look at seven different types of job interviews and some ideas of what to wear to make a great first impression.
The key word to keep in mind when applying in any of these fields is “conservative.” Your suit should be navy or dark charcoal and really nothing else. Your tie choice should be understated and a pocket square should probably be left out. If you’re on a budget, buy an inexpensive suit and get a good tailor. Spend the money you save on a good pair of shoes. The aim should be to overdress.
The tech industry prides themselves on their laid-back office settings. But for many people it just won’t feel right to go into a job wearing jeans and a t-shirt, even if that’s what everyone in the office is wearing. Even if you’ll dress down every day you work there, avoid sneakers and jeans, and wear a collared shirt. Andy Teach, author of From Graduation to Corporation says, “You probably don’t need to wear a suit and tie to a job interview at a laid back company, but that doesn’t mean you should dress too casually, either.”
When I think about my past teachers, I’m imagining the worst dressed people I’ve ever known. Each one suffered from either pit stains, coffee breath, and they all lacked style. Avoid being one of these people. Buy a well fitting outfit with a tie, but skip the jacket if you don’t want it. Also opt for comfortable shoes, teachers are on their feet all day.
For a sales or media related position at a fashion house, you have more leeway in your wardrobe than at Morgan Stanley. You can opt for a suit with a more modern, narrower lapel. You can also opt out of the tie if you want to make a fashion statement. Try bringing your resume on your iPad, it will show you pay attention to design and function.
Editorial and journalistic positions are at their core, literary jobs. Find a way to avoid looking like a Wall Street banker while still looking professional and well dressed. Khakis and a navy blazer would be a great choice and opt for a tie on your interview, it won’t work against you.
A sales position interview requires a suit much like the finance interview, but you have more leeway to let your personality show. Salesman are people oriented and charismatic, so as long as you keep it professional and appropriate, you can break away from the hyper conservative bent.
Whether you’re a contractor bidding on a job or a laborer interviewing for a position in the landscaping industry, what you wear will still make a difference. Don’t wear a suit or a tie, but a tucked in shirt and clean clothes will go a long way. As with all the other professions, dress half a step or a full step above what you will actually wear to work.