Dressing for Success

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First impressions are made of visual and verbal cues, which can form within seconds of meeting someone. Many things can factor into a first impression, such as someone’s posture, facial expressions, voice intonations, handshake, eye contact, grooming, and dress. While these cues are not always an accurate portrayal of a person’s character and personality, they can give a good indication of who someone is.

Impressing an Employer

An employer knows the image that the company wants to portray. He or she wants the type of person that will reflect the company’s image to its clients or customers. When you meet an employer for the first time, the impression you make on him or her can make or break your job opportunity.

One of the ways you can show an employer that you will support the company’s image is by the way you dress. In dressing professionally, you will demonstrate to an employer that you are willing to abide by the company’s standards and rules. You will also show that you respect the company and its clients or customers. In turn, an employer and those with whom you interact will more likely treat you in a professional manner if you dress professionally.

How Should I Dress for an Interview?

Appropriate dress standards for business settings vary according to country, culture, and industry.

Before the interview, find out the company dress code. You can do this by talking to a company employee, such as a human resource manager, or by asking about the dress code when you arrange an interview appointment.

Below are some basic guidelines for dressing professionally. If you have additional questions about how you should dress for the interview, talk to an employment center or self-reliance specialist in your area.

General Guidelines

  • Dress one step above the dress code of the office where the interview will occur.
  • Wear modest, clean clothes that are in good condition. Do not wear clothes that draw attention.
  • Avoid clothing with logos and brand names.
  • If you are wearing a coat or other outerwear, take it off before entering the interview. Hang it up if there is a coat rack provided.
  • Men: Follow appropriate business culture for facial hair. Check the company dress standards; if facial hair is acceptable, make sure it is neatly trimmed. If in doubt, be clean-shaven.

Additional Things to Consider

Briefcase/Portfolio/Folder—Carry important documents and materials in a briefcase, portfolio, or folder that is in good repair. Bring copies of your résumé even if you think your interviewers already have a copy. Also bring the job description, any research you have done on the company, a list of references and their contact information, and paper to take notes on.

Pen – Take a professional-looking pen with black ink.

Cell phone – Turn off your cell phone before you go in for the interview.

Glasses – If you wear glasses, do not peer over the top of the glasses during the interview. If you need glasses only for reading, take them off while you are not reading.

Cannot Afford to Dress Up for an Interview?

Dressing professionally can be expensive. If obtaining business clothing is a problem, share your needs with your quorum or Relief Society leaders. If you do not have access to interview clothing in time for the interview, follow the “General Guidelines” provided above.

Some aspects of appearance cannot change rapidly, if at all. Do not let such things inhibit your success. Have confidence in yourself and your abilities. If you need additional help preparing for a job interview, work with your quorum or Relief Society leader or your ward employment specialist. The employment center or self-reliance center in your area can also provide ideas or a list of resources to address your specific needs. 


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