Whether you are fresh out of college and looking for the perfect first job, or trying to score the perfect summer internship, putting your best foot forward and making a great first impression on your potential employer is key, especially during your job interview.
First Impressions Are Crucial
A big part of a first impression in any interview, whether it is for a corporate, public service, not-for-profit or creative position, is how you are dressed. While qualifications, skill sets and great references can definitely take you very far, the impression you portray through your style is still a key part of how your potential employer will assess whether you would make a good fit in the position. While this is true in the corporate world, it is even more crucial in the creative industries.
Keeping it Business-Like
For job opportunities in the corporate, business, or government environment it is important to bear in mind the culture of these organizations when making style choices. While traditional skirt or pant suits are what most of us envision as true business attire (Corinney gives a great example of the more traditional business style), you can mix things up (with some limitations) at least a little bit.
For the ladies, a suit, a dress or a skirt with a smart blouse (Take a note from KristinaClemens) are totally acceptable options. However, there are a few things to remember:
- Keep skirts and dresses knee-length. Mini skirts for non-work activities.
- Don’t wear a sleeveless shirt or dress. In some workplaces sleeves are required, so don’t take your chances on breaking the dress code during the interview.
- If you choose to wear dress pants, make sure to wear a blazer. This can be either a matching colour for a suit, or a different colour or pattern if you like. A chic cardigan could also work here.
For gents out there – a suit is still probably your best option for business attire. Otherwise, opt for dress pants, shirt, and a sport coat or blazer. Kolore styled up a great sample interview look (although you may want to add a tie).
These types of jobs focus a lot on detail – so bear detail in mind as you choose your ensemble. Make sure garments are clean and freshly ironed. Ladies – keep makeup subtle and professional. Gents, make sure your shirts are tucked in and not to button the bottom button of your suit jacket, should you wear one.
Lastly, make sure to take a preview look at any dress code advertised on the company website, and make sure that your look falls safely within those boundaries.
Jobs in any creative profession are understandably trickier to gauge since there’s more freedom of style due to the nature of these types of work. However, it is better to err on the side of too put-together than too avant-garde or too casual.
If you are looking to intern or find an entry level position in the creative industries, particularly in fashion, a crucial element of deciding on what to wear should be some pre-interview research into the aesthetic of the brand. How would you dress differently for an interview for an internship at Seventeen than you might for an internship at W or Vogue? Think about the message that the company is putting out there, and how your style might be interpreted within that vision.
While you have a bit more freedom than your corporate counterparts, it is probably best to keep these hints in mind:
- Expose too much skin (Cleavage, crop tops and super-mini skirts are out for interviews)
- Wear shorts – chic or not, still not a good idea for interviews. Best test the waters after you get the job and can better assess acceptability)
- Wear denim (unless you are applying for a job with a denim brand, of course), it is too casual.
Some of you may be interviewing for positions in other cities, provinces or states. In this case, employers will often do a phone interview if in-person just isn’t feasible. Don’t take this as an excuse to lounge in your pajamas or sweats for the interview. Take the time to dress up a little, it will make you feel and thus come across as much more professional. Also, it helps to conduct your phone interview while in front of a mirror. Smiling affects the way you speak, and if you’re smiling it will certainly help during the phone interview!
What are Chictopians saying? A few ladies chimed in with their best tips for Interview style:
Catherineava suggests: “Never wear anything that’s too tight or baggy. No short skirts, shorts, .
Make sure there are no wardrobe malfunctions.”
Breee was a little more conservative: “I wear typical black dress pants paired with a nice button-down, or the button-down paired with a pencil skirt. And those are paired with closed-toe heels and pearls.”
Watermoolen shares her ideas: “Depending if it’s a corporate job, I’d dress in contrasting dark colours (i.e., navy with black), but if it’s a casual job, I’ll still wear the dark colours but with a pop of colour in the accessory department (i.e., white glasses, red watch, etc)”