So you’ve written your cover letter and polished up your resume (maybe you even took the initiative to use a free resume builder), and it impressed a potential employer enough that they want to interview you.
This is great and exciting news, but now you may be wondering: what should I wear to an interview?
You don’t get a second chance for a first impression, so while you should avoid stressing more than you already are, don’t downplay the importance of a stellar interview outfit.
Here are some tips to consider when you are choosing what to wear to a job interview that will increase your chances of getting the job.
Tell a story with your interview outfit
Take choosing what to wear to an interview as an opportunity for personal expression. What do you want to say about yourself? How do you want your potential employer to view you?
It may seem like you can’t answer these questions with what you wear, but you have control over how others perceive you with the way that you dress. Indeed, you can convey a lot about yourself simply based on what you wear.
If you’re interested in moving up within the company, dress for an executive position; if you want to convey your creativity, choose a more interesting color and pattern combination.
The options are virtually endless and highly individualized when choosing how to dress for an interview.
Do your homework on the company
If you are genuinely interested in becoming part of a company, do your due diligence and research them before the interview.
This seems like a no-brainer in the world of what to wear to an interview, but take care that you don’t wear something too casual to a formal interview or vice versa.
A casual start up may feel you are out of touch with their culture if you arrive in a suit, and a more formal environment will question your qualifications if you arrive in jeans.
Make sure you have researched the company culture and standards when selecting your interview outfit.
This research will also benefit you in the interview itself, keeping you from stumbling or going blank with your answers.
Sweat the small stuff
This tip may seem like it bucks conventional wisdom of day to day life, but in terms of choosing an interview outfit, it is crucial.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a clean, wrinkle-free, and well-fitting outfit. Something that looks fine to you may look disheveled to a potential employer.
Avoid selecting something that’s been living in a pile on your floor to wear to an interview unless you take the time to wash and press it.
Make no allowances in an interview outfit for things you would ordinarily let slide. These small details can make or break the overall aesthetics of your interview outfit.
Do a dry run the day before
Once you’ve decided what to wear to an interview, give yourself time to reassess and make adjustments to the plan.
This will allow you to make sure that your interview outfit aligns with company standards, accurately reflects who you are as a person and potential employee, and does not have any obvious issues like cleanliness or fit.
It’s a good idea to ask someone you trust to take a look at your outfit, and offer any suggestions for improvement that they might notice.
Things to avoid
Just like you can use what you wear to a job interview to tell a story about who you are, you can use it to ruin your chances of receiving a job as well.
Don’t wear excessive perfume or cologne that will overpower and distract from your qualifications.
Likewise, don’t dress in anything too revealing that will paint you as less than serious about the job.
This goes for things like makeup and clashing colors as well.
You want your interview outfit to complement your other accomplishments rather than overshadow them, especially in a negative way.
You’re ready to choose your interview clothing
There are plenty of considerations when preparing for an interview—everything from interview questions to how early to arrive may be weighing heavily on your mind.
In all of the activity, don’t forget to set aside some time to plan what to wear to your job interview.
Your clothing says more about you than you may realize, make sure you’re sending potential employers the right message.
Once you have done all of your preparation, simply take a breath and accurately represent your many abilities to the employer.