Tips to help job hunters dress for success

There was a good article in The Sacramento Bee, reprinted in my local Tacoma News Tribune two days ago, that I thought was worth posting about since so many people are looking for work right now.  Here goes:

When it comes to job interviews, first impressions matter.  If you're just out of college or new to the job hunt, here are some tips on what to wear.

Do your research.  You won't sound silly or unprepared if you call and ask what to wear to an interview.  It shows you respect the company culture.  (I have to say that I totally agree with this one.  When I was a recruiter at Microsoft, I liked having my candidates ask me this question.  It showed me they really wanted to put their best foot forward.)

Play it safe.  If you're applying for jobs in financial, medical or sales fields, a suit is usually mandatory.  If it's a tech or design company, "business casual" attire is likely OK.  Classic dark colors are always safe – blue, black or gray.  (Agree with this one, too; however, I've only worked in tech companies where dress code is always either business casual or just casual.  For interviews though, go with business casual – slacks and a button-up shirt.)

Keep it neat.  Whether it's your shirt, shoes or hair, show up to interviews well-groomed.  Tops and shirts should be freshly pressed, with no stains and all buttons intact.  Shoes should be clean and scuff-free.  Get a fresh haircut and trim facial hair.  And don't let bangs or hair flop in your face; eye contact with your interviewer is essential.  (Agree.  And if you're tempted to keep pulling your hair out of your face, or playing with it, tie it back.)

Bye-by backpack.  Carry a purse, a briefcase or a portfolio case, but keep the loud colors and logos at home.  (This one isn't important if you're interviewing at a tech company where you know the culture is casual.  We all carry backpacks to work.)

Jingle, jangle.  Accessories let your personality shine through, but stay away from bright nail polish, crazy ties and "bling" jewelry, which can be distracting.  Cover tattoos and pop out the nose ring, at least until you get the job.  (Totally agree, especially on the tattoo.)      

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