Have a job interview and feel like you probably have no clue as to what you’re doing to look the part? Here are five suggestions you can do to look better for that crucial first meeting. These tips will teach you which details to pay attention to. Don’t marginalize anything, even if it might seem trivial at first.
1. Get a Haircut
Having good style starts from the top down, and the first thing people will notice is your head. Ever hear the phrase “you gotta spend money to make money”? This is an unavoidable expenditure that will let your soon-to-be superiors know you care. If you’re really that strapped for cash, try having a friend do it for you. Make sure to be well groomed, or you may give off the impression that it isn’t worth your time. Yes, this includes facial hair. You don’t necessarily have to shave your beard off, but it needs to be trimmed and clean.
2. Don’t Underdress
There’s nothing tackier than going into a job interview underdressed. It might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised with what some people are capable of. Case in point, if you’re thinking of wearing a silk tie with a salmon pink polo shirt, you’d be underdressed.
A button down shirt is one of the safest routes you can take here. It needs to be tucked in, and don’t forget to wear a belt. Your pants need to cover your ankles, and for the love of god, please don’t wear jeans (even if your pair is spotless and without patches). You want to hit that happy medium between looking like you’re trying too hard and not caring at all.
3. … But Don’t Overdress
Everyone likes to look their best. Well … most people, anyway. We all have that neighbor who always wears sweatpants. That being said, there is a point where you cease to look professional. If you look like you’re going out to a dinner with $200 plates, you’re overdressed. No fancy hats, no canes, no Business casual is generally a great way to go, with suits being a clutch option. As long as you don’t look like you’re going to a cocktail party, you should be fine.
4. Avoid Red, Dark Brown, and Black
Let’s face it, colors can be confusing. This is especially true when you get into the realm of attempting to tastefully coordinate yourself. Aside from that fact, they also have the ability to send a subconscious message. Avoid the colors mentioned above at all costs. The exception being black, which should be reserved only for your accessories and extremities (ties, shoes etc.). Wearing a lively color will keep your distance away from mediocrity, but you shouldn’t come off as aggressive, arrogant, or weak in any way.
It’s fairly easy to go in either direction, so ask someone who knows better than you if you’re iffy on it. Something like cornflower blue isn’t such a bad choice per se, but it might be an overly safe choice. Solid colors are easiest to work with, but feel free to experiment with different styles and textures. If you have no idea what this bullet is about, go with white and call it a day.
5. Wear Nice Shoes
It seems like a minor detail, but this is super critical. They pull a whole outfit together, and if done correctly, it’ll make a lasting mark. Sneakers are a huge no-no. If your shoes squeak when you run across an indoor basketball court, you’ve clearly done something wrong. Quite frankly, you really shouldn’t be able to run at all on a floor like that. They should stand apart from the rest of your attire while feeling cohesive at the same time. Oxford shoes that aren’t too rounded or pointy at the toe are best. Finally with regards to the foot region, are you wearing white socks? Don’t, stick to a black pair with no fuzzies sticking off.
If you could make these work, you wouldn’t need help in the first place.
These five steps only covers the basics. Obviously, use your best judgement—context is key. Imagine how funny you’d look if you were interviewing for a farmhand position, and went in a suit and tie (this’ll never happen realistically, but the point still stands). When it comes down to it, just try to be comfortable. Not sweating through the clothes you’re wearing is a pretty big first step. You’re also never fully dressed without a smile. Seriously. You’ll appear confident, and that’ll help you pull off your outfit. If you think you look good, presenting your personality and qualifications can take priority instead of feeling like such a damn putz.