Thursday, March 24, 2011

Work it! What to wear (and not wear) to your next job interview

In February, Career Development Services held a special kind of fashion show. They showed an audience of career hunters the best (and worst) ways to make a good first impression, and how to maintain that look so co-workers and clients know you're serious about your job. We received a lot of help from our sponsors, Daffy's, The Art InstituteHello Home, and Hello World, and were thankful for donations from Downtown Accessories, Career Wardrobe, and Mary Kay Cosmetics. 

It was a high-energy, educational event that was made all the better with the help of our talented emcees, Kimberly Harris and Michael Robinson, and our crew of staff and students turned models.

The crowd learned a lot that night about how to dress for interviews and in the office. Many of these guidelines are outlined below for you -- whether your office dress code is business formal, traditional business, general business, or business casual. As you might have guessed, the rules are somewhat different for men and women.

This advice comes with permission from Sherry Maysonave's website, www.casualpower.com. Sherry is the author of "Casual Power" and producer of "Brand a Positive Business Image."

First, rules for the guys and some important dos and don'ts regarding your appearance (click the image to enlarge).



And next, the rules for ladies.



Beyond these important tips, there are a few other tricks for looking your best at interviews and on the job.

1. Get the look for less. If you don't want to invest too much money in professional attire for work, consider visiting second-hand stores in more affluent neighborhoods. You'll likely find brand name clothes in great condition for a fraction of their original price.

2. Shop for the essentials. These pieces are absolute musts for any work wardrobe.
  • A black suit, with a classic tie for men
  • A crisp, tailored, white shirt
  • A tailored jacket
  • A pair of sensible black pumps (for women) or black leather dress shoes (for men)
  • A pair of black or nude stockings (for women) or black dress socks (for men)
3. Wear what's expected, not what's memorable. The interview is your chance to show potential employers what sets you apart from the crowd, but don't try to make an impression with an outfit that's unexpected. Wait to express your personal style once you've established yourself at work, and even then, consider your office's culture first.

Check back for a video featuring fashion show highlights and a photo slideshow of students and staff strutting their stuff!