How to Dress for a Job Interview

How to Dress for a Job Interview

Whether you are just coming out of a domestic violence situation or you’re taking steps to leave one by finding a job, the process can seem overwhelming. Whether you’re applying for a job or revamping your resume, there are many little steps along the way that can improve your chances of getting hired.

One of those little things is clothes; knowing what to wear for your interview can mean the difference between a paycheck and almost-a-paycheck – and you can only take one of those to the bank. The first thing to remember when choosing clothes for an interview is that your appearance – despite having nothing to do with your capabilities – is the first thing potential employers see, so make that first impression count with these wardrobe tips.

Why Your Interview Clothes Matter

It’s 2019, and a woman (or a man) can wear anything they want, but you also need to consider that clothing options should vary depending on the occasion. A mini-skirt at a party or for the beach is great, but it’s the kind of garment that may give employers pause. Here’s why wearing professional and appropriate attire matters for job interviews:

  • Dressing well for an interview shows you are taking the job prospect seriously enough to care about your clothes.
  • Your attire is a reflection of how you see yourself – what you wear is the first indicator of who you are.
  • Wearing professional clothes helps you feel more like a professional, which boosts your confidence at the interview.

Aside from these, employers who have a big stack of applicants may wean people out by their attire alone. Additionally, people don’t always understand their own responses. If they see someone in party clothes or dressed sloppily at an interview, they may not take the applicant seriously – and they may not even do it on purpose. Their mind says, “s/he doesn’t seem prepared,” regardless of what applicants say after.

How to Dress for Success

Job interview attire may vary depending on the job, but all interviewers expect applicants to look neat and put-together. If you’ve been a stay-at-home mom for a few years or even just out of the work-place, that alone may be a challenge. Here are some tried and true clothing options for women that look professional and stand the test of time.

  • Pencil skirt, button-down shirt, and jacket. You don’t have to wear a suit to an interview, but this trio of items mimics that look and can help you feel confident.
  • Slacks, a colorful blouse, and a neutral jacket. Slacks or khakis are more professional than denim, and you can always dress them up with a printed or colorful top. The jacket will pull the outfit together.
  • Slacks and a cardigan. Fitted cardigans and sweaters coupled with slacks or pants create a more relaxed, but still professional look.
  • Simple black dress and tights. When paired with textured or slightly colored tights, a simple black dress can be a perfect interview outfit for an administrative job.
  • A-line skirt, blouse, fitted jacket/cardigan. This kind of outfit is a classic, and employers will recognize this as a silhouette that is often seen in businesses.

These options can all be mixed and matched to suit a variety of interviews – or be revamped for a second interview. They are also available in all kinds of sizes and styles. And remember, it’s just as important to dress professionally as a man as it is for a woman – and jeans are never the answer.

Dress Like You Want the Job

Your clothes speak before you do – they can exude confidence and professionalism or discomfort and anxiety. It doesn’t take much time or money to create a few interview-ready outfits. Luckily, Pak Ratz, an upscale thrift shop that helps support The Women’s Center, offers these kinds of attires in nearly new condition. Professional men’s wear is also always available at Pak Ratz, as are accessories like shoes and ties. If you explain to our volunteers that you are looking for clothes for a job interview, they can help you find exactly what you need.