Dressing for Success—What Does This Mean?


By Amy Ouellette, Vice President of Chapter Development

If you attended our meeting on March 18, you saw a fabulous presentation by Cheryl McGuire from Madam Ha’dem in Marblehead where she spoke about how to dress to impress for a job interview. There were a few points that she emphasized:

1. The human resources manager is the gatekeeper. We may be preparing for a creative industry, but the interview isn’t the place to express that creativity.

2. Do as much homework about a company as you can. This might mean checking out the company’s dress code by discreetly sitting in a lobby or sitting in the parking lot and seeing what people are wearing when they come and go from the building.

3. Do a dry run of your outfit ahead of time to make sure skirt lengths aren’t too short and that nothing is too tight. An appropriate skirt for an interview should come to your knee, at least.

4. Make sure your outfit is ironed. It doesn’t matter how professional your outfit is if you look like a wrinkled mess! If you don’t know how to iron well, learn now before you have to iron a special outfit. There is nothing worse than buying a new skirt and burning an iron mark on it. Trust me on this one!

5. Wear comfortable shoes that look professional and that you can easily walk in. Don’t wear heels that are too high or would be more appropriate for a night at a dance club.

6. Wear pantyhose. Bare legs aren’t appropriate for an interview!

7. Keep your hair simple. A simple low ponytail can look good for an interview if you have long hair. Make sure your hair is out of your face and a spritz of hair spray is great to keep flyaways at bay!

8. Ladies, keep your makeup simple. Don’t wear eye makeup that has too much shimmer or shine. Don’t overdo the eyeliner, especially liquid liner.

9. Stay away from wearing any fragrance! You never know if someone has an allergy or is sensitive to smells and sometimes it’s just a little more overpowering than we realize.

10. Make sure your nails and hands look decent. This goes for men and women. Ladies, if you can, get a manicure. If you can’t, make sure your nails are even, neatly filed, and free of hangnails. Using a cuticle oil or vitamin E oil on your nails every night before bed is a good habit to get into because it helps your nails, even if you can’t get regular manicures. If you choose to wear nail polish to an interview, aim for a pale pink or beige color and make sure you don’t have any chips in your polish.

While they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, the fact of the matter remains that people are judged based on their appearance. Dressing appropriately improves confidence and increases the perception of credibility at an interview. It shows an attention to detail and this is important to convey.

Before this workshop, I was sent this quote from Mark Twain: “Clothes make the man…Naked people have little or no influence on society.” Naked can also mean dressed inappropriately. Either way, how you look during an interview is important and I hope you take these tips seriously when interviewing for jobs and internships!


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