Rock Your Interview: Five Tips on Dressing For Success

With internships, interviews, and career fairs, figuring out what to wear can be an overwhelming task. We’re often told to “dress for success”– but why is it so important? 

Many factors play a role in job interviews, with a clean and neat professional appearance being one of the top priorities. Once you enter the room (whether virtual or in-person) to meet with a future employer, their first impression of you starts with your clothing and appearance. Thus, it is vital to dress the way you want to be seen: professional, successful, and the type of candidate a company wants to hire. 

According to Inc Magazine, 71% of interviewers will pass on a candidate who isn’t appropriately dressed. When you walk into the room, the first two things that interviews typically notice are your attire and your timeliness. Plus, what you wear has a great impact on your self-confidence and how you carry yourself through the interview. 

Don’t let your outfit stand in between you and your dream job. Follow these five tips on dressing for success!

Tip 1: Make a great first impression

There’s no such thing as being overdressed for an interview; you have one chance to make a good impression! The more well-dressed you are, the more likely you are to be taken seriously by your interviewer.

For a larger or more formal organization, go for business formal, which usually means a suit. For smaller organizations or ones with a more relaxed culture, you can wear business casual. Check out this page for more ideas on how to dress.

Tip 2: Keep it Simple, but Professional

Wear something you’re comfortable in so you can feel polished and confident. It’s always a safe bet to go with dress pants or a skirt with a button-down shirt or top, and you can add a blazer to make it more formal. Avoid strong-smelling cologne, perfume, as well as accessories that distract away from your face. You want your experience, skills, and personality to be the focus, not your wardrobe. 

Tip 3: Pay Attention to Detail

Non-verbal cues are just as important as verbal cues during an interview. Make sure your clothes are clean, neat, and ironed and that you color coordinate your outfits. 

Tip 4: Shopping, Shopping, Shopping!

Affordable clothing items are often hard to find in Boston. Thankfully, there are many discounted stores near BU that have a variety of professional clothing items. Stores like Goodwill and Buffalo Exchange offer second-hand clothing at significantly reduced prices but you might have to do some digging to find clothes that fit perfectly or look brand new.  If you prefer to buy new items, you can use your BU ID to get a 15% discount at H&M and JCrew.

Tip 5: Visit BU’s New Professional Clothing Closet 

The Boston University Professional Clothing Closet is a new collaborative initiative of the Center for Career Development and the Newbury Center providing all BU students with free professional clothing. Whether you are an undergraduate or a graduate student, stop by the CCD to take advantage of this wonderful resource. 

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