Dress for Interview Success
You’re knee-deep in your military-to-civilian job search. You’ve prepared your resume. You’ve networked on LinkedIn, other social sites and with fellow veterans seeking employment. You’ve researched companies, attended career fairs, and applied online. Now you’ve landed an interview. What should you wear?
In the military, your work attire was decided for you. But as an integral part of the hiring process, dressing appropriately for an interview is key. Your choice of clothing probably won’t knock you out of the running, but first impressions do matter. Appearing too casual or inconsistent with the dress code of the company and the job you are pursuing could make it difficult for managers to envision you serving in that role.
Here are some strategies for getting it right:
Stick to your wheelhouse
This is not the day to try out a new look. Wear something that is appropriate, but also comfortable, and try it on ahead of time. If you feel at home in your clothing, you’ll be less likely to pull at your collar or jacket, or adjust your skirt or pants, making you look ill at ease.
Remember, you want to keep the focus on you and what you bring to the table! Don’t make your outfit the center of attention. Avoid too big or too much jewelry and things in your pockets or briefcase that jingle or make noise. Don’t wear too many distinct pieces or patterns in your outfit. And turn off your phone!
Dress one notch above
Military.com notes: “Dressing one notch above the person you're interviewing with shows respect for the occasion (the interview) and confidence in yourself. Are you interviewing with someone who might be in a business suit? Then wear a business suit with a tie and pocket square. Will your interviewer be wearing a casual skirt and top? Consider wearing a more professional sheath dress, with polished heels. If employees wear jeans and a t-shirt to work, you are appropriate wearing slacks, a dress shirt and a sports coat (no tie) to the interview.”
Our wardrobes reflect who we are, so above all else, you must feel like yourself in your clothing choices. Do you hate suits? Then be careful interviewing for a job where you’ll have to wear one. You have the skills and the passion to contribute your talents to the civilian workplace. And you’re poised to shine and present your best self in an interview when you’re feeling comfortable and polished.