Mary-Jo’s Tips on How to Dress for Success

Finally! You have the opportunity to be interviewed for that dream job that you have always wanted. You know that you have the charisma and a great personality to become part of that prestigious company; however, you certainly know that it’s all about that first impression. “What should I do?” you start panicking. Don’t worry! The Director of Paul Sullivan Leadership Institute, Mary-Jo Griffin, held an extraordinary presentation on how to dress for success. And here are 10 of her tips that you should follow before heading to your interview:

  • Ladies:

Q: Is it okay to wear pants to an interview, or should I stick to a dress?
A: “Wear your A-Game!” says Mary-Jo. Either pants or skirt suits are okay, with a color preference of grey, black, or navy. She recommends that the skirt-length should not be shorter than your knee or longer than just beneath your knee. Neutral-colored Pantyhose: a must!

Q: I love vibrant colors; thus, is it okay to wear a splash of color?
A: She suggests wearing a harmonized blouse with no vibrant colors or designs. In the same way, your nails have to be painted with neutral or pastel colors. Try to avoid plastic or extravagant jewelry, and limit yourself by wearing one ring per hand.

Q: How about my makeup?
A:  It’s okay to wear makeup! Just be careful not to use too much; it should be light or neutral. Moreover, don’t let your hair go all over your face, pull it back! You might not want any distraction during your big day.

Q: What else should I bring with me?
A: You should carry a purse or a briefcase with your portfolio (if it applies). Don’t forget to bring a pen and notebook, as well as your presentation cards. Make sure all your information is updated and written correctly.

Q: How about my shoes?
A: DO NOT wear open-toed shoes or athletic shoes. Platform shoes are okay. High-heels are recommended, but don’t use the same ones that you usually use to go dancing or meeting your girlfriends.

  • Gentlemen:

Q: What color should I wear and what should I bring to the interview?
A: You should wear a conservative suit of solid colors like black, gray, brown or navy. Don’t forget to bring your briefcase and/or portfolio along with pen and notebook, and your updated presentation cards.

Q: What color my shirt should be? Can I wear short sleeves?
A: It is preferable to wear a white or light blue long-sleeved shirt with sleeves that cover one-quarter inch beyond your suit jacket. It’s okay to wear a coat, especially during New England’s cold winter.

Q: What about my socks; should I matched with my shirt or my suit? How about my tie?
A: Griffin advises men to wear socks in a color that balances the suit. Yet, please don’t wear athletic socks. And your tie should have a traditional pattern and color to match the suit.

PS: If you don’t know how to tie your tie, here’s a helpful easy-steps video:

Q: I don’t think I should shave my beard; should I?
A: She suggests that men should consider the idea of shaving or trimming their beard, for an immaculate appearance. Believe it or not, Griffin explains that although your appearance may not be the main reason why someone won’t hire you, “40 percent of employers’ criteria of choosing their employee” is based upon this particular issue.

Q: My earrings are part of my personality; thus, should I leave them on?
A: You should remove any visible piercings for the same reason mentioned previously. And, if you have long hair, you should wear a ponytail.

“You will never have a second chance to make that first impression,” Griffin says. She says that, when going to an interview, we should dress like we are applying for a position two steps up instead of the one we are looking for at the moment. Remember, you ought to “dress for success!”

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