Jul 05, 2020

Clothes make the employee

To snag your dream job, make sure to dress the part

Let’s set the scene: It’s June 2007 and you’re a brand new Fresno State graduate.

Your first job interview is in three days and you want to make the best impression possible.

Your résumé is prepared, you’ve practiced introducing yourself to a potential employer in front of the mirror and even threw in a few smiles. Now you’re convinced that you’re going to nail the interview because all of those things are intact.

Don’t be so fast to assume this yet. One of the most important aspects of a job interview is personal appearance. The regular Dockers and button-up shirt may not cut it.

Daryl Fitzgerald, of Fresno State’s Career Services, said proper attire is so important, it can be the determining factor in a job interview.

“If you don’t look the part, you may be hurting yourself,� Fitzgerald said.

Other aspects of personal appearance are piercings and tattoos. Although some employers are accepting to this type of artistic expression, not all are.

According to Fitzgerald, tattoos and piercings should be covered for two reasons: to avoid stereotyping and to avoid distractions.

“It can be human nature to focus on piercings and tattoos,� Fitgerald said. “I can look at a piercing and begin to think about why they got it or if they have any others.�

At this point an employer may lose his or her train of thought and begin to ask questions about that instead of sticking to the topic at hand.

Maria Llamas, a mechanical engineering major, agrees that too much can be a distraction. “If you think it’d look good at a club, don’t wear it,� she said. “You want them to pay attention to what you’re saying and not focus on you showing too much.�

In order to avoid these appearance mishaps, Fresno State’s Career Services Handbook provides a basic and inexpensive style that will not overwhelm you or the person conducting the interview.

For women, a tailored blouse with a knee-length skirt is recommended. Although pants are more comfortable and acceptable, they’re not recommended for this occasion. Simple pumps and accessories will also suffice.

For men, a solid-colored, two-piece suit is recommended. Polished shoes are a must-have, and socks that do not show skin while crossing your legs are necessary. Bright ties draw focus to the face, but don’t go overboard because it can be a distraction.

Although there are some careers that do not have a strict dress code, it’s still in your best interest to maintain an acceptable appearance for the interview. It’s also a good idea to lay out your outfit the night before the interview, in case you happen to have a tight schedule.

Nuvia Sanchez, a health science major, was having one of those days. She had an interview with Macy’s, but was running behind schedule.

“I was in a rush that day and everything had gone wrong,� Sanchez said.

She chose her outfit the day of the interview, which consisted of casual black pants, a basic top, and California’s favorite footwear: the flip flop.

“I actually got the job,� Sanchez said. “But now I know that next time I need to be prepared because that doesn’t happen all the time.�

For more information on how to dress to impress, the Career Fair will be held March 12-15. The Interview Savvy Panel, March 12 and the Mock interviews, March 15, are designed to give students tips on successful interviews.

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