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Suit Up for Interview Success

Kate Traynor

You've finished your resume, but have you bought your blue suit?

As the end of college approaches, it's time to put away the books, end the all-nighters, and think about entering the working world. If you've secured job interviews with campus recruiters or residency directors, congratulations! But how will you present your best face during the interview? Like it or not, first impressions count, and the interviewer will notice your clothing along with your qualifications. 

It's unlikely that the wardrobe that served you during college is suitable for interviews. And even if the company you hope to work for has a casual dress code, you'll still be expected to wear conservative business clothes during the interview. To the interviewer, casual clothes reflect a casual interest in the job, and no company wants to hire a person who doesn't take the job seriously. 

The interview suit is similar for men and women—conservative, not stylish; dark blue or gray. One or two outfits are all you need to buy as long as they're kept clean and pressed between interviews. If you're looking for a specific list of dressing do's and don'ts, eHow Inc.'s guidelines for men or women is a good place to start. 

Consider accessories to be part of your interview outfit; that means sensible shoes (no sandals), minimal jewelry, and a belt that matches the shoes. Men should wear a necktie with a sedate pattern, and women are expected to wear skin-toned nylons. If you indulged in body piercing, play it safe and remove the excessive rings and studs before your interview. 

This doesn't mean that you're destined for a working life of wearing clothes that don't reflect the real you. When you interview, take time to notice the way others at the company dress for work. You'll likely see individual touches—a loud necktie, maybe some funky jewelry. 

Need more information about dressing appropriately for interviews and making the transition from college to work? Your university probably has a career guidance office and may offer online career resources. To learn more, try these Internet sites: 

College Grad Job hunter—A member of the iCollege Inc. network, this career site discusses dressing for interviews, preparing your resume, and interviewing and offers practical tips for landing that first job.—Part of Inc.'s extensive list of resources for job seekers, this Web page can help you make your first job a successful choice.