This is the tenth in a series of blogs supporting the College to Career Calendar available for downloading at

This week’s College to Career Calendar assignment is to determine if you have interview-appropriate clothes and, if not, develop a shopping list of items you need. Then, go shopping. It is not unusually to be called for an interview within days of applying for a job. Often the time between the call and the interview is less than 48 hours. It is better to have your interview outfit hanging in the closet ready to go than to have to spend interview precious preparation time shopping.

Think of your interview outfit as a frame. You want it to complement you, not distract the interviewer. Spend time determining the dress standards for the field you will enter. There are several ways to this:

  • An internet search on what to wear for an interview in your field. Look for articles on job search boards or in professional publications.
  • Ask friends, career service personnel, or profession with experience interviewing in your field for their suggestions.
  • Ask the person who invites you to the interview what interviewees wear to interviews. This works if you have basic interview clothes in your closet you can modify.
  • If your research has been inclusive the following interview basics can be modified for almost any type of interview. Women: Black/navy suit, white/cream color blouse, scarf, black shoes, nylons, small black purse. Men: Black/navy suit, white shirt long sleeve, conservative tie, black shoes, black socks.You can change the formal look of wearing a suit into an informal look by not wearing the jacket. Men can also create a more casual look by not wearing a tie.

Once you have determined what you need, it is time to plan a shopping trip.

  • Start with your closet, what items on the list do you already have?
  • Don’t shop alone. Find a friend or family member who will give you an honest opinion of how things look on you. Before starting your shopping trip go over your list of items and your research on appropriate interview attire.
  • Shop for fit and appropriateness; only you and your shopping companion will know the size you bought and the price you paid. I have seen amazing outfits purchased at thrift stores.

Make sure your interview outfit is ready to wear before you hang it in your closet. It is ready if:

  • Clothes are clean, wrinkle free and in good repair (no sagging hems/missing buttons)
  • Shoes are polished.
  • All accessories are at hand.




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