March 28, 2007 Edition

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Dressing for a job interview

By Linda Lou Moore

There have been numerous surveys concerning manners in the workplace. The conclusions find that most highly successful people are aware of how to conduct themselves in variety of situations.

Good business manners can help make life easier ~ no matter if you are just beginning your career, or if you are changing jobs. Knowing what to do can help you to feel comfortable. If you are ready to graduate, or wanting to change jobs, looking for a new career can be a daunting experience.

You've sent out your resume and have now received the call to come for a job interview. Although there are many variables connected with the job interview, there is one thing you can control. It is the way you dress for the job interview.

Your appearance should reflect respect for you and for the job. As you walk in the door, your appearance is what often makes the first impression upon your prospective employer.

When dressing for a job interview, it is always a good idea to:

(A) Toss on whatever you can find in your closet.

(B) Wear a ball cap, it covers your dirty hair.

(C) Make a strong fashion statement, you look great in spandex.

(D) Dress according to the company's dress code.

If you answered (D), you are well on your way to making a positive first impression.

With the relaxations of dress codes, it is often confusing as to what to wear to a job interview. There may be some things that you can't control during your interview, but knowing how to dress for the job interview is the one thing you can control. If you are uncertain as to what type of dress is appropriate for your job interview you can call the company's human resource director and ask about the dress code.

If you know someone who works at the company or has information regarding the dress policy, ask for their suggestion as to what to wear. It is often said that: "Seeing is believing." A trip to the business site before your interview can help you determine the acceptable dress.

You can enhance your professional appearance by selecting clothing that is:

The appropriate clothing can help you feel confident and assured.

Dress to impress

Many business organizations want an employee who will reflect their company image. Knowing what the company expects will show that you have done your 'homework.' Here are some tried and true tips from the professionals:

Neat and clean ~ While it appears obvious that being neat and clean for a job interview is of the upmost importance, there are horror stories from interviewers telling of applicants arriving in dirty, messy or sloppy clothes.

Neat and clean are the winning combinations.

Good hygiene is a must. Shower, use deodorant, brush and floss your teeth and make certain your hair is clean.

Appearance ~ What you wear at home or with friends may not be acceptable in the business environment. Check the dress code of the company with which you are interviewing.

What may work for one company may not work at another. Be flexible and adapt. That may mean dressing differently for different companies.

In most instances:

Surveys have found that job applicants who project a professional image often command a higher starting salary than those who do not. Don't let a distracting appearance sabotage your chances when interviewing for a job.

Linda Lou Moore is trained and certified by the Protocol School of Washington, in Washington D.C. She offers customized individual and group etiquette programs for children, teens and adults. She may be reached at P.O. Box 145, Paragould, Arkansas 72451 or at

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