6 Ways NOT to Dress for a Summer Job Interview
by Vicky Oliver
Young people make delightful employees. They're full of energy, fresh
ideas, and they're generally positive and enthusiastic. But sometimes they
don't have a clear idea about office etiquette and what managers expect in
the way of attire and presentation.
To put it bluntly, they walk into summer job interviews wearing "fashion
don'ts" that could actually undermine their chances of landing a job.
Don't let this happen to you! Here are a few tips on how NOT to dress for
that summer job interview.
Tone down your nails. For this job, your nails don't belong in the Museum
of Modern Art. Everywhere these days we see women with four nails on one
hand in one shade and one nail in another shade, often adorned with
sparkles, fake diamonds, and other "nail jewels." This is TOO creative for
most office environments. You don't want your interviewer to be mesmerized
more by your fingertips than by what comes out of your mouth.
Cover yourself up. It's tempting during warm weather for ladies to wear
tiny tank tops, sheer blouses with lacy underthings, and hemlines that show
a lot of leg. For guys, it's muscle tees, unbuttoned shirts, and shorts.
Cleavage, arm muscles, chest hair, upper thighs, or heaven forbid, midriffs
are great for the tiki bar, but not for a job interview.
Look cool, not hot. If it's 100 degrees outside and you'll be walking to
your job interview or riding public transportation, wear a shirt that you
can quickly change out of before the meeting. Keep a tissue handy in your
purse or pocket to dab those beads of sweat off your nose and brow. Fair or
not, showing up sweaty for a job interview makes you look nervous and
Save sandals for the beach. Wearing open-toed shoes or sandals gives a
bad impression. You look too casual for an office, and could come across as
seeming disrespectful toward the corporate culture. Also, showing naked toes
just invites people to look at your feet and nails, from the color of your
nail polish or lack of it to the trim of your nails. Is that what you want
your interviewer thinking about while you're trying to sell yourself?
Nix the tattoos and piercings. If you have tattoos that are easily
concealed by a long-sleeve shirt or trousers, cover them up. If you have
piercings on your nose, lips, or eyebrows, refrain from bedazzling your face
for one hour. Unless you're applying for a job as a nightclub bartender,
these trendy adornments aren't going to enhance your professional chances.
It's hip to be square. Don't try to make a summertime fashion statement
with a Hawaiian shirt, indoor sunglasses, a backwards baseball cap, or
bangles up to your elbows. It's one thing to look sharp and maybe feature a
single item of clothing or accessory that makes you stand out, such as an
expensive briefcase or a unique color. It's another to look like you're
headed for the Jersey Shore.
Vicky Oliver has written five
bestselling career development books in a row, including
301 Smart Answers to Tough Business Etiquette Questions and the newly
The Millionaire's Handbook: How to Look and Act like a Millionaire, Even if You're Not. She lives in Manhattan, where she helps people turn around
their careers and their lives.