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Working Women: 10 Must Do's When Dressing for a Successful Interview

Congratulations! But you don’t want to blow it by making critical errors when it comes to dressing for that interview, right?

Well, here are my top 10 Must Do’s for working women when dressing for a successful interview:

1. Well groomed hair.

Ever heard a friend’s advice about never getting a haircut right before taking a picture or going to a special event? Well, the same is true when it comes to interviewing. The night before your big interview is NOT the time to try a do-it-yourself highlighting kit or any new look. Your new change might backfire on you, and in the end, make your less secure for your meeting. Save your new look for another moment!

2. Wear some color.

Now, I’m not suggesting you should go into the interview looking like an easter egg, but let’s face it…if you wear all black at an interview you look too serious – especially if you match it with a serious hair style. If you have chosen to wear a suit, throw on a blouse underneath, or a scarf to give your outfit a little kick with some color! Do not show cleavage!

3. Keep your breath in check.

Let’s face it; everybody gets nervous just before having an interview, this is especially true if you really want the position. Your palms may get clammy and your mouth may get dry. That may be the perfect time to pop in a breath mint! Not only will it make you feel more confident when you open your mouth to speak, it will also help prevent your mouth and throat from drying - making it easier to speak and clear your throat.

4. Conservative colors

Conservative colors in various shades of blue and gray are best. Yes, it’s important to add some color (see #2), but an interview is not the time or place to make a fashion statement. If you are applying for a job in an art field, you can be more adventurous with your style. But most people should keep it conservative. Take your 4 basic colors, black, blue, brown and grey, with these color palettes you have a multitude of outfits in your closet that I know can be interchangeable. Dressing for success also means looking at what you have in your closet, then putting a look together that gives you confidence and makes you fell successful.

5. Find something that makes you feel empowered and ready to take on the world!

Don’t select that pair of pants hanging in your closet that are an inch too long or short. You know the pair I’m talking about…. the ones you haven’t had time to hem. Trust me; those pants will make you feel and think frumpy, not fabulous. Remember you can always match a jacket with a different skirt or pair of pants...be creative.

6. Make sure your shoes are CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN….and polished.

Nothing is worse than scuffed, worn-out looking shoes. I cannot stress this enough! Nobody is expecting you to go out and buy a pair of brand-new shoes for your interview. But definitely take the time to give your shoes a good clean and polish the night before your big day.

7. Clean, trimmed nails.

Polish is fine…as long as it is conservative and matches the rest of your appearance, a natural polish is always best. But please….no little painted on pictures and your fingers or toes. The 4th of July may only be 2 days away, but your interviewer will not find the little red, white, and blue flags painted on your nails amusing or professional - just inappropriate. Leave that look to your teenage daughter. Trust me, it will not give the impression you want.

8. Match your purse and shoes.

I’m not suggesting they should look like they are a matching set, but try to take the time to pick out a purse that goes with your outfit, and particularly, your shoes. Do not show up to your interview with that cute little straw handbag you toted around all weekend while you were out with your girlfriends or use your babies diaper bag because it is convenient and holds everything. When in doubt leave your purse in the trunk of your car if necessary.

9. Stand up straight

I know, it can be hard to admit it, but my mom was right in this case. Posture matters. Her mantra “stand up straight” still rings in my head. Keep in mind – 90% of all communication is nonverbal. Your fabulous attire and smashing resume won’t be nearly as memorable as your hunched over appearance and scared stiff expression may be when that interview door swings open, and it’s your moment to shine.

10. Confidence

My last piece of advice for dressing for a successful interview is simple. Take a few moments to pop into the restroom to check yourself in the mirror before you let your interviewer know you’ve arrived. Straighten your scarf, jacket or blouse and brush your hair. Touch up your lipstick. Look at yourself in the mirror and remind yourself that you’re the best person for the job. Now it’s time to show the interviewers that you are right for the job! Always have a win!! win!! attitude.

Just remember, relax, be happy and have confidence and smile when you walk in the room!


Remember, if you shoot for the moon and miss, you are still among the stars!

Valerie Fitzgerald

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