Caleb Craft was a previous Graduate Administrative Associate at Engineering Career Services.
You worked hard in classes, made it through your engineering projects, crafted a near-perfect resume, and now you’ve landed an interview. Congratulations! Now as the big day approaches, the last thing you want is for your appearance to stand in the way of securing the position you’re after. Be sure you are dressed for success by following these three rules of professional attire for men.
Rule #1 – Don’t stand out
I know it sounds contradictory to everything you have been told about interviewing, but your appearance is the one place you should not try to set yourself apart from the competition. The standard for interviews is a dark, business suit with a neatly-pressed white or blue long sleeve dress shirt. Don’t go pin-stripe, don’t wear one of those shiny glitter suits from prom, just a plain dark blue, grey, or black suit will do. Same rule goes for the tie, keep it conservative. Don’t do bright, flashy colors or crazy designs. As for shoes, go for dark, polished leather with coordinating, dark socks. Undoubtedly, some of you are reading this first rule thinking, “If I dress like that, I will look like everyone else! How will the employer remember me?” Trust me, an employer should remember you because of your performance during an interview, not because you were dressed like a game show host.
Rule #2 – Remember appearance is more than your clothes
Beyond the suit, there are a few things to keep in mind. For example, it’s probably a good idea to get a haircut the week before your interview. If you can’t, just make sure the back of your neck is under control – this is a weak spot for a lot of guys. Also, trim and clean your fingernails. As a bearded man writing in the month of November, it pains me to say this but, when it comes to facial hair the safest bet is a clean shave. If you opt to keep the beard, make sure it is neatly trimmed.
Rule #3 – Avoid odors!
Seems simple enough, but it’s pretty important. You don’t want to distract the interviewer from what’s important. Take a shower and put on deodorant. Those two are obviously non-negotiable. Don’t wear any cologne or smoke a cigarette right before your interview. You never know what kind of allergies the interviewer may have, and a job interview is not the time to find out. Unsure of what your breath may smell like? Enjoy a mint (complements of the ECS Front Desk) before you greet the company representative. Bottom line: Try not to smell like anything so your interviewer can concentrate on you instead of smell.
Remember, your appearance will never get you a job but it can certainly stand in the way. Follow these three easy rules and you should be set. Good luck!
"My success was not based so much on any great intelligence but on great common sense."
-Helen Gurley Brown