For the average college student, scoring that perfect job or internship can be the most important step you take towards your dream career path.
Besides learning all you can about the job position you’re applying for, prepping for the most common interview questions, and scoping out your potential work space, there’s always the question of dressing the part. Should you put your hair up or down? What about makeup? Yea or nay to accessories? There’s a million possible pieces up in the air.
Luckily for you, you’re not alone. If you want a leg up on the competition, follow our rules on looking your best for a professional interview. (Note: the products in this post are on the pricier side for CF, but well worth it given how essential they are to building a professional wardrobe.)
DO wear a suit unless otherwise stated
Unless you have specifically been directed to wear something casual or semi-formal, your best bet is always going to be on a well-structured suit.
Now, the suit doesn’t have to be a designer brand (no one but you is going to see the tag on your pants!), but it does have to be free of stains, pet hair, and noticeable wrinkles. Do a double check before you leave!
DO take your look to the next level with understated jewelry and accessories
For an interview, you never want to look overly flashy, so it’s best to keep the accessories to a conservative minimum. Pearl earrings and a thin, gold bracelet? Perfect. That extravagant statement necklace that’s weighing down your neck? Leave it for another day.
If you’re deciding on a bag for your interview outfit, go with something that’s simple and office-appropriate. Do not bring a clutch or evening purse into a corporate setting — instead, stick to “classic” work bags, such as a tote or messenger bag. It should be large enough to hold your resume, laptop, or whatever else you are bringing into the interview.
DO keep makeup to a minimum
Like the accessories, makeup should also be kept classy and modest. A good rule of thumb is sticking to the basics: foundation, mascara, and lip balm or lipstick. To stand out, apply light blush and neutral eyeshadow alongside a thin, hazy eyeliner.
Also, definitely run a comb through your hair and make sure that your tresses are neat. As for personal hygiene, take care that your eyebrows and nails look their best as well (read: no half-chipped nail polish allowed).
DO break all of these rules if you’re interviewing in fashion
In her 2014 interview with the Huffington Post, then editor-in-chief of Lucky magazine Eva Chen said, “You should not wear a suit to an interview [in the fashion industry]. That is all. Period.”
Because fashion is all about outer appearance (supporting designers, showcasing your personal style, looking polished), interviews in the fashion industry will be just as equally concerned with what you are wearing as what you’ve listed on your resume.
As such, showcase your personal style — but keep in mind the stylish atmosphere of whatever company or publication you’re interviewing for. An outfit you would wear to a Teen Vogue interview is entirely different from one you would wear to, say, Calvin Klein.