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Preparing for the Interview: Dressing for Success


You’ve sent in your résumé, anxiously waited for a callback, and finally landed the interview. Congratulations! Before you head out the door to meet your potential employer, be sure to think about what you plan to wear. You’ve tailored your résumé for this employer—you should put in just as much effort presenting yourself in person. Though it may seem trivial, constructing the perfect interview outfit is worth the effort and can help you make it to the next round and hopefully be hired!

A polished look shows potential employers not only that you have the skills and qualifications necessary for performing the job, but also that you value your time with them and are serious about making a lasting impression. Unfortunately, many job seekers undermine the importance of dressing properly, and as a result, they do not leave an interview with a successful outcome. As you prepare for the Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair and practice answering interview questions, here are some helpful tips for pulling together a winning interview look:

1. Always err on the conservative side.
What we wear may be an extension of our individuality, but it’s not a good idea to go over the top in your interview attire. The legal world tends to be conservative, and you should keep this in mind when dressing. Wear neutral and classic colors such as black, navy and dark gray. Remember, it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed!

2. If it doesn’t fit, don’t wear it.
Clothes that cling to your body will be uncomfortable, which can be distracting when trying to ace an interview. It can also look unprofessional. Your attire should always be well-fitting, and never too revealing. Play it safe; if you have to ask yourself if it’s too risky, it probably is.

3. Limit your accessories.
The interview is a time to focus on you and your qualifications. If you wear too many accessories, it may be a distraction for employers. If you choose to wear nail polish, make sure it is not chipped, unprofessional, or overly busy. Avoid wearing chunky bracelets, necklaces and wrist watches. Keep your earrings simple - too much bling could steal your shine.

4. Always wear a tie.
Men should always wear a tie to interviews. Wearing a suit without a tie comes off as too casual. Your tie should be conservative, and avoid wearing loud colors and prints as they can be distracting to employers.

5.Know the company culture.
Looking up the company policy and dress code can be a good barometer for how formal your interview attire should be. If the company or organization you are interviewing with has a conservative work culture, you should wear a business suit. If they are more casual, you can wear a suit jacket and slacks.

6. Pay attention to details and look professional
You should show up to your interview with neatly trimmed and styled hair, pressed and clean clothes, and fingernails that have been trimmed and cleaned. Additionally, make sure your briefcase or purse is professional.  Avoid using heavy perfume or cologne.

For more information on the 2012 Conference Career Fair, please visit or you can follow the latest updates on Twitter by using #EJWCCF

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