From Costume to Dream Career

From Costume to Dream Career

By: Stephanie Munez
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The common saying goes, “dress for the job you want, not the job that you have.” Treat each work day or interview as an opportunity that will bring you closer to that dream career. In an interview, the employer is focused on learning about you and your skills, but first impressions on your visual appearance do naturally play a role in their final decision. Studies have shown that in the interview process, employers decide to consider an applicant within the first 10 seconds of entering the room because of appearance. First impressions are important because it is one of the ways that you market yourself as product. It also shows employers how you intend on representing their company to clients, business partners, and the general public. It is therefore a good idea to set a positive first impression. Here are a few tips on how to dress for success:

Look the part

  • Simplicity
    • Choose appropriate workplace attire that is clean and pressed
    • Avoid wearing flashy accessories that could distract you or the interviewer
    • Your makeup should look natural, instead of coloured eyeshadows or smokey eyes
    • Make sure your nail polish is not chipped, avoid using glittery types
  • Be conservative
    • Avoid wearing extremely short, revealing, tight, see-through, or backless clothing
    • Ensure your dress shoes are suitable and polished, ladies’ heels should be kept under 3”
    • Tattoos should not be displayed (if possible)
    • Only two ear piercings should be visible
  • Hygiene
    • Shower and wear deodorant
    • Hair should be clean and combed
    • Shave or groom any facial hair
    • Brush your teeth and ensure you have good breathe
    • Avoid perfume or cologne, or if you do, use sparingly. (Some people are sensitive to certain scents)

Here are some photos of outfits do’s and don’ts.

Your workplace wardrobe depends on the industry and company. If you are unsure, ask your employer (ie. the person who contacts you to coordinate the interview), research the industry and workplace culture (ie. by doing a site visit prior), or look at an infographic of dress codes.

If you are interested in hearing more about what our Career Services and Work Integrated Learning Staff have to say about workplace wardrobe, read up on our Twitter Chat this week.

Most importantly, do not forget that you are to look the part, but you should also be acting the part. Make a well-informed and conscious effort on your wardrobe choices, but also spend just as much time, if not more, preparing for your interview. Reflect on past experiences, prepare short stories to provide evidence of your skills and attributes, research the company, practice sample questions and compile good questions to ask interviewers. You can always practice interview strategies through role-play or mock interview and Career Services is here to help. Good luck!

Additional resources:



Lead image from:

Posted on October 30, 2013