Time to Play Dress 'Up'

Back in the good old days (aka 1999) it was cool, fun, and “cutting edge” to wear khaki slacks, blue jeans, button up shirts and even t-shirts with designs on them to the office.  A decade ago it was considered a way to be progressive, and to appear to be the part of the new technology generation of “Gen Y” that was taking the Internet by storm and making millionaires out of teenagers.  But if you are still under the impression that “casual chic” is appropriate, think again.

Times have changed and we are going old school in this week’s job search article.   It’s time to clean up your act and take a real assessment of your external appearance.

A few examples:

Dress Mistake #1:  You think some facial hair and a looser, longer haircut adds to your image as a genius? Think again, you look scruffy, lazy, and a bit dirty.   No one wants to be the guy or gal who doesn’t seem to shower and is too lazy to go get their hair cut.  Appearance counts, and in this competitive job market, cut your hair.  That’s an order!

Dress Mistake #2:  You show up to the interview in your best Abercrombie and Fitch khaki slacks and a button up shirt, and you choose to not wear a tie because you don’t like them.  Get over it. buddy, and put on the tie and head down to Joseph A. Banks or  Men’s Wearhouse and pick up a suit.   Bargain shop, I don’t care, but do it.  If you really hate ties, fine, go without, but if you are not wearing a suit ensemble to the interview, why bother showing up at all?  Just go down to Occupy Wall Street and hang in the tents, you might as well if you are not going to take the time to look like a serious job candidate.

Dress  Mistake #3:  Ladies, the same rule applies to you, go get a suit and put it on!  I don’t care how amazing your butt looks in a DVF wrap dress, don’t wear it to a job interview.  And seriously, how much jewelry does one truly need to wear?  Go back to basics for the interview: small earnings, or a small necklace, but I usually don’t wear both unless I’m going out for the evening.  Think simple, and think classic.   Audrey Hepburn was a beauty, but I would never wear the amount of pearls she did in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.   Don’t do it, resist.  The same rule goes for your hair (straighten it or use a defrizzer) and please, get a trim.  If you have dark roots, you can find a root touch up brush at Duane Reade or Walgreens.   It doesn’t take that much  money or effort to look good, but SOME effort would be nice.

Dress Mistake #4:  Walking into an interview carrying a backpack.  You may be right out of college, and it may be great for your back if you do a lot of walking, but I DON’T CARE and neither do hiring managers.  I’m looking to hire a professional, not a fresh-off-campus co-ed who still thinks it’s acceptable to carry a book bag.  Got it?

Dress Mistake #5:  Buy new shoes or shine the best pair you have.    Men please wear leather loafers with socks;  Ladies wear pumps (you need to have at least one pair of pumps.)  Do you hate walking around in heels?  Fine, there are ballet flats you can buy that roll up in your briefcase.  They have them at Target, Wal-Mart and Gap for under $10.