Dress for Interview Success

Knowing whether or not the interviewer will perceive your attire as “appropriate” can contribute to your anxiety about a job interview. On one hand, attire is more casual today in many work environments than it was 15-20 years ago. On the other, you do not want to risk that you will be dressed too casually and appear as though you do not care about the job or lack knowledge about industry standards. A few tips you may want to consider:


  • Find out what other employees are wearing, especially those in similar positions to the one in which you are applying
  • If you are unsure, it is better to be overdressed than underdressed; for most positions, including internships, you should avoid jeans, t-shirts, or tennis shoes. You could also wear a jacket or sweater and take it off if the atmosphere appears more casual than what      you had thought.
  • Press your clothes; if you do not have an iron or do not know how to use it, invest in dry cleaning (you can choose the “press only” option to save money)
  • If you are one that easily perspires, you may also want to dress in light-weight clothes or according to weather conditions (e.g., wear short rather than long sleeves in summer months or hot weather). Although you may think your long-sleeved shirts or jackets look nicer, sweat stains under your arms may counteract your good intentions.
  • Additionally, remember to wear deodorant, avoid perfumes or strong fragrances, and gum. Wearing deodorant is simply good hygiene; if you are nervous, you may be more likely to sweat in an interview. Some perfumes or lotions may trigger physical reactions in others (e.g., cause interviewer to have a headache or other allergic reaction). Further, some individuals may overdo perfumes or lotions or chew gum to mask the smell of smoke; it usually does not work, so it is best to avoid smoking at all the day of  the interview, or at least try to avoid between the times you have showered/brushed your teeth and complete the interview. This way you do not have to overcompensate for things that may be a “turn off” to potential employers.

For more information, see How to Dress for Your Next Interview- Forbes.

About Jill Bowers

Jill is a certified family life educator (CFLE), certified family and consumer scientist (CFCS-HDFS), and a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Human and Community Development at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She developed the idea for this project when she was working on a research project where she interviewed emerging adults (18-20 year olds). Work and career related content was something about which the emerging adults were most interested in learning more, and many of the issues that were at the center of their daily concerns were those surrounding their career plans and navigating the job market. Although some of the emerging adults in the study were aware of the fact that they could find information on the Internet to answer their questions or that there were resources available through their college or University, most of them could not recall being required to participate in any professional development courses that helped them with career-related skills and most of them suffered from “information overload” related to their Internet searches for information that would help them with their career paths. For example, some of them had been told about the importance of networking (e.g., at Career Fairs), but they did not really understand what this was or how to do it. Therefore, as a result of her experiences working with emerging adults, Jill initiated this project to help FCS students by providing them with information that will help ensure their success as they navigate the job market.

, , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply


Career Skillet is an online educational resource designed to help students with skills that will help them successfully transition from student to career roles. Please review this Privacy Policy and Disclaimers periodically as we may make changes and updates without prior notice. We will post a date at the bottom of the page, so our audiences can see when the page was most recently updated.

Privacy Policy

We may use information from the Career Skillet site for program improvement or educational purposes (for example, presentations at conferences or publications in journals). Information that we may obtain from the site about you include:

  • -Manage your participation in events, promotions, or research you sign up for on the Career Skillet site.
  • -Analyze trends and statistics regarding visitors’ use of the Career Skillet website (for example, the pages visited, the most popular content, the types of information that our visitors share with others, how long visitors spend on the website, the types of questions visitors ask).
  • -To comply with legal policies and industry standards


To ensure that Career Skillet visitors receive reliable and accurate information, part of our model is to include comments, authored articles, summaries, and other types of content from contributing authors. Career Skillet assumes no responsibility for documents posted by users or contributing authors although we will make every attempt to block or delete offensive material or any information that conflicts with the goals and mission of Career Skillet.

Contributing authors come from various backgrounds and were invited to contribute to the Career Skillet websites because of their expertise. The contributing authors are not responsible for the information posted by other authors.

Career Skillet will link to other websites. These links are provided as a convenience to visitors. Therefore, these links should not be considered an endorsement of the other website, and Career Skillet is not responsible for the content on the third-party websites. Although we are selective and only generally reference articles, infographics, or other materials on third-party websites that we believe is of quality, when you link to third-party websites, you do so at your own risk. If Career Skillet links to information on your website and you would like it removed, or you believe that Career Skillet is violating your website’s copyright policies, we ask that you notify Career Skillet in writing of a copyright infringement click here. If we remove or disable access to content in response to a copyright infringement notice you sent, we will make every attempt to notify you.

If you wish to use the content on the Career Skillet website for another website or online resource of similar nature, we ask that you do not duplicate our original content and that you list the Career Skillet name and provide a direct link back to the Career Skillet website. Please notify us and tell us how you are using our content.

For Questions, comments, or Advertising inquires please submit the following form and we will contact you back as soon as possible.

Your Name: *
E-mail Address: *
Subject: *
Message Details:  

*=required field
[php] include('mathcaptcha.php');[/php]