A group of adults dressed in business professional attire.

Appearance Success

General Appearance Guidelines

  • Research the company's dress code. Ask when you are offered the interview, call an administrative assistant, or ask someone in your network that is familiar with the company culture.
  • Apparel should be clean, neatly pressed, coordinated, fit well, and remain in place while sitting and/or walking.
  • Always have fresh breath and clean body hygiene. Take a shower, use deodorant, and brush your teeth.
  • Make sure your hair is clean, neat, and conservatively styled. Avoid styles that cover your eyes or ones that you have to brush back.
  • Fingernails should be cleaned and trimmed without ragged edges. Avoid bold nail polish; keep nails unpolished, or use clear or neutral tones.
  • Remove visible body piercings and cover tattoos whenever possible.
  • Empty pockets. Avoid bulging pockets and items that make noise (e.g., coins).
  • Subtle or no fragrance is best.
  • Carry a portfolio with pen, paper, and extra copies of your resume/cover letter.

Success Tips for Women

  • Pants or skirts in navy blue, black, gray, or brown paired with a light-colored blouse and jacket is recommended.
    • Be on the conservative side when choosing a skirt length.
    • Blouses should be a simple style. White or soft colors are best; long or short sleeves, but not sleeveless.
    • Avoid bold colors, low-cut necklines, spaghetti straps, and exposed midriff.
  • Hose should be beige, tan, or natural color without any runs.
  • Medium or low-heeled shoes, polished. Leave scrappy shoes and high heeled shoes at home.
  • Keep make-up simple and natural.
  • No more than one ring on each hand and one set of earrings.

Success Tips for Men

  • A suit is acceptable but not required. Traditional colors such as dark blue, grey, or black are best.
  • Dark pants in black, brown, or khaki with a white button-down shirt and tie or classic collared shirt.
  • Ties should coordinate with pants and be professional; no theme ties.
  • Dark socks.
  • Shoes should be either black or brown and color should match belt.
  • Hair, including facial hair, should be trimmed and neat.
  • Remove earrings, even if you usually wear them.

Dressing for a Less Traditional Environment

In a creative or hand-on environment you'll want to go for the "business casual" look. Business casual clothing is less conservative than the traditional dark suit and tie. A full suit would be inappropriate for these environments, but you still want to look "dressed up" and polished.

Men - a good choice would be neatly pressed khakis, a button down shirt under a sweater, or a sport coat.
Women - black or khaki skirt or slacks and a sweater twinset or shirt and blazer.