College & Careers

Professional Dress

Is what you wear in a job interview really that important?

You bet! You are judged on many factors during an interview but your appearance is the first visual impression you give. Luckily, it's something you can plan in advance!

Dress the Part

Your goal is to dress the part of the job you want. Some employers’ adoption of “business casual” dress policies makes interview-wear decisions more difficult for today’s students.

  • If you are interviewing for a construction position, unless you’ve gotten clear messages that the interviewer expects you to dress casually, you should dress professionally.
  • If an employer has instituted a five-day-a-week dress-down policy, you should dress up for the interview.
  • When in doubt, be conservative. Determine in advance the appropriate style of dress for the industry and company with which you’re interviewing; some are more conservative or casual than others.  Ask ahead of time about how standard dress is defined by a given employer; parents, friends, fellow students, your teachers or even the recruiter themselves are good resources. Don’t be shy about asking!

For Women

  • Think conservatively and keep your skirt knee-length; shorter skirts make it hard to sit gracefully and risk being a distraction.
  • Stick to moderate-heeled (1”-2”) shoes.
  • Avoid heavy make-up and extremely long and wildly-colored fingernails; employers may wonder whether you are serious about hard work.
  • Stay away from anything very tight or short; no bellys or lots of clevage showing.
  • Wear the smallest amount of jewelry/piercings; let your personality sparkle!
  • If you bring a purse or portfolio, keep it simple and uncluttered.

For Men

  • A two-piece, conservative suit in a dark or neutral color
  • A white or blue long-sleeve, button-down/dress shirt
  • A coordinating necktie with a subtle pattern
  • Dark socks—never white and dark leather shoes
  • Wear the smallest amount of jewelry/piercings; let your personality sparkle!
  • Bring a professional bag/briefcase or a nice portfolio-type folder

BOTH Men and Women:

  • AVOD STRONG SCENTS - in a small room, the perfume or after shave can be overpowering; make sure you are clean, have fresh breath and fresh clothes and shoes.

How to Interview

Job interviewing is never easy: you are meeting new people, selling yourself and your skills, and often getting the third degree about what you know or don't know. Here are somne job interview tips, with links to more indepth websites on the left. If you prepare properly, it will help lesson  some of your stress and let them see the best in you!


Practice answering interview questions and  your responses to the typical job interview questions and answers most employers ask. Use actual examples from your A.C.E. experience or previous job experience to describe your skills. It's important to providing evidence of your successes.


Do background research on the company you want to join. Be prepared to answer the common question: "What do you know about our company?" Know and use the interviewer's name during the interview. If you're not sure of the name, call the company before the interview.

Watch A Video for More Tips

Take a look at the Job Interview Tips Videos, so you'll be sure to impress a potential employer and leave a good impression.

Get Ready

Make sure you are dressed appropiately. For a corporate job, carry a nice portfolio or folder with several copies of your resume. Make sure you bring materials to take notes with.

Be On time!

Nothing turns an interviewer off more than being late. On time means five to ten minutes early. Sometimes it's good to drive to the interview site and time youself, so you know where to go and how long it will take you to get there.

Stay Calm and Show What you Know

Easier said than done... Try to relax and stay as calm possible. Maintain eye contact with the interviewer. Listen to the entire question before you answer and pay attention - you will be embarrassed if you forget the question!  Don't "motor-mouth" when answering - answer as simply and directly as you can.  Try to make a comparison between what you know or have done before and what you know about the company when answering questions.

Follow Up

Always follow-up with a thank you note or email retating your interest in the position. If you interview with several people, send each one a thank you note.

Business Ettiquette

According to Peter Post, whether you are a job applicant or a company bidding on a job,

"Your skills can get you in the door; your people skills are what can seal the deal."

Visit the Emily Post Institute Business Ettiquette website for tons of up-to-date tips on how to take the proper approach in any situation.