One of the most important elements of a successful job search and the subsequent interview is making the all important positive first impression. You will never get a second chance to make a first impression.

The way we dress at any given time is a reflection of our state of mind at that time. Are going to a club? Are we going to hang out with friends? Are we going to a party? No. We are going to a business meeting! Any meetings associated with the job search are business meetings. You will be meeting people to get them interested in your product. In a word, “professionalism.” You must look like a professional to be taken seriously. From your hairstyle to your shoes, your appearance should say “I really want this job.”


The ideal dress is a navy blue or dark suit or sport jacket with a long sleeved, light colored shirt and a color-coordinated tie. Be sure to wear a belt that matches your shoes. For some, this may not be possible. At the very least, a white shirt (you can never go wrong with a white shirt) with dark slacks.

The rule about shoes is “If you can’t shine them, don’t wear them.” Boots or sneakers are unacceptable. Black shoes are best.

The hair and nails should be neat and trimmed. I suggest no facial hair. I have never seen anyone turned down for a job for being clean shaven. No earrings, facial piercings or tongue ornaments, and only one ring per hand.


Wear a classic skirted suit with a light colored blouse or a simple dress that does not rise above the knee. Do not wear anything too tight or too revealing. Be sure to wear coordinated pumps that are neat and clean. The pantyhose should be a light, natural color with no pattern.

Hair should be neat and of natural color. Short hair is best, but neatly done longer hair is fine. The nails should be neatly trimmed with tasteful polish. The make-up should be natural looking with no bright colors. One set of earrings (no larger than a quarter) no facial piercings or tongue ornaments, one ring per hand and no more than one bracelet per wrist.

It may be possible that you do not own clothes like those mentioned above but they are necessary to create the impression you desire. Many churches and organizations have clothing closets that help people that do not own interview clothing. You may even have to borrow clothes from friends and relatives. No matter how you get them, the right clothing will help you get the job you want.

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Author's Bio: 

Eric Mayo specializes in professional and personal development with special emphasis on life skills and job readiness training. Eric has over 20 years of corporate and educational experience which he uses to help people improve the quality of their lives.

Mr. Mayo has a degree in Business Administration from Seton Hall University where he was a standout member of both the Pirate football and wrestling teams. An author and lecturer, Eric is the author of the books, "From Jail to a Job", "The Teenager's Guide to Getting a Job" , "The Secret to Getting Better Grades", and has addressed, among others, the Congressional Black Caucus, and the Charles Hamilton Institute for Race and Justice of the Harvard School of Law. He is an active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and has spent his life committed to community empowerment.

Eric has been studying, learning, applying and executing the art of personal achievement and leadership throughout his career. It is truly his passion and his gift. He combines a straightforward approach and real-world perspective with a presentation style that is inspirational and motivational. His primary message is, "Independence through Self-Reliance."

You can contact Eric at