A recent article in the Wall Street Journal titled, “Why Dressing for Success Leads to Success,” caught my eye several days ago. According to the article, studies have shown that wearing formal clothes in the work environment boost an employee’s productivity, confidence levels and abstract thinking.
I took all of this into consideration on Monday night when I was deciding what to wear for my first internship interview, which I had the next morning. I decided to go with classic style staples: navy blazer, white dress shirt, charcoal slacks, light blue tie and black wing-tip shoes. The end result was a sharp look that gave me both the confidence and calmness that I needed to go into the interview with.
Interestingly, when I arrived at the agency, I found that the PR work environment doesn’t stress a formal dress code. The majority of the men working at this agency were dressed in business casual clothes: polos/button-downs and slacks. Some employees were even more casual than that. I don’t say this in a bad way. Their style mirrored the fast-paced, energetic feel that their agency had. Nevertheless, the contrast between myself and the PR professionals led me to reflect on my style choices.
I dressed up because I went into that interview trying to get a position, and that deserves a formal outfit that reflects my goals. And, despite what people say, first impressions are the most important. It is vital to always look your best, in order to give yourself your best chance. At the very least, whoever is hiring won’t be able to rule you out because of your appearance.
The interview was the first of many for me, as I am only starting my journey of becoming a professional. I had a few key takeaways from the experience:
- Be flexible– you never know what you will have thrown at you in an interview.
- Don’t be discouraged by your age. It is never too early to start gaining experience. Even if I don’t get the position, I am better off for going through the interview process.
- You can never be too dressed up. When in doubt, reach for a clean cut.
Here is the link to the article I mentioned above.