Dressing to impress: a how to guide for landing the job

4.20.2015

By Ashleigh Lee

It’s the night before a big interview and you are getting everything in order for tomorrow. Your resume is polished and printed. Your alarm is set, even though you won’t be able to sleep a wink. The only thing left to do is to figure out what to wear. You check the email again for the dress code– business casual. What does that even mean?

Kelsey Ploeger an assistant director at the University Career Center helps students with mock interviews, resumes and topical workshops. Ploeger helps break the differences between business professional and business casual. “Business professional is most normal for interviews, unless indicated otherwise,” Ploeger says. “Usually for women it’s plain colors, a blazer, pants, skirt and a blouse, and for men it’s nice slacks and a blazer.”

Business casual is less common, but allows for adding more personality to the outfit. “Here women can wear a casual dress or skirt without a blazer but maybe a cardigan or a sweater,” Ploeger says. “Men can wear slacks and a sweater as well.”

Ashley DeMond, a recruiter for Netsmart Technologies, recommends not being too bold in your clothing choices. “It’s more important to let your personality come out when you answer the questions during the interview than in the way that you dress,” DeMond says.

She says that it’s better to err on the conservative side and to always look sharp. “A lot of times people will come in and their shirts will be wrinkly or the shoes look worn,” she says.

One piece of advice that DeMond offers is to be comfortable in what you do end up wearing. You will appear more confident and know what exactly what you will feel good in.

Caitlin Uyemura, a senior in chemical engineering from Osage City, will begin working at Chevron Phillips Chemical in Houston after graduation as a stream process engineer.

“Engineering is pretty boring,” Uyemura says. “It’s usually frowned upon to be out the box.”

Uyemura interviewed for a summer internship at Chevron and kept her outfit simple. “For that interview I kept it pretty basic in business formal,” Uyemura says. “I wore dress pants, a blouse and low pumps.”

Uyemura’s advice to anyone going up for a big interview is to be overdressed than to be underdressed.

“More likely than not, a company is not going to not hire you for being overdressed,” she says.

Except maybe if you’re interviewing at Google. Kendal Harland a senior in computer science from Olathe, will be working for Google as a software engineer after graduation. He says that the recruiters told him specifically not to dress up for the interview.

“There were no specific requirements on what I couldn’t wear, as long as I just didn’t show up looking like a bum,” Harland says.

Start up and tech companies are usually very causal and do not require employees to dress up while interviewing or even while working. Most employees can be seen wearing graphic tees and shorts or jeans.

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“For my interview I wore some nice brown boots and a button up shirt,” Harland says.

Harland recommends that people research what you should wear to the interview and the company by doing a Google search or talk to someone who already works there. He said that he saw what everyone was wearing when he visited.

“I think the only reason why I didn’t wear a suit and tie was because I looked at what people wore to those types of interviews,” he says. “It never hurts to do a bit of research.”

If you need help with your resume or searching for a job, contact The University Career Center http://career.ku.edu/appointments or call 785-864-3624.

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