But what to do when we're talking about something much more casual? Nowadays it's just as competitive to try out for a part-time job or internship, even at a casual office, and you need to dress the part, to showcase the great candidate you must be.
If you are applying for a job at a startup or if you're a younger person interviewing for a casual job, the "common" guidelines will make you look stuffy and like you're trying far too hard. Try these instead:
Asides from the basic "don'ts" (like refraining from legings, shorts or short skirts/deep cleavage), we're not left with much regarding non-corporate settings. Try to stay away from overly fashion-y looks until you get a better sense of how the other people dress and what is expected from you.
Below are some outfit ideas for your next interview.
For an extremely casual place, you can try to simply dress up your regular clothing with jeans, a solid top and dark jeans but you can never go wrong by stepping it up just a little bit, if only for the interview.
For a slightly more formal approach, as in an internship or some place where you'll be expected to meet with clients, you can step it up a notch.
If you already have a no-fail outfit at the ready like a perfect fitting (and modest!) dress, wear it! A knee-length dress will always be a safe option anywhere you go in your career, as long as you keep it a solid and a neutral or jewel tone. For a casual setting pair it with flats and a cardigan. In fact, any of these outfits/combos can benefit from adding a colored cardigan.
Your hair should be the same as in a corporate setting and the guidelines are very simple: keep it natural and plain. If you are prone to twirling it with your finger, pull it back. The best way to go is with something unfussy and professional like a ponytail (with some hair around the elastic for extra polish) or a braid.
But if possible wear it down, with your natural texture or just wear a plain headband. And I mean plain, not Blair Waldorf-y! Just a solid neutral band to keep your hair from falling on your face, not a distracting or statement piece. If you're lucky, there will be a time for those once you're hired.
If you're young/confident enough to go bare faced, do so. But if it makes you feel self-consious, it will show, so wear some makeup. A little bit of foundation and mascara go a long way in these situations so just go as basic as possible with some chapstick for extra shine, mascara and making sure your skin is perfectly moisturized so no dry patches will show.
Other than that, go easy on the smells. If you're already wearing scented products, skip perfume. If not, still consider skipping it, or wearing just a faint trace. Some people might be allergic or just plain not like it. Have you ever been forced to stay near someone wearing a perfume you didn't like? Don't be "that girl"
And now you're ready! Make sure you don't forget to bring an extra copy of your CV, a notepad and a pen to take notes and a couple questions to ask the interviewer (not about how much you'll make, that comes after!)
Now you can go on confident that your look will not spoil your chances of getting the job! Got any tips for anyone just starting out on their job-search? What about other questions about work wear? Feel free to leave a comment sharing your thoughts or write me to firstname.lastname@example.org
What would you wear to a casual job interview?