By Jane Parent
With limited experience in a professional workplace, many teens don’t understand the importance of dressing appropriately for a job interview. Here are some ideas for what to wear to an interview for teens.
4 Tips for What to Wear to an Interview
1. Dress like your boss.
The standard rule of thumb in dressing for job interviews in a corporate or office environment is to dress one level above the dress code for the role you’re seeking. In most cases, this means dressing like your potential boss does on a daily basis. When in doubt, it is perfectly acceptable to call human resources and ask what is appropriate.
2. Aim for the middle.
Now is not the time to show your unique style or personality. Instead, dress to blend in with everyone else. When in doubt, err on the conservative side. The goal is to appear professional and competent rather than super stylish, while also fitting into the office culture.
3. Pay attention to the details.
Ensure that your shoes are clean and polished. Keep your hair and nails neat, wear minimal makeup and avoid extreme looks or loud colors. Limit jewelry to a watch, ring, or bracelet, and keep body piercings—other than ear piercings—and tattoos covered up during interviews. Don’t wear hats, t-shirts, leggings, jeans, or sneakers, and leave the chewing gum at home.
4. Professional, not cute.
If it is an outfit you would wear out with friends, it isn’t appropriate for an interview. If you would sweat in it at the gym, or throw it on for a day at the beach, don’t wear it.
If business casual is the designated dress code, for guys that means an ironed, button-down shirt, dark pants, and polished dress shoes.
Young women should go with a tailored dress, a skirt and blouse, or tailored pants and a button-down shirt—no cut-outs, cleavage, or bare midriffs. Keep the length of dresses and skirts to the knee or slightly above it. It’s best to wear low-heeled shoes with no open toes.
Remember, your interviewer’s attention should be on you and your qualities as a potential employee. You do not want to be noticed for what you are wearing (or not wearing).
Jane Parent is senior editor of Your Teen Magazine.