Keeping cool during a job interview isn’t easy, and it can be even more problematic when the temperature soars into the 90s or above. But selecting your job interview attire according to what the thermometer says can lead to unfitting wardrobe choices.
Even if the work environment where you’re interviewing leans toward the informal, dressing casually for an interview sends the wrong message. Your interviewer may perceive your laid-back look as an indication that you aren’t seriously pursuing the position, or that you don’t know how to conduct yourself professionally. If anything, you want to err on the side of dressing more businesslike.
Strive for a look that says you’re sharp, competent and driven. Remember: In the professional world, appearance matters.
Show that you can keep your cool by following these five fashions tips for your hot-weather job interview.
- Take a modest approach.We’re tempted in the summer months to wear skimpy tank tops, flimsy blouses or short, short hemlines. For guys, it’s often T-shirts and shorts. No, no, no! Exposing your cleavage, too much leg, too much arm muscle or, heaven forbid, your midriff is inappropriate in any professional setting — let alone when you’re hoping to make a good impression with a potential employer. Dress yourself as if you’re visiting a very fashion-conscious monastery.
- Dab away any sweat.If it’s pushing triple digits outside and you’re going to have to walk a block or two to get to your interview, wear underarm shields so you don’t show up with giant rings under your arms. Bring a tissue to dry your face, neck and hands before you step into the elevator. Showing up sweaty makes you look disheveled or extremely nervous. Fortunately, most corporate offices are air-conditioned and you’ll leave the heat once inside.
- Hide your tats.Remember when your mother warned you, back in your teens, that someday you’d regret getting that Pokemon tattoo where your future boss could see it? I hope you listened to her. Wherever you have tattoos, whether it’s at your neckline, forearm or around your ankle, choose clothing that covers them. While you’re at it, take out your eyebrow, nose, and lip rings. Once you’ve gotten the job and they’ve discovered you’re a genius, go ahead and reveal your true self.
- Think twice before exposing the toes.Open-toed shoes and sandals are usually considered unsuitable for corporate culture. Also, showing your toes just gives too much information — from the color of your nail polish or lack of it, to the condition of your nails. Save your sandals for the weekend.
- Refrain from trying to make a summertime fashion statement.A job interview is not the time for big, bold colors and large prints. Nor is it the right time for donning sunglasses on top of your head. Young employees need to remember that they aren’t on the campus quad anymore. This is why they call it dressing UP.
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Vicky Oliver is a leading career development expert and the multi-best-selling author of five books, including , Live Like a Millionaire (Without Having to Be One) (Skyhorse, 2015), 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Sourcebooks 2005), named in the top 10 list of “Best Books for HR Interview Prep,” and Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers, and Other Office Idiots(Sourcebooks 2008). She is a sought-after speaker and seminar presenter and a popular media source, having made over 700 appearances in broadcast, print, and online outlets. For more information, visit vickyoliver.com.