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    April 6th, 2011, 4:32 pm

    This is an excerpt from our Senior Handbook, a guide we have written to help seniors prepare for life after graduation. These tips are applicable to all students who are in the midst of the interviewing process for jobs or internships. The Senior Handbook is now available for download on our Web site.

    Interview Dress

    The most basic rule of thumb to use when deciding what to wear for an interview is this: the simpler, the better. Think vanilla. Contrary to what some students may think, this is not an early sign of submission to The Man. Loud, revealing, or unusual clothing is a distraction during an interview. It will serve you well if your statements and your personality are the most memorable thing about you (as opposed to your flashy tie or those heels that you usually wear to Rhino). Even if your preferred industry is highly creative or known to be informal, be careful. It’s always better to convey your serious interest in the position by overdressing. So what does that look like?

    Here are some general tips:

    • Research the preferred dress at the office you will be visiting. Many workplaces prefer a professional dark business suit (black, dark blue, grey), but some offices may prefer less traditional dress. When in doubt, ask someone at the company or in the industry for suggestions.
    • Skip the aftershave, cologne, or perfume; because some people are allergic to various scents, the safest route is to refrain from using them altogether.
    • Bring a briefcase or portfolio for your extra résumés, note paper, breath mints, etc.


    • Wear a conservative tie.
    • Arrive clean shaven.
    • Wear polished shoes that match or complement your suit. Don’t be afraid to ask for an opinion from a roommate.
    • Limit jewelry to a watch, ring, and cufflinks.


    • Wear conservative jewelry (i.e., small earrings, one ring instead of three, small necklace).
    • Wear stockings or pantyhose with a skirt.
    • Keep your hair away from your face, if possible.
    • Wear conservative makeup and nail polish. Again, we’re not trying to cramp your style – we just want your personality to shine thanks to your words, not thanks to the new nail color from OPI.
    • Don’t wear a low-cut blouse. Blouses need to be buttoned to the top or second-to-top button.
    • Don’t wear open-toe shoes or shoes with heels higher than two inches. It’s worth it to invest in a simple pair of black or brown flats or low heels. If you need to buy them for the interview, chances are you’ll need to buy them for the job a few weeks later anyway.

    Be sure to try on your outfit well in advance of your interview to make sure everything fits and looks professional.

    You might be thinking, “In that case, I have nothing to wear!” Borrow a roommate’s things if you need to. Additionally, take advantage of local thrift stores or secondhand shops to help build your professional wardrobe. Because there are so many affluent neighborhoods in close proximity to Georgetown, it’s often easy to find some nicely appointed items for a fraction of what you’d pay shopping on M Street. Below are some examples; call or visit the Web site to get a sense of price points and current offerings.

    Frugalista (thrift shop for men and women)
    3069 Mt. Pleasant
    Washington, DC
    Mon – Sat: 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
    Sun: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm

    Mustard Seed (secondhand shop for women)
    7349 Wisconsin Avenue
    Bethesda, MD 20814

    Current Boutique (secondhand shop for women)
    Arlington location:
    2529 Wilson Boulevard
    Arlington, VA 22201
    Alexandria location:
    1009 King Street
    Alexandria, VA 22314

    Mint Condition (secondhand shop for women)
    114 S. Royal Street
    Alexandria, VA 22314

    Career Fair Myth vs. Reality, Myth 7

    September 29th, 2010, 3:43 pm

    MYTH 7: “It’s alright to show up in my jeans and Georgetown sweatshirt.”
    The Reality: First impressions matter and you want to have an appropriate outfit. Dress professionally and ask a few people for their opinions if you’re not sure. This really could make a huge difference in how the recruiter feels and thinks about you.

    For men: Wear a suit or, at the very least, business slacks, a button down shirt and a tie. Remember to wear dress shoes and a belt that coordinate with your outfit. Sneakers and sandals with a polished outfit make you look unprepared and the employer will immediately think about whether you would be a good representative of their company. You’ll also want to make sure your suit and shirt are ironed. Showing up at the fair looking wrinkly mess is not a good way to make a first impression.

    For women: Wear a skirt or pant suit. If you don’t have one, dress in business casual with a nice pair of slacks or a skirt and a well-fitted blouse. This is not the time to try out your new heels. You don’t want to look awkward walking around or be in pain as you stand in long lines at the fair. Also remember to watch the length of your skirts and how low-cut your tops might be. A blouse or skirt that could be very cute for a night out to dinner might not be appropriate for the career fair. And throwing on a jacket doesn’t automatically make your outfit professional.

    For everyone: Practice good commonsense hygiene. Shower, comb your hair, and brush your teeth. Go easy on the cologne or perfume. Some people are sensitive to scents and you don’t want to distract anyone. Also remember to bring mints instead of gum if you’re worried about bad breath. When you’re thinking about your overall look, feel free to be yourself, but also recognize what message you may be sending to employers.