Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Job-Seeker Needs Guidance on Interview Attire

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a female college student who, like my peers, is searching for a job and going on interviews. I would consider myself semi-stylish, and I generally know what is appropriate. But when it comes to interview attire, I am at a loss.

I have been applying to both corporate and non-corporate jobs for next spring. Depending on what job you are interviewing for, does it change what you should wear? For example, I am applying for a nanny position as well as a PR associate position. What would you recommend for a female college student to wear on a job interview? -- Outfit-Confused Intern, Madison, Wisconsin

DEAR OUTFIT-CONFUSED INTERN: It is OK to be a bit stylish, but being professional is key for most job interviews.

In the corporate space, it is smart to wear a suit or a dress with sheer hose and dark pumps. In other words, you want to look conservative. Your jewelry should be modest, as should your makeup. What you want is for the interviewer to see you, and your outfit should support that.

For a non-corporate job, you could wear the same interview outfit, or you could wear something that’s a bit more casual. Do research on the company. Look at its website to get a sense of how people look who work there. Never wear jeans. Never wear athletic clothing. These rules are true for all job interviews.

Even for the nanny position, be professional. You do not have to wear pumps, though. You can wear a pair of slacks and a nice blouse. Bring a bag with sneakers and jeans, though, in case the parents ask you to go out and play with the child(ren).

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Work & School