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).

College Student Questions Staying in Relationship

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been dating my high school boyfriend for six years now. We are at different colleges and have been doing a long-distance relationship ever since freshman year. I would consider this a serious relationship.

Recently, I have been wondering if that was the right choice. I have had the greatest experiences with him and he continues to make me very happy, but there is a part of me that thinks we both should experience life with other people, or by ourselves. At the same time, I think to myself, why would I want to break up with someone who makes me so happy? I am torn and was just wondering what your opinion was on long-term relationships at a young age. -- Girl Torn in Half, Dallas

DEAR GIRL TORN IN HALF: It is understandable that you would have these thoughts. There is a risk in every relationship, but especially so with young, long-term lovers. I suggest that the next time you and your boyfriend are in each other’s company, you talk about these thoughts. Ask him if he is having them as well. Be honest. If this is conjecture more than you being interested in someone, be sure to say that. You don’t want to threaten your relationship. Being open about your inner conflict may be hard, but it is much smarter than keeping it to yourself and potentially acting on your feelings without agreeing on next steps with your boyfriend.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)