Dress for Success in Job Interviews

When interviewing for health care careers, a good first impression is key. We all like to think that we aren’t judged by our appearance. However, the better first impression an employer has of you, the more likely you are to be considered for the job.

In other words, it’s best to get the best competitive edge you can. And what you wear and how you carry yourself can provide that edge.

Common sense items to maximize personal appearance

There are several rules for making the best impression in an interview, according to Amy Smith, MA, Assistant Director of Student Affairs at Concorde’s campus in Memphis, Tenn. Some of them are common sense. Others you might not have considered.

Two of the first areas to consider, Smith said, are grooming and hygiene. Make sure you have showered, brushed your teeth and have used an antiperspirant or deodorant.

“Your nails should be trimmed to an appropriate length for your potential occupation,” Smith said. “Don’t wear excessive perfume or cologne.”

A good idea for any job interviewee for health care careers, Smith said, is to go conservative. Females should be conservative in their makeup and nail color choices. They also should avoid low-cut or excessively body conscious clothing.

Males should consider having their hair trimmed, should shave, or if they have facial hair, it should be well-groomed.

“Your pants pockets should be emptied of most items so that they don’t appear bulky,” Smith said.

“Both sexes should also remove any non-traditional piercings, like an eyebrow, nose, tongue, etc. Ensure any tattoos are covered if possible. Jewelry should be kept simple as well. Your clothing should fit well, be clean and wrinkle-free. Your shoes should be in good condition and polished if possible.”

Research potential employers in health care careers

Smith said a good rule of thumb is to research your potential employers in health care careers and dress one step up from what you normally see. If you do some research on your potential employer, make sure that you aren’t there on a casual day.

“This could give you the wrong impression about what type of clothing is appropriate,” she said. “If there is any question about what to wear, dress conservatively. Trendy clothing can be off-putting to some employers.”

Resources for nice attire

If you are having problems affording the proper attire for an interview, Smith said, check your local resources for a “Dress for Success” program, the “Going Places Network,” or the “Career Gear” programs in your area. These career development programs are designed to help prepare you for employment in health care careers. Some programs will provide tools to help you with skills such as creating an employment action plan, learning career skills, utilizing job search resources and building your self-confidence.

“You may also have the opportunity to build personal networks in a more intimate, less intimidating environment,” Smith said. “Some of these programs also offer gently used professional clothing at reduced or no cost.”

Concorde Career College – Memphis has partnered with The Going Places Network, which is a program of Dress for Success – Memphis and is sponsored by The Walmart Corporation. The Dress for Success – Memphis program has assisted more than 8,000 women since its start in 1998.

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