First Job? Dress for interview success!

When dealing with customers, the public, your clients, and especially interviewers, first impressions are very important. When you appear before your clients and prospective customers, one-on-one or in front of an audience, what do they see? They see your body – your body, and how it is dressed! This is your calling card and it is a reflection of both you and your company.

Would you give an old, wrinkled and dirty business card to a prospective customer? No, no no! In the same way, you don’t want to look like an old, wrinkled and dirty business card! You need to look and feel your best so that you can communicate effectively and be successful in your work.

Zig Ziglar said, “You can’t climb the ladder of success dressed in the costume of failure.”

William Shakespeare said, “Pursue thy habit with all thy purse can bear, for clothes oft proclaim the man.”

In his book, “Dress for Success,” John Molloy conducted an experiment in which he panhandled for money at the Port Authority and Grand Central Station in New York City for two hours, two different times. The first time, he wore a suit and no tie. The second time, he wore the same suit but with a tie. In the first two hours, he collected $7. In the second two hours, he collected $28.

In another set of experiments, Mr. Molloy asked a group of men to apply for jobs that were available and for which they were reasonably qualified. Invariably, those men who wore their ties to interviews were offered jobs; those without them were turned down.

Does wearing a suit and tie automatically make you into a leader or somehow increase your abilities? No. But making a good first impression paves the way for a better relationship – and that’s very important!

There’s a Russian proverb, “When you meet a man, you judge him by his clothes; when you leave, you judge him by his heart.”

Gilda Radner said, “I base most of my fashion sense on what doesn’t itch.”

She’s right! Being comfortable in your clothes is important because discomfort will inhibit success. To this end, my advice is to wear custom-made suits, sport jackets, slacks and shirts. That way you’ll look sharp and feel comfortable at the same time. A man looks best when dressed in custom made suits and shirts. But this is rather expensive for anyone, and too expensive for most.

If you can’t afford custom-made, I suggest you buy off-the-rack and get tailoring. Everything, that is, but the shirt. Buy your shirts custom made.

The shirt is a very, very important piece of your outfit. It frames your face and must fit perfectly around the neck. And, the sleeve length must be exact, extending between 1/4″ and 1/2″ from the jacket at the wrist.

According to, here are some wardrobe tips:

Choose the color of your socks to match your pants.

Choose the color of your belt to match your shoes.

100% cotton for your shirts. Never wear a shirt two days in a row. The wrinkles get wrinkles and it looks real bad.

100% silk for your ties. Have enough ties so you aren’t wearing the same one every other day.

100% wool for your suits, jackets and slacks. Wool wears better and hangs better.

Get a lint roller, especially if you wear blue or dark gray suits, jackets and slacks – and especially if you have a cat or a dog.

Get a nice, wide, rounded wooden hanger on which to hang and store your suits and jackets. They’ll hold their shape better.

When you are well dressed, your confidence will soar and this will be noticed by your interviewers and your customers! They will be happy to be around you. You will have their attention and success will follow!

So, with all of your interviews and subsequent professional duties and business interests, your body is your calling card and it is a reflection of you, your products and your company affiliations.

Don’t look like an old, wrinkled and dirty business card: look and feel your best, dress for success and communicate effectively to individuals and groups and succeed.

It has been said that the Holy Grail of selling is demonstration. So, when you show up for an interview or a client appointment, you are a walking demonstration of your product or service – no matter what it is – because your client identifies your product with you! So, look sharp!

To summarize on a lighter note, George Thorogood, of George Thorogood and the Destroyers, said, “Get a haircut and get a real job. Clean your act up and don’t be a slob. Get it together like your big brother Bob. Get a haircut and get a real job.”

What George is saying and what I’m saying is, no matter what you’re wearing, whether it’s a suit and tie, a jacket and slacks or even jeans and a tee shirt: Look sharp. Be well groomed and look sharp.