Career Advice

Dressing the Part
Staff posted on December 15, 2010 |
This first look into job interviews isn’t aimed specifically at engineers. However, it is an importa...

This first look into job interviews isn’t aimed specifically at engineers. However, it is an important part of any job interview because it can make or break your first impression with the employer.

Every interview is different, but no matter who the employer, what the job title, or what the pay rate, the way you dress for a job interview is one of the most important parts of the interview process.

Each of us wants to maintain some of our individuality during an interview. However, incorporating some of your individual style into your interview attire is not advisable. Instead, when attending an engineering or technical job interview, dressing conservatively is the way to go. Here are some guidelines for both men and women when dressing for an interview:


  • A two-piece suit will be more than enough for most interviews. If you do not own a suit, a shirt and tie worn with dress pants and dress polished shoes is also acceptable.
  • When choosing colors for your clothes, try and stick with solid colors and tighter woven fabrics rather than bold and flashy prints or patterns.
  • If you like patterns on your ties, stick to something simple and keep away from the busy ones. For larger men, use a Double Windsor knot to minimize a bulky appearance.
  • Wear socks that are high enough so that skin is not visible when you sit down.
  • Most interviews will require no more than a suit with a knee length skirt and a tailored blouse. If you do not own a suit, a skirt and blouse or dress pants and blouse is perfectly acceptable.
  • Try and keep your accessories simple. Wear basic pumps, modest jewelry and only a little bit of makeup help to complete your professional look.
Dressing the part can be pricey if you do not already have a full wardrobe. To keep costs down, try following these tips when shopping for your wardrobe:
  • Establish a budget. 50% should be dedicated to the actual clothing, while the other 50% should be used for accessories such as shoes, belts, etc.
  • Try and buy clothing that is versatile and can be used with a number of different accessories. Mixing and matching pants, shirts (or skirts and blouses for women) and a jacket can save you a lot of money and keep you looking sharp. Just make sure that all of the colors coordinatte well when mixing and matching.
  • A versatile navy blue or black jacket can be used with a number of different color shirts or blouses.
  • A briefcase or portfolio is a also good idea, as it helps add to your professional look
Before Leaving for the Interview In addition to your dress attire, your overall appearance, including grooming, is just as important as the clothes you wear. Make sure you check off the following items before heading out to land your dream job:
  • Hair is neatly trimmed
  • Conservative makeup
  • No runs in stockings
  • Shoes are polished. You may even want to wear running shoes to the interview and change into your dress shoes before entering the building to prevent your shoes from becoming scuffed along the way
  • Do not wear any excessive jewelry. Men should avoid wearing earrings if they have their ears pierced.
  • Make sure you are not missing any buttons, your tie is straight, and your outfit is lint free

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