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Dress for Success

“Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.  You only have one chance to make a first impression and the way you present and carry yourself is critical to your confidence and performance in an interview setting.”

                               -Recruiter in the Fashion Industry

First impressions are important. In fact, it has been said that interviewers make a decision in the first few minutes of meeting a candidate. So develop a strong handshake and a genuine smile. In addition, pay attention to you appearance! Did you know that 75% of recruiters believe that how you dress affects your job, salary, and possible promotions. (Yahoo! HotJobs Research)

How to Dress for Success: Women

  • Suit: Two piece, CLASSIC suit (dark or neutral color)
  • Skirted suit should be at an appropriate length
  • Shirts: Solid light color, no cleavage
  • Shoes: Neutral color, closed toe, reasonable heel height, no stilettos or boots with a skirt
  • Jewelry: Simple
  • Hair: Neat and off your face, avoid extreme colors and styles
  • Nails: Clear polish or French manicure
  • Perfume: Should be light. Some people have allergies to strong perfumes. 
  • Hosiery: Sheer, neutral color
  • Makeup: Don’t over do it
  • Electronics: No earbuds or visible phones

How to Dress for Success: Men

  • Suits: Dark suit, Pants should be appropriate length
  • Shirts: White or light colored shirt
  • Tie: Solid, Striped, Geometric
  • Shoes: Well polished leather dress shoes, no tennis shoes or sneakers
  • Socks: dress socks that match
  • Accessories: Briefcase or portfolio, no backpacks
  • Nails: Clean, trimmed
  • Cologne: Should be light. Some people have allergies to strong colognes. 
  • Hair: Neat, off of the face, shaven and trimmed facial hair
  • Electronics: No earbuds or visible phones

How to Dress for Success: Trans*

How does a Trans* job seeker dress for an interview? Much like everyone else does. You will have to find out what the acceptable dress code is and comply with it. Usually, business/professional attire is required. Identify the following factors:

Know your audience: Are you interviewing with a conservative organization, a more creative one, or a nonprofit organization? Do research on the company and find out their policies regarding LGBTQ protections. This may give insight into the culture of the organization. 

Know yourself: If a company is going to reject you at the interview stage based on your preferred gender professional dress, is that a company you want to work for? 

Regardless of sexual orientations and gender identities, there are several general rules that you should follow. See the above lists for these general rules. (Your Queer Career, Riley B. Folds, 2013). 

During the transition period, you should discuss this with your Human Resources Department at your place of employment/possible employer. 

Further Reading:

Androgynous Interview Attire

Gender Transition in the Workplace

Guidance Regarding the Employment of Transgender Individuals in the Federal Workplace

Workplace Fairness