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Unless you're interviewing for an executive position, you're probably safest going with a colored, long-sleeved, button-down shirt, a tie, and nice slacks. The frequency with which you'll need to be less dressed or more dressed is low, so it's probably best to opt for middle-of-the-road.
If a job makes the decision to hire or not hire you based on the style of collar you have selected, that's not somewhere you want to work.
Joe, what do you think of pocketwatches for interviews? Too old-fashioned? Maybe a bit pretentious?
So Joe, what is your stance on monocles? I bet you have had some experience with them. A cane perhaps? Now should I get a tux with or without tails? Bow-ties, clip together or should get the ones where you actually have to tie them? Does anyone know how to actually tie a fucking bow tie? Cummerbund or vest? I wish to know these things.
hungryjoe at work:
Sorry, Joe. My bad. This should match your specifications:
It's nice to believe that. Unfortunately, many people judge you based on your looks, especially on first impressions such as during interviews. There's not much to be done about your body besides exercise and grooming. Why would you discount or ignore clothing, the one area of your physical appearance over which you have complete control?
I'm just saying that choosing a shirt with a Oxford collar as opposed to a straight collar is going to make the difference.
Never, ever lie.
Nobody reads the objective line.
Don't mention your GPA unless you're currently in school or getting a job directly out of school. Don't mention it if it isn't good. Same goes for any other academic achievements.
Reference only professional contacts. If your references list isn't impressive, use the classic "available upon request" or just leave the line out.
Find a decent template. Don't use one of the built-in Word templates. Make it stand out, but just a little.
If you're printing it, print it very nicely on nice paper. Don't go nuts, just try to be a cut above.
If you're submitting digitally, don't submit a document in Word format unless requested. I usually prepare a PDF and an RTF, and keep my original Word or ODF handy just in case.
If you list an e-mail address, or use one to communicate with potential employers, make sure it's professional. John.firstname.lastname@example.org is fine; l337h4XX@zombo.com isn't.
If you're applying to a technical field, there will be technical people looking at your resume. If I'm reading a resume for a guy who gives me an rr.com e-mail address, and lists WYSIWYG editors like Dreamweaver as programming experience, I know I'm probably dealing with an amateur. Even if this guy is really talented, I'll tend to prefer people like me, people in the same sort of culture. The same probably applies to most interviewers.
No one really cares what your hobbies are, unless they're somehow relevant. No one works as a hobby, so don't put that.
Let me know if you get an interview, I've got a few words on that topic as well.
I used to work in HR for local government. You wouldn't believe the number of resumes we would get that had typos, grammatical errors, etc. Those would automatically go in the pile for polite rejection letters. (If you don't care enough to submit an error free resume, how can they be sure you'd care about your work?)
Given your young age, a one page resume is okay. Two pages, max. Keep the info relevant. If you are active in any clubs at school, particularly those related to the type of internship you want, include those. The same thing applies if you do volunteer work that requires skills needed in the internship.
Include as many skills/buzzwords listed on the internship recruitment flyer as possible in your letter without lying.
If the flyer doesn't list the name of the person reviewing the applications, call and ask for the info. Ask for their job title too. Make sure to ask for the spelling of their first and last name, even if it is a common one. Some people use strange spelling variations (Jeff vs. Geoff.) If they have a unisex name, make sure to ask if the person is a man or a woman so you can use the proper salutation.
You'd be surprised how much doing the little things can make you stand out in a crowd, even if you aren't the most qualified person applying.
I have more tips once you apply if you would like them. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
Generally, small businesses are going to be more relaxed, and won't care too much what you wear, as long as it isn't extreme in either direction. With large corporations, you're generally better off wearing at least a shirt and tie.
What you wear says a lot about you, and in particular, how you feel about the job you're applying for. If someone comes to me wearing a t-shirt and jeans, I assume he probably doesn't care much about his appearance, or is too clueless to know how to dress. That's a negative--not a huge one, but perhaps a tiebreaker. After all, unless your job will have you in a dungeon where you never interact with anyone, your ability to respect your own image will have a large affect on your ability to represent your company. It's a generalization, but that's all an interviewer can do.
If you're a girl, I can't help you.
I'm a lab monkey, so I stick to casual or, sometimes, business casual. I'll do biz casual if I know ahead of time that we're having a tour group or something through the lab, and I'll do business professional if I'm meeting someone really important.
WhaleShark doesn't mention a blazer. I think you should never even consider going to an interview without a suit, but if you feel you must be more casual and you need an oxford collar shirt, wear a two-button single breasted navy blazer and khakis. I just can't imagine not having a blazer at an interview.
It would be best to simply wear a suit. If you have a nice two-button single breasted navy suit, you can be confident of being appropriately dressed at any interview. Use the above mentioned straight collar white pinpoint shirt. It's nicest to use brass collar stays. Don't try a pocket square. Avoid french cuffs for interviews. Wear a simple repp striped tie tied in a four-in-hand knot. Wear over-the-calf black socks and nice black dress shoes. Wing-tips may be a possibility depending on your age, but I suspect you'd do better with a clean cap toe oxford. Make sure your shoes are shined beforehand. You can do it yourself with practice, but it's easiest to find a shoe shine guy at a train station, mall, men's store, or something. Cobbler's shops will shine them for you too.
Finally, don't wear a gaudy watch. A simple tank style with a leather strap would be best.
You can find most of this stuff relatively cheaply through Lands' End. If you feel like spending more, try Joseph A. Bank. The money you'd save at S&K; or Men's Wearhouse isn't worth it as that stuff will literally wear out before you've sat through your third interview.
As for watches, who wears a watch these days? Cellphones are the new watches.
WaterIsPoison is right in that you need to dress for your field of work. Joe is a lawyer, and maintaining a very professional appearance is critical in that field. Everyone expects scientists to be a bit off, so I can get away with a lot.
However, I do have to admit, a standard watch can really add a lot to a suit. Joe, what do you think of pocketwatches for interviews? Too old-fashioned? Maybe a bit pretentious?
You try to sell yourself at an interview. A classic navy suit is considered a very professional look, makes most people look their best and would not be too much for any white collar interview. Trust me: This is from years of experience including, but not limited to the legal profession. You can never go wrong with a two-button single breasted navy suit. The confidence it provides is worth it.
Of course, it's not an absolute requirement and you won't be shot if you decide not to wear a suit, but if you feel you must go sans suit, I would strongly advise at least wearing a blazer. It just looks so much more professional. You'd need a vest. I would be hesitant to wear a vest to an interview and I would never dream of having a watch chain draped across the vest. It would be like wearing a gaudy watch or a gaudy set of cufflinks. Now, I've worn the vest/pocketwatch deal at work, but the chain tries to catch your tie, causes a problem when you want to shed the vest and it's a pain to reach for the watch all the time.
One other thing: At some men's stores you can buy a tie anchor - a little piece of oxford cloth with two button holes with which you can anchor your tie to your shirt from behind. Your tie won't flap around in the wind, and you won't look like a televangelist wearing a big tie tack. NEVER wear a gaudy tie tack to an interview! And never even imagine wearing one of those chain doohickeys that drape around the front of the tie unless you're either in 8th grade or you're actually a televangelist.
That's of course assuming you aren't planning on wearing a bow tie to the interview. In which case don't. Bow ties can be fun (and practical - you can tie them without a mirror and you'll never drop food on them), but people have very different opinions about them and if you wear one to an interview with an anti-bow tie person, it could cost you. Actually, I had an interview with a pro-bow tie person once. I didn't get the job, and he joked afterwards that, if I had worn a bowtie, he might've given me the job.
Interestingly enough, I've found that wearing a white shirt gets negative reactions from people. It either looks to formal, or maybe it triggers some anti-Jehovah's Witness feelings. White shirts, I think, have come to be associated with corporate, rightist strong-armers.
Don't carry a pocket watch. Don't wear a bow tie. Prospective employers don't like eccentricity; those things might as well be mohawks. They want predictability, because in a managerial mind that equates to stability. They want a good, solid, quiet, dependable worker.
Braces can have patterns like ties, so you've a whole new canvas to play with. Once you start varying your pocket squares, you can have a huge number of combinations with just a few actual suits.
But seriously - don't wear a bow tie until you can tie one. It's not very hard, and somewhat similar to tying your shoelaces. You can find instructions on the internets. It's cool once you get the hang of it because you won't need a mirror and you'll be able to untie it with one hand. Choose a large navy Churchill dot or a Third Bengal Cavalry regimental stripe. The King's Royal Irish Hussars is a nice regimental stripe for a tie to be worn on St. Patrick's day. If you're very daring, you might try the Devil's Own regimental stripe. I'm not that healthy. Also, I'd choose black.
Never wear a tux to an interview, unless you are interviewing to be a magician or ringmaster or something.
Jason: Me in school:
Me: The Animated Adventures:
I have three basic "levels" of dress for any professional encounter or interview.
Level one consists of jeans or cargo pants and a sturdy shirt. I only wear this sort of thing when I expect actual, physical labours.
Level two, which I prefer in most cases, would be either dressy jeans or simple dress pants, a nice close-necked collarless shirt, and often a sport jacket. I tend to wear nice sneakers instead of dress shoes, but that sort of thing is fairly common in downstate New York. (Even now, where my work dress is business professional, tennis shoes are both acceptable and expected). If I need to be a mite more formal, I'll wear a simple collared shirt, possibly with a narrow tie.
Lately, I've been more and more wearing longer silk shirts untucked over nice pants.
Level three is the suit/collar/tie/dress shoes/etc... I regrettably have little occasion to wear this sort of thing, despite owning more dress shirts than non-dress ones. -_-
One thing I did notice is that, for every job interview I've ever had, I was always dressed quite differently from everyone else there. I remember interviewing with IBM at RIT. The waiting area was filled with other RIT students wearing identical black suits differentiated only by the slight differences in tie colour choice, plus me in jeans and a sport jacket. Guess who got the job offer. ^_~