Get a Life

By Judith Welles

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Get a Life: Clothes make the man or woman

What do your clothes have to say? Even though we are told not to judge a book by its cover, what people wear — both men and women — can tell a story. Particularly in a job interview, what you wear can send a signal of a sharp or a wornout employee. 

The general rule is to wear your best, whether casual or more formal. Wearing a suit or not to the interview may depend on the job and the place. If you are trying for a job at a place like Google where the dress is definitely casual, you might not want to show up in your dark suit or flashy tie. You might want to call the hiring manager's assistant or ask the human resources office about the appropriate look before going to an interview. has advice online for how to dress for certain industries.

For a government job, for example, the Monster career coaches recommend being conservative to show you are responsible and trustworthy. “But a bit of color is OK, whether you're a man or a woman," said Kathryn Troutman, Monster's federal career coach and author of "Ten Steps to a Federal Job."

You don’t necessarily need a suit to interview for a technology job, again depending on the company. But a jacket may still be required if you are interviewing for an executive position.

An article in the Wall Street Journal pointed out that depending on what you want to communicate, men might start by checking their socks. When a man crosses his legs in a meeting or job interview, the look of his socks can tell more than his resume. Wrong length, wrong color, worn socks all send signals. 

Two networking groups are having “Dress for Success” and executive image speakers at their monthly meetings. Women in Technology  will be meeting March 25 and the Association for IT Professionals will be meeting April 10.

Posted by Judith Welles on Mar 12, 2008 at 12:13 PM


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