Guidelines for a Professional Image

Is what you wear to an interview important? Yes, because it makes your first impression.  Employers observe everything about you, your handshake, eye contact, your posture, how you walk in to the room, and your clothing and accessories. Your goal is to look professional, be confident and portray this to the prospective employer. You want to project an image that matches the requirements of the position and the organization.


  • Choose clothing, jewelry, fragrances and accessories that are not distracting. Emphasis should be placed on your qualifications and on what you say.
  • Choose professional clothing that you feel comfortable in and good about.
  • Conservative suit colors include navy blue or charcoal gray with a traditional white shirt/blouse.
  • Shoes should be comfortable, conservative, clean and polished; dark colors are your best bet. Dark socks for males and neutral hosiery for females is suggested.
  • Clothing should be clean, neatly pressed and fit well.
  • Make sure your hair is clean, neat and styled. Nails need to be clean and groomed as well.
  • Limit jewelry and accessories, remember to wear a watch.
  • Perfume and cologne should be light fragrances and never strong.
  • Avoid chewing gum during an interview or smoking before an interview.
  • Professional dress can vary from field to field. It may be helpful to talk with people employed in that field and ask their advice. When in doubt, choose a tailored, conservative, simple and neat look.

Key Points to Remember

  • Always check your appearance before meeting an interviewer.
  • Greet the interviewer in a friendly, business-like manner, using their last name.
  • Introduce yourself in a confident manner.
  • Shake hands firmly and make eye contact appropriately.
  • Wait until the employer sits or motions for you to be seated.
    Once seated be conscious of your posture, place hands comfortably on the arm-rests and be aware of your gestures, speech, tempo and tone of voice.
  • Write notes about the interview, immediately after leaving and not during an interview.
  • Write down names/titles of those who interviewed you as well.
  • Go to the interview alone, avoid bringing friends or children.