Elizabeth Peppersack is a junior in college at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. She is originally from Idaho. She has had her short fiction published in The Sacrificial. Her goal is to become a member of the Peace Corps after college and teach abroad.
We have all heard the rules of interviewee attire; no hem line above the knee, no cleavage, and definitely look professional. But there is something else, something that I have found through numerous interviews over the past three years, the best thing to wear to an interview is something that is uniquely you. I’m not suggesting you wear your ratty old converse that you bought on a family trip to the coast, or your lucky t-shirt with the hole under the armpit, keep in mind you want to look professional and put together.
A necklace with a dragon pendant, a vintage red velvet blazer, and an ostrich brooch are all things that I have worn to interviews with great success. My philosophy is; professional does not need to mean bland. Find something to display part of your personality. I’ve discovered that these unique little pieces can draw attention and start conversations on a more personal level.
For example, in my first interview I wore a country style knee-length dress and stockings, black work shoes, and a gold Wonder Woman cuff. My, now current, boss had a Wonder Woman Barbie doll on her bookshelf, and as I found out, she used to collect superhero paraphernalia. We talked for almost an hour about superheroes, which led to family, which led to hobbies, before she even looked at my resume (which was scant you can be sure.).
I’m not suggesting that you should find the most outlandish piece of jewelry or clothing you can and wear it to startle or draw the attention of the interview away from your own skills. The items you choose should have history, memories, or meaning that you can discuss. More importantly, these pieces should make you feel confident, should reflect something about you, even if the interviewer does not ask or comment on your unique choice of attire, they will notice.
To my most recent interview I wore a pencil skirt, a black button down, and a moldavite stone necklace, which was just weird enough for my interviewer to ask me about it. I explained that moldavite is a rare piece of rock that fell from space, and while it is not particularly beautiful, it is rare and interesting to look at
Wearing plain formal attire can get you a job, but adding in your own personal flair makes you stand out, it makes you memorable. Don’t be afraid to show the person you are interviewing with who you are.
While what you are wearing will draw attention from the interviewer, what they are wearing should do the same for you. Are they wearing a piece of jewelry that is unique? A coat or shirt that you haven’t seen before? Ask! Odds are they have a story, or a connection to what they are wearing too. And a tip, at the interview, remember that you are providing them with a service, it may not seem like it, but you can be picky about who you work for and what you do.