What to Wear to an On Campus College Job Interview

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A campus job interview can be challenging to dress for since there are a lot of different types of positions available on a typical college campus. While the specifics of what you wear might vary, you should aim for an appropriate and polished look at all times.

Dressing Up (or Down) for the Job Interview

You may need to adjust the everyday outfit that you'd wear to class or the dining hall in order to appear interview-ready. Although that certainly doesn't mean you have to wear a formal suit or carry a briefcase, you should take the extra few minutes to look nice for your interview – whether that means putting on a nice pair of earrings, polishing your shoes, or ironing your shirt.

For most campus interviews, business casual will do just fine. Think along the lines of a more "professional version" of an outfit you might typically wear out to dinner. For example, a wrinkle-free pair of pants and a button-down, polo, or sweater will do nicely.

Unless you're interviewing for a more formal type position, like an executive assistantship in the Dean's Office, then tailored, dark-wash jeans or colored slacks are okay, too. Just make sure they’re in good condition and not wrinkled, torn or stained.

Men might opt for a decent pair of dress shoes, and women can choose between flats or dressy boots, depending on the weather. While it's generally a good idea to avoid sneakers, high heels or extremely formal men's shoes aren't necessary for most jobs on a college campus. Just make sure your shoes are in good condition and not scuffed. You may want to invest in some shoe polish and clean them up before your interview.

When you're putting together an outfit, a good rule of thumb is to think back to your college admissions interview. That same style of dress generally works for campus job interviews, too. The best part is that you won’t need to buy a new outfit if you still have the clothes you wore then.

What to Wear for a Campus Job Interview

  • Even though it's a campus interview, you still want to look nice, so don't wear your sweatpants or pajamas – even if you're coming from an 8 a.m. class. (And no flip-flops or fuzzy slippers.)
  • Be discriminatory when wearing your university's logo gear. Interviewing with the athletics departments or vying for a spot as a tour guide? You'd probably be okay wearing a nice crew neck sweater with your school's logo on it, but it’s best to avoid hoodies or anything too casual.
  • Adjust your level of formality to the type of position. For example, if you're applying to be a lifeguard in the university gym, you can dress more on the "casual" side of "business casual." However, other circumstances – like an interview to be a Dean's Ambassador, or to work in public relations for the alumni organization – might call for a tailored look.
  • Keep your accessories, such as jewelry, makeup, and perfume or cologne, to a minimum. You want the focus to be on you, not on your fashion sense and there’s no reason to go overboard.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your interviewer about the office dress code if you have any lingering doubts. When you're scheduling your interview over the phone or via email, it's okay to ask something like, "Also, I was wondering if the office had a dress code?" Your interviewer's answer should give you a good sense of what to wear.

Remember that although your attire is key to making a good first impression, you have to be able to act the part in addition to looking it. Brush up on interview questions and answers, proofread your resume and print a copy for your interviewer, and review the top interview tips, including interview tips for college students, before the big day.