What College Students Should Wear to a Job Interview

College student interviews at job fair
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While college students might dress casually in the classroom, they should always dress professionally when interviewing for a professional job or internship. Below are a few tips on how to select the perfect outfit for a job interview.

Research the Company

Before going to an interview, find out how employees at the company dress. This might involve researching the company online or even calling the company and asking before your interview. Some companies are very conservative in their dress policies and require business attire, while others are more business casual.

Either way, you should always dress at least slightly nicer than the employees. If you cannot find out how the employees typically dress, it is safest to dress conservatively. It is far better to come to an interview overdressed than underdressed.

Attire for Men

Men should wear a suit, tie, and dress shoes for most interviews. The suit should be a subdued, solid color (navy and deep gray are best), and shoes should be black or brown. Wear a long sleeve, button-down shirt (either white or another color that matches your suit), and a subdued tie (small dots or classic stripes work well). Wear black socks so that you will look professional if you cross your ankles.

Even if the employees typically dress in a business casual style, you may still want to wear a suit and tie. However, if the interviewer tells you that you should dress casually, or you are very confident that they prefer a casual style, you can wear a blazer or sports jacket with dress slacks and either a sweater or a button-down shirt. Make sure your jacket and pants match (again, navy and deep gray work best) and that your shirt or sweater is not too brightly colored or patterned. Wear black or brown dress shoes and black socks.

Your look must be polished; iron your outfit the night before and make sure your shoes are clean (you may consider getting a shoe shine before the interview).​

Attire for Women

Women have slightly more options for professional interview attire. A suit (either pantsuit or skirt suit) with a button-down shirt or blouse is most appropriate for a professional interview. The suit should be a solid, neutral color, such as navy, dark gray or black.

The shirt or blouse can be any color that matches the suit but is not too bright or loudly patterned. Make sure your blouse is not low cut; if you feel at all concerned that it is too revealing, do not wear it.

Wear neutral colored shoes, either professional flats or heels (no more than 2-3 inches).

In the instance that the employees typically dress in a business casual style, you can still opt to wear a suit if you like. If you are instructed to dress casually, a skirt or slacks with a blouse or button-down shirt and blazer or neutral cardigan should do the trick. The skirt or slacks and blazer should be a solid, neutral color, such as navy, dark grey, or black. Make sure your blouse is not too low cut or too brightly patterned.

If elect to wear a skirt, you may want to wear nude pantyhose, especially if you are interviewing for a very conservative company.

It always helps to give your clothes a fresh iron and shoes a polish before your interview.

Grooming Tips

Men should make sure their hair and nails are trim, and that they have shaved or trimmed their facial hair.

Women should put up their hair in a clean, simple updo, such as a sleek ponytail or bun, or wear their hair down if it is washed and trimmed.

Both men and women should avoid heavy colognes and perfume that might be distracting for the interview.

Makeup for women should be limited. This may include a concealer or foundation, a neutral gloss or lipstick, and mascara. Avoid brightly colored eyes.


Women may wear simple jewelry, including one small necklace (such as a pearl necklace) and small studs or little hoops. Any other jewelry or piercings should be removed. Men should remove any jewelry or piercings during the interview. Both men and women should try to cover up any tattoos.