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Dressing up Properly to Impress the Interviewer

If you are transitioning from military to civilian workforce and looking for a new job, you may feel out of your element during the interview process. You should not forget that one of the most important aspects of an interview and most of the time taken for granted is your attire. You may ask, “What am I going to wear; how am I going to look best?” The keywords are: dress to impress.

Let me give you some important tips on what clothes to wear, the color, type, and the accessories that must go with it. Remember that how you dress up is usually important to the interviewer because they will judge you instantly based on your attire. As they say, first impressions last. So, make a great first impression on your interview day.

Suit Up

For men and women, a two-pieced matched suit is always a perfect choice. With conservative colors such as navy, gray, dark gray and black as the most dignified colors and always on the safe side.

For men, a tailored suit can be used, but most of the time long-sleeved dress shirt or polo and a pair of slacks will do as long as it they are clean and carefully pressed. White are light blue are the most common color that people use but if you are confident to carry your favorite color and be different, go for it!

For women, tailored pants suits are more appropriate. But wearing skirts can be okay if done tastefully. A skirt that ends at the knee when you're standing looks elegant and professional, but make sure it is still close to knee-length when you are seated. Longer skirts can look professional too if they fit well. Otherwise, they tend to look old fashioned. Avoid using plunging neckline and sleeveless tops because this will distract the attention of the interviewer.


For men, ties, a belt, socks and shoes are all important accessories. Go for classics (don’t wear a tie with cartoon characters). Shoes should not be scuffed. Hair should be well groomed as it also reflects your personality. I know you’re used to using boots as a military personnel, but don’t wear them on your interview day.

Bags, cosmetics, and shoes are part of the overall look of a woman. Everything should be kept a simple as possible, especially your make-up. No over-sized bags and heavy make-up, please. Also, do not wear noisy jewelry. To avoid tripping, don’t use very high heels. Simple yet elegant look is enough to keep your interviewer more interested in you.


Though perfumes and cologne are not technically attire, most people want to smell nice when they get dressed up. Be careful not to put too much on, though. Interviews are often held in small rooms or offices and the interviewer might keep things really short if he is allergic to or irritated by a strong smell. Just use light perfume or cologne to make your smell good and fresh.

A great first impression really does matter. Appropriate attire for an interview will create an image of a person who is really serious about the job being applied for. Even though you have years of military experience and are very determined, your personal appearance will be judged as an expression of who you are and your approach to your work. Dress up properly to have a successful interview.

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