Dressing the Part: How to Dress for a Job Interview in the World of Sales

Image Credit: David Lezcano via Unsplash

If you’ve landed a job interview for a sales position (congrats!), it’s vital to dress appropriately. You want to convey yourself in a polished manner that also shows you respect the organization, the opportunity, and the interviewer or hiring committee — and you take it all very seriously.

According to American fashion designer Rachel Zoe, “style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.” The Italian designer Miuccia Prada puts it even more simply: “fashion is instant language.” So don’t miss this chance to speak volumes without saying a word and guide that crucial first impression.

Do Your Research — But Wear a Suit!

It’s never bad to be slightly overdressed for an interview in sales (at least, that’s what elite sales recruiters will uniformly recommend). Always wear a suit or pantsuit as a starting layer. Then, adjust small details (involving color, shape, fit, and accessories) based on the company. Not every organization will have the same culture or dress code, so know what they expect (looking at company headshots or social media pages will help guide your choices).

Are you interviewing with a traditional Fortune 500 in a busy skyscraper? Wear adark belt and leather (or faux-leather) shoes, muted, neutral colors, like charcoal, black, or navy, and consider upping to a three-piece.Bring a professional-looking briefcase. Speaking with a scrappy start-up specializing in creativity? You might get away with a more tech-savvy watch or earrings, funkier glasses, or a more daring pattern. Like a finely tailored suit is fitted to the wearer, you want to tailor your look to the company but always opt for class over flash.

Get Groomed

Obviously, you want to look your best from a personal hygiene standpoint — get a fresh haircut and shave (or nicely trimmed facial hair), take care of and moisturize your skin, clean your nails and scrub your teeth. Avoid perfume and cologne, heavily scented moisturizers or deodorants (you shouldn’t have an odor, good or bad). If you have long hair, tie it up tastefully and apply a light hand with makeup. Dressing (and grooming) well will make you feel well and boost your confidence.

Prepare in Advance

Dressing to impress starts a few days before the interview. Give yourself plenty of time to get the haircut, manicure or treatment you’ve been putting off. Then ensure you eat well, avoid alcohol and smoke, and drink plenty of water to ensure your skin, teeth and eyes look bright and healthy. You might have pre-interview jitters, but try to rest and sleep enough to actually look refreshed.

This is super important: try on your outfit (including shoes and coat!) a few days before the interview. You might find your pants aren’t fitting, there’s a stain on your jacket, your shoes are scuffed, or you simply feel uncomfortable in your ensemble. Giving yourself a window of time will allow you to make much-needed adjustments.

Doing all this in advance also lets you check the weather — wind, rain, snow, sleet, hail, humidity, and blazing sunshine will all impact what you need to wear and bring.

Finally, get your clothing professionally pressed. If that’s not an option, do ensure you use an ironer or steamer to get all the wrinkles out, and spend some time buffing up leather. Then lay out your look for the day ahead and breathe a sigh of relief: you’re ready!

Following these tips, you’ve put your best foot forward, and now can focus on the more important details: your skills, qualifications, and how you’re an excellent fit for the role. You’re also realizing the crucial observation by author Charles Hix: “Looking good isn’t self-importance; it’s self-respect.”

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