Dress the part: what to wear to work
After perfecting your resume and attending Career Center workshops, the work does not end once you land an interview for an internship. Among preparing answers for interview questions and researching the company, outfit choice is something that often gets overlooked until the morning of, resulting in stress and a very messy closet. Sandra Maloney, assistant director of the Career Center, said that being conservative on an interview is essential. “No matter what you have heard of the company culture or dress code, it is always better to be overdressed for an interview,” she said. “You never know who you will be meeting with or what they will be wearing.” Maloney adds that men should look to President Obama’s outfit choices at past news conferences for interview outfit ideas. If wearing a modest-length skirt, girls should always wear panty hose and closed-toe flats or reasonable heels. And, while it is natural to “over spray for special occasions,” perfume and cologne should be applied sparingly – you do not want to overwhelm your interviewer with fragrance rather than your talent. Now that you’ve completed the interview and successfully landed the internship, it is important to carefully consider the outfit you choose to wear on your first day in the office. Maloney emphasizes to take note of what other employees were wearing during your interview and make a decision based on that. Juniors Jennifer Crowe and Phillip Burrows agree that you can take cues from co-workers, but it’s always better to be overdressed on the first day. “Being over dressed shows that you care and are workplace ready,” Crowe said. “Being underdressed could come across as careless and immature.” Burrows, who overdressed for the first day at his summer internship, said “there is nothing wrong with being too formal.” He quickly realized that his office was casual, but even while wearing jeans he looked professional in a pressed button down or nice polo shirt. Maloney also said pairing jeans with a nicer shirt and shoes is a way to “look professional and not stand out like a college student.” The goal of an internship is to gain experience and ultimately land a full time job, and dressing up to a certain standard is a way to ensure you fit the team. Being part of the team was important at Crowe’s internship at a fashion-savvy public relations firm required her to dress in bright colors and statement pieces while remaining professional. “My outfit choices would vary based on if I was working an event or meeting with a client,” she said. “But [outfits were] all within the realm of a fashion forward professional.” Alexandra D’Aluisio can be reached at Alexandra.firstname.lastname@example.org.