Professional Appearance

It’s the Whole Package!

You never get a second chance to make a great first impression! Did you know that first impressions are formed within 10 – 15 seconds? 

Your professional appearance involves your wardrobe, appearance, body language, and verbal communication—all of these make your total package!


The clothing you wear to your interview should make you look like you fit in at your prospective employer.  When in doubt, err on the conservative side.  An interview is considered a “best dressed” occasion.  Do not gauge interview dress by how you might dress everyday on the job. 

A suit is the most professional attire and is recommended for an interview. Choosing a conservative, classic style is usually a good rule - it's versatile and a good investment. Choose a neutral color like navy, black, or charcoal gray. Keep your overall look simple and professional but keep in mind whether your career field is creative, traditional or somewhere in between when selecting your interview attire and accessories.

Basics of Professional Dress

Practicing the basics of professional dress and appropriate styles projects confidence and professionalism.  Research your career field and tailor your choices appropriately.

  • Spend 75% of your clothing budget on work-related clothing; 25% on other
  • Invest in neutral colors—black, navy, charcoal and brown
  • Buy quality pieces that can mix and match; avoid being too bold or flashy
  • Dress to the level of your position or better 
  • Without impeccable grooming – your whole appearance will fail – neatness counts!
Body Language (non-verbal communication)
  • Pay attention to posture, gestures, space, eye contact, facial expressions
  • Show interest, listen and be respectful
  • Engage the other person(s)
  • Manage emotions, act ethically, and demonstrate a positive attitude
Verbal Communication
  • Project confidence, energy, and approachability
  • Pay attention to grammar, vocabulary, voice quality, annunciation--avoid filler words
  • Ask a question – show interest in the other person and listen
  • Express appreciation by including “Thank you”