Styled for Hire: Interview Looks for College Grads
Calling all college students! Our new weekly column, Stomping the Yard, aims to help undergrads excel in their studies and social lives. JETmag.com’s team of experts will show you how to get it done from the day you move into the dorms to the minute you step off campus for that first job. Submit questions and feedback for The Yard via firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this season of commencement, thousands of college grads are hoping to enter the workforce and start establishing their independence. Although the economy is starting to stabilize, jobs with good salaries and generous benefits packages are still hard to come by, especially for millennials who lack years of experience. With so many talented candidates in the pool, hiring decisions will come to down to what you know, what you show, and not surprisingly, what you wear.
It’s a fact. Appearances matter. Before you say one word, shake one hand, or deliver your polished pitch, your image is going to be the first thing a potential employer will notice about you. Finding your style after college can be a challenge. As a professor, I have seen everything in the classroom from pajama bottoms to pirate costumes (yes, really). But in the work world, those overly casual, “anything goes” style choices can cost you your paycheck.
Furthermore, college students are known for being cash strapped. Most grads barely have the financial resources to pay back their student loans, let alone finance an expensive wardrobe; however, there are several ways to pull together a polished, professional look without breaking the bank.
Columbia College grad, and fashion/wardrobe stylist, Aaja Corinne Carr offers four pieces of budget-friendly styling advice for new grads: 1) shop sales; 2) shop thrift; 3) shop basics; and 4) shop around.
1) Shop Sales: Carr recommends looking for stores that offer student discounts in addition to allowing customers use coupons and promo codes. Stores such as The Limited and New York & Company offer workplace appropriate style as well as discounts for students.
2) Shop Thrift: Gently worn or previously used pieces can be found for a fraction of the cost of retail. Some shoppers have even managed to find a tailored, two- piece suit for less than $10! Thrift stores are also a great place to find accessories: belts, handbags, briefcases, high heels, and jewelry can add the finishing touches to any work wear outfit.
3) Shop Basics: When going for a job interview, less is more. Save the glitz and glam for celebration after you’ve landed the job. Carr says basics are pieces that can go the distance in your wardrobe: a pair of tailored trousers, a blazer, little black dress, white blouse or an A-line skirt. These pieces can be mixed and matched for multiple interview opportunities.
4) Shop Around: When shopping on a limited budget, a little research can save you quite a bit of cash. Mobile apps, such as ShopStyle, can search thousands of stores for a single item and show you where to find the best deal.
Once you know where to shop, it’s critical to know what to shop for! Ease the tension of knowing what to wear by getting style inspiration from Pinterest boards or style sites such as Polyvore.
Your style choice during an interview can be either a distraction or an attribute. Avoid clothes that are tight and revealing so that the focus remains on your expertise and your professional assets.
Getting TO college is one thing; Getting THROUGH college is quite another. That’s why Dr. Shante’ Bishop offers strategic advice on being successful both in and out of the classroom. From catalogs to cap and gown, Professor Bishop shares what it takes to ‘Stomp the Yard” with confidence and clarity! You can follow Dr. Bishop on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.