Many people object to being judged for employment based on how they look. Job seekers prefer to be hired because of their skills and abilities, not because of how they dress; but like it or not, appearance is important.

While people like to exhibit their flair for the latest in fashion style, the job interview is not a runway. Even though many companies have relaxed the internal company dress code, interviews still follow the conservative standard.

A professional look can be achieved without breaking the wallet. Do not go out and but a whole new wardrobe. Go for quality over quantity. One or two well-chosen business suits will be useful all the way to the first day on the job and beyond.

When interviewing for a job, the old adage a picture is worth a thousand words applies. Remember this when preparing to meet with a prospective employer. The created image will greatly influence one's chances of being hired. Most employers form a first impression during the first seven seconds of a meeting. Not much is said is this short time; early judgment is based strictly on appearance.

Some basic guidelines to follow are:

Be clean and neat, including your fingernails, teeth, shoes, hair and face.

Empty pockets-no bulges or tinkling coins/keys, etc.

No gum, candy or cigarettes.

Arrive ten minutes early and arrive alone.

Smile; be friendly.

Use good eye contact.

Shake hands firmly.

There are no absolute rules regarding dress. The selection will vary based on the occupation, location, and preference. A business suit for a construction job or overalls for an office job would not be appropriate dress. The goal is to look the part.

Common sense and good taste are the best guides in selecting clothing for the interview. Avoid faddish styles and loud colors. Jewelry should be conservative and kept to a minimum. Clothing should fit comfortably. You want the employer to focus on your skills, not on your clothes.

An interview isn't a beauty contest, but how a job seeker dresses and their overall appearance almost always get noticed by the interviewer. It is important to pay attention to details like ironing a shirt and polishing shoes. In order to be treated like a professional, one must dress like a professional.

*Much of this information was found on