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EIU Career Services

Professional Dress

How to Present a Positive Image

How important is proper dress for a job interview?  Well, the final selection of a job candidate will rarely be determined by attire.  However, first-round candidates for an opening are often quickly eliminated by inappropriate dress.  Image is often as important as content; in fact, studies have shown that at least 65% of the conveyed message is nonverbal!  First impressions – often made within the first 15 seconds – are lasting impressions.  Your goal should be to project a professional image.  Attire that is too revealing or sloppy will likely send a negative message to employers.  Make sure your clothing is clean, well-fitted and pressed. Top personal grooming is more important than finding the perfect outfit, but the following guidelines should be helpful when selecting the right attire to project a professional image. 


Professional dress - menFor Men

  • 2 piece suit in a solid color (black, blue or gray).
  • White or neutral-colored dress shirt.
  • Tie in a simple pattern that matches the colors of your suit.
  • Polished dress shoes in a dark color.
  • Dark socks.
  • Limited jewelry and no earrings or piercings.
  • Neatly trimmed hairstyle and nails.
  • No facial hair!
  • Minimal cologne.
  • Carry portfolio or briefcase.






Business casual has become a major recruiting tool for many employers. However, the definition of business casual can vary from industry to industry. In the conservative financial services industry, business casual might be the absence of a necktie for men and the use of pants by women. In the more trendy high tech industry, business casual may include sneakers and jeans. When in doubt about the attire for a business casual meeting, the best rule of thumb is to avoid denim and instead use khaki pants and casual, collared shirts. Business casual is often the appropriate dress for employer information sessions the evening before on-campus interviews.

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Eastern Illinois University
1301 Human Services
Charleston, IL 61920

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