Business professional

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First things first: let the corporate culture of the company be your guide. This means that if people generally dress up to go to work, so should you. On the other hand, if you’re interviewing at a tech startup or a media company or similar, and most people wear jeans and t-shirts to work, you can be a bit more relaxed and opt for business casual attire. Regardless of the informality of the company, you want to dress to impress when you’re going to a job interview. More on these potential sartorial pitfalls in a moment.

The goal is to convey professionalism and respect and to dress in a way that allows your ideas and experience to shine. After you have accepted the job offer, you may be working in an environment where business casual or just plain casual is appropriate workplace attire. In that case, it’s important to avoid overdressing. If you’re not sure what you should wear, ask. There is no better way to make a bad impression than to show up for your first day of work standing out like a sore thumb because you’re not dressed correctly. Another is that business casual can mean different things to different employers. There is no strict definition of the phrase.

In some cases, business casual attire means pressed khakis and a button-down long-sleeved shirt. To other companies, it might mean dress jeans and a polo shirt. That said, when possible you want to avoid choosing an outfit that makes you uncomfortable. That’s tough when the dress code is business attire and you’re used to going to work dressed in athleisure. But remember that you’re trying to create a good first impression: looking like you’re wearing your older brother’s suit won’t help. Does that mean skipping the suit altogether, even for employers with a more formal dress code? But it does mean making sure that your interview attire fits and spending some time getting used to wearing it before the big day.

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