Dress for success: be the person your employer wants you to be

Monta Reinfelde

Congratulations, seniors! In two weeks you will be out in the real world. I can’t help but to be excited and sorry for you at the same time. I have had some experience with dealing with employers in the past two years, and it has been very diverse. However, staying focused to the fashion, I learned some things I want to share with you.

Even though I have another year left in the safe walls of the college, I have done some freelance and internship interviews before. Some went pretty smoothly and I even managed to land an internship and a freelance job, but some…

I remember two years ago, I had an interview with the director of one of the largest publishing houses in Latvia. I didn’t know what to wear, so in such cases, I always go with a smart black blazer and jeans. Mostly, it works, but not if you are meeting one of the biggest assholes in the world, dressed Gucci head to toes. He was looking down at me both professionally and materially. After introduction, his first question was, “What do you want?”

What I wanted was a freelance job at the fashion magazine, but after a couple of seconds, I regretted that I even mentioned that. He took a look at me and without any further hesitation asked, “What do you know about the fashion?”

Reading fashion blogs, being excited about shopping and wearing a simple blazer for an interview, obviously, didn’t qualify me. At the end of an interview he offered me to write a short column for a teenager magazine about tennis, I guess not to be completely rude.

I cried a bit. Never wrote the column, just to be stubborn, and promised myself, the next time I will meet him, I will be wearing Michael Kors head to toe, and he will be begging for a job to me. Yeah, that’s right; I’m not good at getting “no” for an answer.

Well, I probably should have written about some success story to encourage graduates, but I think it is better to hope for the best while being prepared for the worst.

My suggestion is to research the company you are applying for. Not only what they are doing professionally, but also who the people are and what their dress code at work is.

Even if the best outfit for landing the job is not what you would normally wear. Even if you don’t feel comfortable in it, you have to fake it till you make it. After all, you want that job.

So what if those heels are killing your feet, a white blouse doesn’t let you breath and the black dress pants look so lame when being interviewed for a job in a bank. So what if you hate wearing large chunky accessories, A-line dresses and designer pumps when being interviewed for a creative job. Whatever it takes to be the right person to get a job, do it – make yourself the right person.