Career and Professional Development


It only takes fifteen seconds to form that first impression, much of which is based on your appearance. In professional settings, your clothing sends a message about you, your organization and your position. The impression you make is critical, especially during first meetings.

General Tips

Suits - A suit is the most professional attire. Choosing a conservative, classic style is a versatile and good investment. The best choice is a pure wool or wool-blended suit in black, navy or charcoal gray. Single-breasted styles are more conservative.

Color/Pattern - Build your professional wardrobe around a neutral color.

Shirts – Wear a simple blouse or traditional cotton or cotton-blended shirts with long sleeves and straight or buttoned colors. White and light blue are recommended for interviews. Do not select a distracting color. Be sure to iron your shirt.

Shoes - Make sure your shoes are clean, polished, and comfortable. The best shoes for interviews are either leather or simulated leather lace-up shoes, or closed-toed pumps, with heels no higher than three inches. Choose dark colors like black or dark brown. If you're wearing a belt, your shoe color should match. Dress socks should match the color of your pants and reach mid-calf.

Ties - Choose a silk tie with a solid color, a classic pattern such as stripes, or repetitive patterns in dark colors. The tie should just reach your belt buckle.

Accessories - Coordinate handbags, belts and scarves with your outfit and choose neutral colors to coordinate with many outfits.

Jewelry - Avoid dangling earrings, multiple rings and noisy bracelets. Choose small and simple jewelry that doesn't distract. Watches, wedding rings and conservative rings are appropriate. Remove facial jewelry.

Hair - Go for clean, neat and controlled. Long hair should be pulled away from your face.

Nails - Aim for short and well-groomed. If wearing polish, use a neutral or clear shade.

Makeup - Use a natural look that enhances your appearance, nothing too heavy.