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How to Look, Dress, and Feel Your Best in an Interview: Tips for Teens

Last updated January 8, 2024

First impressions matter! While the most important thing about any job interview is communicating why you would be a great employee at a company, being prepared and appropriately dressed is also important. Professionalism is a key skill to prepare for a job or internship interview, and can oftentimes set you apart from other candidates. Before you head out to your next job interview, review our simple tips on how to look, dress, and feel your best!

Professionalism redefined

It’s important to recognize that professionalism and “looking professional” were built on white, male-dominant standards. Research shows that conventional professionalism can lead Black and Brown employees to feel like they don't belong in the workplace, and can lead to real consequences like being passed over for a job offer, promotion, or raise.

While we recognize these standards are detrimental to showing your authentic self in the workplace, we also recognize that we’re unable to shift this perspective on our own. We want to give you these tips to set you up for success in our current world with the hope that "professionalism" is redefined in the future.

From the neck up

Make sure your hair is neatly styled (including facial hair). Depending on the job, you may also consider keeping your makeup minimal. 

Attire

If it’s available online, research the company’s dress code. Some companies publish their dress code on their website or have photos of employees that you can pull inspiration from. When in doubt, always play it safe and wear business casual attire. Business casual is typically a clean and simple professional look. Including a combination of these items in your interview look will leave a lasting impression:

  • Button up shirt.
  • Blouse.
  • Slacks.
  • Dress or skirt, preferably knee length.
  • Closed toe shoes/flats.
  • Heels. (Make sure they are comfortable and that you can walk with confidence.)

Things to avoid:

  • Jeans.
  • T-shirts.
  • Shorts.
  • Spaghetti straps.
  • Flip flops.
  • Hoodies. 

Be sure to also only wear two accessories (rings, necklaces, watches, earrings, bracelets, etc.) or less to keep distractions at a minimum. For example, if you tend to talk with your hands, make sure you’re not wearing a bracelet or watch that makes any noise. 

If you’re having trouble finding business casual clothes on a budget, here are some affordable options:

A young black man wearing a blue suit smiles at the camera - How to Look, Dress, and Feel Your Best in an Interview: Tips for Teens

Hygiene

Here are some things to do the day of your interview to make sure you're feeling your best:

  • Shower and put on deodorant.
  • Brush your teeth and avoid eating things with strong or lasting odors.
  • Avoid any activities or environments in which strong odors will linger or stick to your clothing.
  • Take a breath mint two minutes before your interview.
  • Don’t use too much perfume, scented lotion, or cologne. 

Have any questions about preparing for a job interview? Text #Jobs to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our advisors. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!

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