What to wear to a PR job interview

Posted: February 22, 2010 in Public Relations Industry Notes

This weekend I ran into something very interesting on T.V. while I was home. There was a show on the Style Network about what to wear to a job interview and I thought it was pretty interesting. Here’s what I learned. 

The first impression you make on a potential employer is the most important one. The first judgment an interviewer makes is going to be based on how you look and what you are wearing. That’s why it’s always important to dress professionally for a job interview.The candidate dressed in a suit and tie is going to make a much better impression than the candidate dressed in scruffy jeans and a t-shirt.

Seek styles that can combine comfort with professionalism. Chances are, you are moving around, shaking hands, smiling 1,000 times a day, running out to meet clients, touring a group of 50+ people, or making an important presentation. The key to dressing for a job in Public Relations is to make it work for you, but to make it look like it’s working for the client!

Look presentable, the PR department is often considered the “face” of a company, the expectation is that you will be the representative. This usually requires business casual dress. Find a happy medium. Remember that it’s not the prom! The last thing you want to do is make a client or customer uncomfortable with your appearance. Many PR jobs will require skirts, slacks, button-up dress shirts, khakis, suits, or shirts with collars.

Here’s a list of tips that should help you out:

Men and Women

  • Conservative two-piece business suit (solid dark blue or grey is best)
  • Conservative long-sleeved shirt/blouse (white is best, pastel is next best)
  • Clean, polished conservative shoes
  • Well-groomed hairstyle
  • Clean, trimmed fingernails
  • Minimal cologne or perfume
  • No gum, candy or cigarettes
  • Light briefcase or portfolio case
  • No visible body piercing (nose rings, eyebrow rings, etc.)

Men

  • Necktie should  a conservative pattern
  • Dark shoes (black lace-ups are best)
  • Dark socks (black is best)
  • Get a haircut; short hair always fares best in interviews
  • No beards (unless you are interviewing for a job as a lumberjack!)
  • Mustaches are a possible negative, but if you must, make sure it is neat and trimmed
  • No earrings (if you normally wear one, take it out)

Women

  • Always wear a suit with a jacket; no dresses
  • Shoes with conservative heels
  • No purses, small or large; carry a briefcase instead
  • Minimal use of makeup (it should not be too noticeable)

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Comments
  1. candicehall says:

    Hey Phillip! Great job with your blog! Knowing what to wear to an interview is always tough. Remember Mrs. Mallard always talking to us in Advertising about what is “business professional” attire and what isn’t? That was kind of annoying at the time but I guess she had a point! Having teh right kinda clothes can say a lot about a person trying to get a job. I like how you broke your post up into what is best for men and what is best for women. “Always wear a suit. No dresses” I do not like that rule!! haha Good JOb!

  2. […] 1. Comment on Phillip’s Blog – What to Wear to an Interview Hey Phillip! Great job with your blog! Knowing what to wear to an interview is always tough. […]

  3. marielorelei says:

    I think the suggestion for women to carry a briefcase seems quite strange. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen a woman, outside of lawyers, carrying briefcases. For that matter, I don’t think I’ve ever seen men carrying briefcases unless they work for the court.

    I think the tip about no beards for men is partially helpful but mostly entertaining. There are some men that wear beards as a part of their religion and some successful businessmen sport beards. I think the most important thing is for the facial hair to be well kept. So long as the facial hair isn’t on a woman, there’s pretty much a way around it.

  4. […] What to wear to a PR job interview by Phillip […]

  5. laur22 says:

    I also think it is quite funny to picture a woman will an old-fashioned briefcase. These days, so many guys as well as girls carry a messenger bag or something leather that is professional. I do not understand how people down south wear long sleeves and pants in the summertime! I am from Ohio, and I find it very hard to wear pants and jeans to work in the summer. It is so humid down here, and I find it crazy that southerners are able to wear pants. Obviously they have to because it is professional haha.

  6. […] “What to Wear to a PR Job Interview” by Phillip […]

  7. Jayme says:

    Phillip! Good blog! It’s funny because you assume people know what they should and should not wear to an interview then you see them and it’s like,”ARE YOU SERIOUS!?” It’s funny too because people go to interviews with their hair any kind of way and messy. Boys need to understand that they might need to watch the foolishness they are getting cut into their heads and girls need to watch the wacky colors they put into theirs. People need to be remembering that a job interview works off of first impressions and sometimes that’s the only impression. The fashion industry messed it up for women because it is rare that you can find a briefcase for us now, everything is made to look like big hand bags now.

  8. […] Phillip Edwards: What to Wear to a PR Job Interview-April 21, […]

  9. katiann4710 says:

    Phillip,
    I too being in the same Practicum class had to write on this topic. As I started researching what others are saying about whats was appropriate and not appropriate to wear on an interview I found some of the answers shocking. My research all came from online sources, but for woman in particular it changes. I obviously would be more interested in what they recommend for a female to wear, but the controversy between dress, skirt, or slacks is still unclear. In my research it stressed the importance for woman to wear a dress or skirtsuit, but in your blog it states that you should not wear a dress. Confusing, confusing.
    -Kati Ann

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