Dressing Professionally on a Budget

Chad Austin, the Job Placement Officer at Henry Ford Community College, contributes this regular column to the Mirror News, touching on a variety of subjects relating to job placement and how his office can help you get your career started. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Chad through the Job Placement Office at 313-845-9618 or by e-mail at ctaustin@hfcc.edu.
You just got off the phone with an employer that wants to interview you. Congratulations!! Now what are you going to wear? What you wear to an interview says a lot about you and how seriously you want to be taken. Many people think that they have to spend significantly in order to look professional at an interview but that is not always the case. Here are some helpful tips for dressing professionally while staying within a budget.

Don’t worry about name brands
You don’t have to wear Hugo Boss or Brooks Brothers to look good. Discount clothing stores have professional wear too. A black suit is a black suit. If it fits you well and gives you the proper image don’t worry what the label says.

Borrow
My first professional interview I wore my dad’s suit. Luckily we were roughly the same size! There is nothing wrong with asking someone to loan you a suit or professional wear.

Plan ahead
Most times people get into a clothing jam because they wait until the last minute before an interview and then realize that the suit they wore ten years ago doesn’t fit. Go through your wardrobe in advance and that can give you time to either buy or borrow a suit that sends the right message.

Know the industry
Some jobs and industries are more formal than others. While some will demand or at least expect the full business suit for the interview, others are fine with a more relaxed approach of just shirt and tie or blouse and slacks.

Know your resources
There are a lot of community- and faith-based organizations that will donate a suit or professional wear if you ask. Do some research and find out if there are some in your area. It is ok to ask for help.

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