Dress for success
March 22, 2013
Think getting dressed for a job interview is as easy as opening your closet door, picking out a suit and putting it on?
You should put as much thought into what you're going to wear to an interview as what you put on your resume, said Sofio Barone during the Army Career and Alumni Program's dress for success class March 18 on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.
"If they're looking for X, Y, Z, you know your resume has to reflect X, Y, Z," he said. "I want you to know your clothing does the same thing." ACAP offers the monthly class as part of its Transition Assistance Program. Dress for success offers tips about how to present a polished and professional image during a job interview to Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and their Family members.
Servicemembers often find it challenging to pull together a professional wardrobe, particularly after years of wearing a uniform, Barone, creative director for a custom clothiers and tailor shop in McLean, Va., said.
"Sixty-five to seventy-five percent of how [hiring managers] base whether or not they hire you is based on what they see," he continued.
Interviewers also base their hiring decisions on how an applicant comports himself, how he handles his body, his mannerisms, and even his tone of voice. "Five percent of hiring decisions are based on what you say," Barone explained, adding "weird, huh?"
And if you make a negative first impression, it can take 45 minutes of talking to change the impression you've made, he said.
Barone provided attendees with several common sense tips on dressing for a job interview: Don't wear clothing that is too tight, too revealing, too baggy or too loose. Don't wear dated clothes, a too skinny tie or a shiny belt.
"Whether or not you button your jacket is irrelevant. It's the fact that you can button the jacket," he said to laughter.
You should dress appropriately for the position you are seeking, Barone said. For example, if a woman is going after a job in law enforcement, a skirt and heels might not be the most appropriate thing to wear to an interview.
Men don't have a lot of color choices when it comes to dressing for a job interview. A black suit should not be worn to an interview because of the color's association with funerals, which leaves the guys with a choice between a blue or gray suit, said Barone.
"Ladies, it's different for you," he said. "You can go with black, you can go with dark brown, there's lots of colors you can do, but for the guys it's blue and gray."
Accessories should compliment, not overwhelm your outfit, and don't forget the small details -- like a handkerchief in your pocket, and polished shoes. "The whole focus should be to draw the eyes to your face," he said.
Barone also explained there are six body types -- V, I, X, A,H, and O -- and discussed the designers and manufacturers who make clothing that is appropriate for each type. He also gave a primer on design history and style evolution.
Participants had been asked to wear clothes they thought would be appropriate to an interview to a class, with Barone bringing them up to offer a critique of what they were wearing. Several of the male attendees got new ties and handkerchiefs while the ladies had scarves re-tied and handkerchiefs added to their jacket pockets.
"The stronger the contrast in what you are wearing, the stronger the announcement," he said. "That's why we go with a dark suit, light shirt, red tie, whatever.
"We want two ingredients. One is understated elegance, the other is a little bit of chic."
Barone has led the classes for eight years. The Italian immigrant provides the service free of charge as a way of thanking those who defend and fight for the country.
For more information on ACAP and the next dress for success class, call 703-696-0973.