How to Dress for Your PR Interview

By Suzanne
June 13, 2017 , In Experience

Congratulations!  Your résumé piqued your prospective employer’s interest, and you’ve been invited in for an interview.  This is the time to really show them your stuff.  As the old saying goes, you only have one chance to make a first impression.  There’s no statement that’s truer when it comes to a job interview.

First things first, let’s talk about your outfit. 

I’m sure you are quite the “it” girl, and all over the latest trends.  Good for you.  But, this is not the time to go into full fashionista mode.  Public Relations, like many other fields, is very situational.  There are days when it’s appropriate to wear jeans and a blazer to the office, and others when a trendy designer dress is appropriate.  Others require an all black power suit.  Meeting your potential employer is exactly the same. 

What you wear should convey that you are professional, polished, and straightforward.  Personal style can be added, for sure, with special touches like accessories (see below for more on this).  There is also plenty of fashion-forward clothing that is perfectly suitable for the workplace. I’m old-fashioned and still prefer a dress or a skirt for first interviews, but that’s simply a personal preference.

Keep in mind that before you utter a single word out of your brilliant mouth, I’ve already started to formulate an opinion of you.  And, believe me, the bad outfits I’ve seen over the years have reputations that have lived on in infamy.  Just ask my team about  “Romper Girl” or “Gold Shorts Girl” or “Backless Dress Girl.”  And, then there’s “Boobs.” Seriously, these were real candidates, who had great resumes.  Unfortunately – and again, because my field relies on making situational judgment calls every single day – I just couldn’t get past the poor judgment of these outfits.

I also suggest skipping jeans for an interview.  I understand that the world is more casual these days, but you’re basically saying to me that our meeting wasn’t important enough for you to pull something more professional together. 

No shorts or tennis shoes.  This should require no further explanation.  If it does, you can quit reading now.  You are beyond hope.

Once you’ve planned your outfit, you can weave in accessories that convey your personal style.  If you wear purple every day, by all means throw in a purple scarf.  If handbags are your signature accessory, don one of your favorites.  My only cautionary advice is to exercise some restraint when it comes to luxury items.  If you come in wearing the latest Gucci sunnies, your Hermès bag, and a Chanel jacket, I’m probably not going to get the vibe that you need to work – or appreciate the value of work.  Just saying.  It’s fine to go with one luxe item, but that’s it. The same goes for lots of jewelry.  Keep your bling in the safe for now.

Lastly, go ahead and give some thought to how you are going to present your résumé (yes, I know I already have it from your initial email, but you need to bring a hard copy with you on interviews) and how you are going to take notes.  A simple solid colored notebook is perfectly fine.  It doesn’t need to be expensive.  It should be more professional than a scrap of paper from the bottom of your handbag.  A PR girl is always prepared!

Bottom line: 

Dress the part. 

Dress for the job you want to have in five years. 

Dress like yourself.

And, now you are ready to take on the luxury PR world.  You’re going to be great, and look smashing while nailing that interview.  I just know it!