Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Dress Right for Right Impression

No, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus in the Human Resources office. 

You can't just throw on any old clothes, and expect that some nice person will give you the gift of a lovely job.

There are right ways and wrong ways to dress when you go for job interviews, and you must dress the right way to make the right impression and earn that j.

Vicky Oliver, author of the newly published The Millionaire's Handbook: How to Look and Act Like a Millionaire, Even If You're Not suggests six ways NOT to dress for a summer job interview:

Tone down your nails. For this job, your nails don't belong in the Museum of Modern Art. Everywhere these days we see women with four nails on one hand in one shade and one nail in another shade, often adorned with sparkles, fake diamonds, and other "nail jewels." This is TOO creative for most office environments. You don't want your interviewer to be mesmerized more by your fingertips than by what comes out of your mouth.

Cover yourself up. It's tempting during warm weather for ladies to wear tiny tank tops, sheer blouses with lacy under things, and hemlines that show a lot of leg. For guys, it's muscle tees, unbuttoned shirts, and shorts. Cleavage, arm muscles, chest hair, upper thighs, or heaven forbid, midriffs are great for the tiki bar, but not for a job interview.

Look cool, not hot. If it's 100 degrees outside and you'll be walking to your job interview or riding public transportation, wear a shirt that you can quickly change out of before the meeting. Keep a tissue handy in your purse or pocket to dab those beads of sweat off your nose and brow. Fair or not, showing up sweaty for a job interview makes you look nervous and sloppy.

Save sandals for the beach. Wearing open-toed shoes or sandals gives a bad impression. You look too casual for an office, and could come across as seeming disrespectful toward the corporate culture. Also, showing naked toes just invites people to look at your feet and nails, from the color of your nail polish or lack of it to the trim of your nails. Is that what you want your interviewer thinking about while you're trying to sell yourself?

Nix the tattoos and piercings. If you have tattoos that are easily concealed by a long-sleeve shirt or trousers, cover them up. If you have piercings on your nose, lips, or eyebrows, refrain from bedazzling your face for one hour. Unless you're applying for a job as a nightclub bartender, these trendy adornments aren't going to enhance your professional chances.

It's hip to be square. Don't try to make a summertime fashion statement with a Hawaiian shirt, indoor sunglasses, a backwards baseball cap, or bangles up to your elbows. It's one thing to look sharp and maybe feature a single item of clothing or accessory that makes you stand out, such as an expensive briefcase or a unique color. It's another to look like you're headed for the Jersey Shore.


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