Unfortunately there are a lot of people out on the job market now, and as one who has hired a lot of people over the years, here is one very simple tip; dress for success. Unless you are wearing a tux and tails to an interview, it is hard to be overdressed. Dressing professionally demonstrates courtesy to your prospective employer or client.
I am in the advertising business, where many would translate business attire as “a darker shade of tee shirt”. Perhaps I am a traditionalist, but regardless of the position someone applies for, when someone interviews with me I expect them to be in real business attire, which for men includes a jacket and tie.
A couple years ago a fresh college graduate showed up for an interview in shorts and polo shirt, explaining he came to the interview from a game. I politely refused to interview him, explaining we weren’t playing around at the company.
In my book Warriors, Workers, Whiners & Weasels I profile the legendary entrepreneur Jay Call, founder of Flying J. Jay told me that during an interview he would closely examine the applicant’s shoes to make sure they were shined, as he found people that took pride in their shoes also took pride in their work. Jay also liked to follow applicants to the parking lot to take a look at their cars, as he found people that kept clean cars also took pride in their work. He didn’t care if your car or shoes were old, he just cared about how you kept them up.
I certainly don’t go to those lengths, but I must admit the concept makes a bit of sense. And if I were in the job market right now, I would do everything I could to tip the scales in my favor.