Stressing about what to wear on your first date? First date with your future employer?

Yeah, I see that raised eyebrow of worry on your face. Dressing up for your first date with your future employer is vital. Vital because before you get your skills and certifications to speak for you, your appearance has already started a conversation with your hiring manager. As work environments range from locked cubicles (yes they do exist) to razor-scooters moving through the aisles, do a run through of this checklist even before you turn to your wardrobe.

  1. Identify industry, geographic location and the time of the year — yeah duh!
  2. Scour the social media pages of the company and their competitors to shortlist interview outfits.
  3. It doesn’t hurt to give the company HR a call and ask what they advice.
  4. Always make a conservative choice when in doubt. Better to be slightly overdressed rather than under-dressed.

The checklist above will save you from being in a deer in the headlights kind of a situation. Read further to find a dress guide broken down at industry level to dress for success.

Industry type: Business, Finance, Consulting, Law
What works best: Business professional
Avoid drama or loud colors. The interviewer is definitely not interested in your fashion statement. Neatly done hair with minimal yet classy makeup will make you look earnest and sincere. Blue makes you look trustworthy, hence the color to go with. The safest bet for these industries, weather permitting, is to don a blazer. Make sure that your clothing is toned down and it doesn’t distract the interviewer from your professionalism.

Industry type: Advertising, PR, Editorial jobs
What works best: Business casuals

Even if you are interviewing for an industry known as casual and creative, the interview is still a professional affair. Dressing down with the right hint of accessory will make you look easy yet polished. For men, think of a button up shirt on trousers under a blazer. Or give khakis a try pairing them up with a linen shirt and tan shoes. For women, try a shift dress under a cardigan or a blazer with classic black pumps. Or you can always do cotton or silk-cotton blockprint saris with delicate ear studs and a bold watch.

Industry type: Beauty, Fashion, Retail, PR, Startup
What works best: Fashion forward casual

Dressing up corporate for fashion or beauty industry jobs is as blasphemous as showing up to a startup interview in a black tie. If jeans and sweatshirts are the staple at your next job, try pairing dark jeans with a simple shirt with neat hair. If your interviewer does a Prada, try opting for a casual dress with a statement neck-piece or a chic belt. Remember a great red lip is your key to keep things classic as well as fashionable.

Rules of thumb regardless of industry
Keep your nails minimum and trimmed. Women can paint them to nudes, soft pink or classic red.
Give the perfume a ditch no matter how much you love them. You never know your faves can be offensive to some or may even cause an allergic reaction.
If you wear glasses, tag them along. Sometimes they can help you add a dash of maturity to your appearance.
Remember to take off your sunglasses before you walk into the office. Definitely don’t wear them on your head.

At the end of the day, you want your personality to shine through your clothes. Wear clothes that make you feel confident. Remember that if you believe in yourself, others will too.