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How not to dress for a summer job interview

Ditch the tank top and flip flops and carry a hankerchief to wipe your brow if it's really hot

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Young people make delightful employees. They’re full of energy, fresh ideas, and they’re generally positive and enthusiastic.

But sometimes they don’t have a clear idea about office etiquette and what managers expect in the way of attire and presentation. To put it bluntly, they walk into summer job interviews wearing “fashion don’ts” that could actually undermine their chances of landing a job.

Don’t let this happen to you. Here are a few tips on how not to dress for that summer job interview.

William Philpott/Reuters

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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.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

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Cover yourself up.

It’s tempting during warm weather for ladies to wear tiny tank tops, sheer blouses with lacy underthings, 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.

Jupiterimages/Getty Images/Comstock Images

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Look cool, not hot.

If it’s 40 degrees Celcius 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.

Jim Cole/AP

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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 colour 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?

Anthony Boulton/Getty Images/iStockphoto

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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.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

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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 colour. It’s another to look like you’re headed for the Jersey Shore.

Jon Schulte/Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Vicky Oliver is the author of five bestselling books on personal branding, etiquette, and career development, including her latest, The Millionaire’s Handbook: How to Look and Act Like a Millionaire Even If You’re Not. She’s a leading career adviser and image consultant in Manhattan.

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