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Consulting Wear: Tips for Projecting Your Professionalism

Written by . Posted in Consulting Application, Fit Interview Prep

Businessman in classic vest against row of suits in shop

In preparing for your interview, you’ve researched your target consulting firm, networked with some of its employees, and practiced resolving case interviews. However, when you woke up on the actual day, you realized you hadn’t thought about what to wear during the interview.

Being in this situation can cause you some problems. Whether you like it or not, your consulting wear affects the interviewer’s impression of you. This doesn’t mean you have to look like attractive TV stars and models; what’s important is that you convey professionalism and here’s why:

Sociability Consultants deal with clients from different companies across various industries. In order for you to maintain the firm’s brand, you should practice good grooming and look neat.
Confidence Your choice of clothing affects how you project your confidence.  Remember, those who dress smart look smart.

Consulting Wear for Women

The majority of management consulting firms follow a conservative dress code. Below are some suggestions for consulting wear for women which fit the industry’s culture:

Suit and Blouse Select a black, dark brown, grey or navy blue suit. Your blouse should match your suit and shoes.
Shoes Wear conservative and comfortable high heels.
Jewelry Limit yourself to three basic pieces of jewelry. Don’t wear dangling earrings as they distract the interviewer.
Makeup Apply light makeup to conceal nervousness. Use lipstick and foundation that complement your complexion and wear neutral eye shadow. You may also want to tweeze any stray hairs on your browline.
Scent Dab on a little bit of sweet-smelling perfume, but if you’re not sure about the scent, don’t take the risk. You wouldn’t want to be remembered as the applicant with the strong smell.
Hairstyle Keep your hair away from your face. Use a bobby pin to fix your bangs, or if you have long hair, pull it back in a ponytail. A nice hairstyle should keep you from fiddling with it.
Nails Keep your nails clean and neatly filed. If you get a manicure, don’t choose colors that are too bright. Beige polishes are recommended.

Consulting Wear for Men

Men are not exempt from dressing appropriately during the consulting interview. Here are some suggestions for consulting wear for men:

Suit and undershirts Wear a solid colored suit, such as navy blue or black, and a white or light-colored collared shirt that matches the tie.
Shoes and socks Your shoes should be black, closed, and well-polished. Sandals are definitely not allowed. Wear dark socks to look more professional.
Jewelry A watch is appropriate, however, other accessories are discouraged.
Hairstyle Keep it clean and neat. You may use a matte styling product if necessary. Avoid coming to the interview with a trendy hairstyle.
Shave A clean-shaven face is pleasing to look at. An unkempt beard will make you look unprofessional. If you’re not comfortable with this, you can always grow it back once you’ve sealed the deal.

Don’t Wear Uncomfortable Clothes

When you are planning what to wear during the interview, think of the most important thing— comfort. If you go into the interview anxious about the length of your skirt or hairstyle, you won’t be able to focus on analyzing the business case and finding the right solutions. Your consulting wear should boost, not ruin, your candidacy.

Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Prepare

You should get sufficient rest the night before the interview, and wake up early to shower, dress, shave, and fix your hair so you’re not rushing to the interview. Leaving enough time for preparation will keep you calm, lessen your anxiety, and boost your confidence.

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