Basics for Everyone


Ensure you have a well-groomed hairstyle. Do not over apply hair products such as gel, and avoid unusual styles and colours. Ensure that overall your hair is neat, clean and away from your face.

Deodorant, Anti-Perspirant

Ensure that you take a shower and wear deodorant or antiperspirant.

Perfume, Cologne, & Body Spray

Many workplaces are implementing scent-free policies to ensure a comfortable work environment for everyone. It is best to avoid wearing cologne, perfume, or body spray fragrances for the following reasons:

  • the people you are meeting with may have allergies/sensitivities to fragrances
  • you don’t know how big or ventilated the space is where you will be meeting
  • if you wear a scent frequently you may have become accustomed to it and not notice its strength

People may not be able to tolerate your company for very long regardless of how great you are; after you leave they may recall the scent of your perfume instead of your skills and charm. If you still choose to wear a scent, do so sparingly and ask for honest feedback on its strength before you leave the house.


Don’t smoke prior to your interview or event. Tobacco odours linger in your clothing and hair, as well as on your skin.


Make sure you have fresh breath. Do not chew gum. If you choose gum to freshen your breath get rid of it before you enter the building or meet anyone.

Tattoos, Piercings

If the workplace is conservative, ensure that you have no visible body art, and avoid visible piercings, including tongue rings and multiple piercings on the ears. If you must leave rings in, choose tiny un-obtrusive studs, and try to wear as few as possible. For women who wear earrings, avoid dangling or oversized earrings and stick to something small and discrete.

Check out Leave Your Nose Ring at Home by Joe Swinger located in the Career Centre library to read more about piercings.

Cell Phone

Pretend that it doesn’t exist. Turn off your cell phone or place it on silent (not on vibrate) before you arrive at your event or interview. Do not place the cell phone on the table as though you are expecting a call, and do not take it out of your pocket or bag to check it. Give the other person your undivided attention. Leaving your phone in your pants pocket may cause it to fall out when you sit, so you may want to leave it in your bag or in your inner jacket pocket instead.

Bags, Padfolios, & Purses

Depending on the situation, you may find that you need a place to store things that you bring with you to the interview, the meeting or event. Regardless of the event, do your best to avoid bringing a backpack; leave it in a locker or with a friend.

For both men and women, a structured bag will make a better impression than one that is wrinkled. Aim for a professional padfolio, or professional-looking tote bag such as a nice laptop bag.

For women, if you have a purse, keep it small. The purse should be large enough to hold 8.5" x 11" papers and other items, but not much larger than that. The bag should not be too colourful, flashy or intricate. Stay away from bags that are woven, knit or straw as they convey a more casual feel. Appropriate materials include leather, or fake leather, or a finely woven fabric such as microfiber.

Umbrella and Outerwear

Check the weather and be prepared. It would be disheartening to spend so much time preparing for your meeting, only to show up in a soggy suit because you forgot an umbrella! Don’t take chances with interviews and opportunities that are important to you.

You may wish to wear a coat or jacket of some sort if it’s cold or raining outside. In this case, pick a jacket that is clean and in good shape. Generally, there will be somewhere to hang it up or you can lay it over the back of a chair.

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