Why is it important to research your audience?

Researching company dress codes and industry standards helps to reveal the expectations of your audience. Good research will demonstrate that you are interested in joining that working culture, and above all will help you to exceed expectations.

There are three main points you should consider when doing research:

  1. Ensure you understand your target audience or employer
  2. Understand the greater industry-wide values and dress codes
  3. Demonstrate that you can pick appropriate clothing and exceed expectations

How do you research?

If it’s not stated directly, how do you find out what to wear? Here are some ideas:

Call the Human Resources department (if the organization has one). Simply say you have an interview/will be attending the job fair or information session and you wondered if they have any dress code in place at their organization. At least then you will know what the every day dress is like for your potential supervisors.

Ask at the Career Centre. Staff may be able to help you understand the level of formality, the industry standards etc.

Review some of the Career Centre resources. Our interview books such as “The Interview Kit” or “60 Seconds & You’re Hired!” have sections on dressing for interviews. In addition, job search guides give assistance with other types of employer contacts; check out “Ditch the Flip Flops” or “Leave the Nose Ring at Home”.

Use the Vault guide (accessible on CLN under the Resources tab). This electronic resource has industry information, career advice and message boards where professionals answer questions about their field.

Contact the professional association for your field; their website may have detailed career information or may have a contact that you can ask for assistance. The Career Centre has a directory of professional associations in the Career Library, our occupational binders also list some professional associations and you can use Google to locate them.

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