The way you dress in a job interview creates the potential employer’s first impression of you. Arrive looking professional, polished and confident, and you come across as a viable job-seeker. Walking into an interview dressed inappropriately, disheveled and looking like you don't care about your appearance says you probably won't care much about your job either. Face your paralegal interview by dressing to the nines, showcasing your professionalism and your business sense.
Wear a Suit
Not only is it important to wear a suit to your job interview, but the type of suit you pick is important, too. Don't go for anything that's formfitting, too tight, too short or too bold in color and pattern. Opt for a demure solid shade such as black, charcoal, navy or pinstripe. The suit should be comfortable to walk, stand and sit down in, and the suit skirt shouldn't go more than an inch or two above your knees. Pantsuits are an okay second to a dress suit, which is typically viewed as being the most appropriate type of clothing for a law office or courtroom environment.
It's not just the suit you wear, but what you wear under the suit that matters as well. Avoid sheer, shimmery or see-through fabrics, and opt for neutral colors such as cream, white or pale pastels. Pick a shell with a cleavage-concealing neckline or a collared blouse. Make sure there are no visible undergarment lines. Have a trusted friend or your hubby check you out from various angles to be sure. Pair the suit with sheer stockings and avoid fishnets, patterned tights or multicolored hosiery. Remember the serious nature of the law office and the image you’re trying to convey when you select your attire.
Pick a nice but not too high pair of closed-toe heels that complement your suit. Avoid strappy sandals, stilettos or scruffy shoes. Make sure you can walk in a confident and professional manner. Toppling over on a potential employer because your shoes don't fit is not the best way to make a good first impression. Keep in mind that clients who come into a law office and meet with you or the firm’s partners want to deal with someone who looks serious, professional and put together, not flashy or overly sexy. Reflect this in the way you dress for your interview.
Conservative is the way to go when you're dressing for a paralegal interview. Style your hair in a simple and conservative fashion. Select small, understated accessories and finish your ensemble with a professional attaché case or pocketbook. Use neutral-tone makeup products and leave behind multicolor long fingernails in favor of a short professional style, such as a French manicure. Paralegals do a lot of writing and paperwork, and you should look like you can take on the task without your fingernails getting in the way. Take an easy hand with the fragrances, too; no one wants to be stuck in a small conference room for hours on end with someone who smells like she just stepped out of a perfume factory.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.