Style Guide for Job Search

Building a Professional Wardrobe (on a budget)

As you make your way through your teacher preparation program, you will start to spend more and more time in the school environment. It is important that you present yourself in a professional, appropriate manner and make a positive impression on those around you. The following are some things to keep in mind to take your wardrobe from “student” to “teacher”:

  • Buy only a few pieces each time you go shopping – this is much less stressful than waiting until the day before your first day of student teaching to buy all of your teacher-appropriate clothing.
  • Look for items that are versatile so that you can mix and match them with other things in your wardrobe to make new outfits.
  • Always make sure the clothing and accessories you purchase are comfortable and appropriate for the school setting.
  • Be aware of sales and sale seasons. It is possible to build a wardrobe on a budget. Keep an eye out for sale and/or clearance and plan to shop a few seasons ahead to get the most bang for your buck.
  • Use coupons. Always do a quick online search for sales and coupons before shopping.
  • Utilize online resources such as Pinterest to help you hone your personal style, and when in doubt, ask another well-respected teacher or educator for their advice or input.

Dressing for an Interview

You can’t control everything that happens during an interview, but you can control how you present yourself. Keep your appearance simple, clean, and professional to ensure that the first impression you make is a good one!


  • If you are unsure of what to wear, follow Barney Stinson’s advice and, “Suit up!” A skirt or pant suit is always a safe bet. Select one that fits you well and always make sure it is clean and pressed before your interview.
  • Dress shoes only – no tennis shoes, sandals, or loafers. High heels are acceptable, but no stilettos! Avoid anything open-toe or higher than 2-3 inches.
  • Be cautious of skirt lengths (nothing above the knee) and low-cut tops (no cleavage). If you are questioning the appropriateness of a garment, err on the conservative side.
  • Keep accessories to a minimum – this is not a time to show off your most outrageous jewelry. The goal is for the interviewers to be impressed by your personality, qualifications, and skills – don’t distract them with loud, distasteful, or distracting accessories.


  • Wear deodorant, but avoid fragrant perfumes or colognes.
  • Maintain facial hair or shave.
  • Keep makeup and hair simple and clean and pulled up and off the face if possible.


Interview Wardrobe Checklist for Men

Interview Wardrobe Checklist for Women