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What Should I Wear?

If I was to rank the questions I get concerning the Emergency Management field, invariably, the number one questions is some variable of “How do I get hired as an emergency manager? While there is no “one size fits all” response to this question, there are suggestions that I can make to help. One of them is dressing for success. There is hard data on this and if followed, will increase your chances of being hired.

As soon as you get a date for the interview, begin thinking about your attire. This is not something that you want to throw together last minute. Plan ahead and you can help shift the odds in your favor. Do a little research and see what the clothing looks like where you are interviewing. Make sure you are viewing others from the same level you are aiming for. If they are wearing suits and ties, you had better show up in a tie. A friend of mine recently went for an interview at a rural county and he considered dressing down for the interview, but last minute decided to wear a coat and tie. It turned out, his decision to do this paid off. He received the position and his new boss told him that he was so impressed with his interview wear, he couldn't help but give him the position.

Stay away distracting colors. According to research put together by CareerBuilder, definitely stay clear of Orange. This color is considered the most unprofessional one out there. I always suggest white or blue shirts with a dark suit and tie. While you want to stand out in your interview, you want it to be because of your attributes, not your outfit.

Dress for the job you want, not the one you are applying to. In today's casual office dress code, dressing up can have a big effect. You do not want to out-dress those you are interviewing you, but despite what you learned in your research, take your dress up a level or two. Follow the "plus one" rule for company dress. If most people in the office wear button-up shirts, you might want to put on a blazer. If most people wear blazers, you might want to wear a suit. And so on.[1]

There is a lot of work that goes into getting your dream emergency manager position? Deciding to dress for success is a good first step.


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