Clothes, not the grade, make the student

Being interviewed for a potential job is stressful enough, and worrying about what to wear adds to the pressure.

But the old saying holds true: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

“We would never base a hiring decision on what the candidate is wearing, but first impressions are very important,” said AAA Human Resources director, Shannon Groendyke.

Contrary to popular belief, you should always dress your best, regardless of what type of job you are interviewing for.

As if you weren’t worried enough, you now have to worry about facing the fashion police.

But fret not – the CDC has compiled some fashion tips to help you during that make-it-or-break-it moment.

*For women

First of all, be clean and collected. Having bad breath or dirty nails can be an immediate failure. Don’t wear too much make-up, jewelry or perfume.

And don’t come to your interview disheveled and in a hurry. You will seem more capable if you’re cool and together.

Women interviewees should always wear a quality, well-fitted pant or skirt suit.

If you choose a skirt suit, be wary of the length. A skirt that is too short may be considered offensive to some employers. Below the knees is probably your safest bet.

A button-up shirt with a collar is also a good choice, and it should complement your suit.

Black, charcoal, navy, gray, beige and brown colors are preferred. The shirt, as well as the suit, must be clean and well pressed.

Your shoes should always be closed toed and well-polished. Steer clear of trendy shoes – the classic look is the safest option. If you choose to wear heels, they should be no larger than two inches. You don’t want to put literal use to the term “break a leg.”

For cooler days, a turtleneck or light sweater is acceptable. Also, dressy boots can be worn to accent the outfit.

Remember: Be professional, not fashionable.

*For men

Yes, guys, you have to be clean too. And watch out: Don’t overdo that cologne!

Don’t use too much gel either. It’s not as professional as simply, clean, well-groomed hair.

Men should always wear a good quality, tailored suit, freshly cleaned and pressed.

Dark or neutral colors are recommended; preferably black, charcoal, gray, beige, navy or brown.

The suit should always be complemented with a tie and button-up shirt with a collar.

Your shoes should always be polished and in good condition.

Money-saving tip: Spice up your look by mixing and matching shirts with ties in contrasting colors. You’ll look fresh every time you come to work.

Overall, your credentials are of highest importance. But what you wear can be the difference between making the cut and having to press your suit again for another interview.

Look professional, but don’t overdo it. Simple, classic and sophisticated are your best bets.

Good luck.