By Diane Hudson
As a member of one of the uniformed services, your closet is probably filled with some of the following: Army Green, Marine Green, Navy Blue, Air Force Blue, Mess Dress, Dress Blue, BDU, DBDU, MCCUU, or others -- ranging from the "daily work uniform" to the formal occasion uniform; and combat boots to dress shoes.
When you are ready to seek employment for your encore career -- after you retire or leave the military -- you will need an appropriate wardrobe for interviewing and for your new job.
You want to dress suitably for the type of position for which you are applying, the level, and also the culture of the company or agency. For example, a sport coat or blazer may be correct interview attire for a vocational position or very casual IT company, but a suit is probably the standard attire when interviewing for a management position in a bank or law firm.
Here is a general guide for dressing for interviews:
Grow your hair a little before the interview process, if possible. Do not wear facial hair during an interview.
The investment in interview attire will serve you well once you start your new job -- if you wear a suit on the job, you will probably need to purchase more outfits.
If you find out that your office will be casual, you can wear the good suits on important meeting days.
(Tip: If you work in an office that has casual Fridays, then always keep a suit jacket and tie in your office (for men) or jacket for women, to slip on in the event that an important meeting is set up at the last moment, or you find out visitors are arriving from another facility. It can be embarrassing if you are the only one in a high speed meeting, wearing a polo shirt and Dockers -- if everyone else is in a suit.)
A job interview is your chance to make a great first impression in person, to "close the sale" that lands you that new civilian job. Unfortunately (or not), uniforms are not specified or issued for civilian life, so these tips should help you transition smoothly to your new career.
Job-Hunt's Job Search Expert for Veterans, Diane Hudson is a military transition job-search strategist and career coach. She designs and composes military conversion resumes and helps position service members for employment in corporate or Federal America. Diane holds eight industry credentials including Certified Leadership & Talent Management Coach and Federal Job Search Trainer & Counselor and owns Career Marketing Techniques.