I’m just back from a whirlwind two-day campus interview.
There is much anxiety around the campus visit, and rightfully so, as this two-day period can determine the next phase of one’s academic life. After polishing (and over-analyzing) the job talk and teaching lesson plan, what else is there to focus on but wardrobe? In all seriousness, the advice I’ve received over the years from trusted mentors adds up to: Be yourself, but be sure your work is what people remember most about you. For me, that has translated into more conservative clothing choices for campus visits than I would usually wear for teaching/advising. I’m comfortable with that. I see it as a conscious decision to let my work take center stage and let my quirky wardrobe be a pleasant surprise once I’ve gotten the job. This decision to veer toward more conservative clothing choices during interviews doesn’t preclude wearing a personal/sentimental piece. For example, I was given a brooch very similar to the one below as a gift some time ago, and have worn it during several interviews (and have always been glad to have something to remind me of my life outside the intensity of current moment):
During last week’s campus visit, this is what I wore:
Blazer:H&M Sweater: Anne Taylor LOFT
Shirt: Bought at Marshalls (Similar style here)
Pants: Banana Republic
Hair worn naturally curly, but loosely pulled back (outside of interviewing, would most often wear hair out)
Blazer:H&M Sweater: Gap Maternity (left over from pregnancy several years prior, but works because it’s quite stretchy/good for layering)
Skirt: Banana Republic
Shirt: Old Navy
Boots: Clarks (bought through Piperlime.com). I *strongly* recommend bringing a pair of flat or low-heeled boots if they’re appropriate for the weather, as even minimal heels/pumps can–and will–be incredibly painful after 10+ hours of speaking, meeting, eating, and generally impressing your hosts.
In both photos, I’m wearing minimal makeup. When teaching/working, I often wear no makeup, but for interviews, I feel more confident with foundation, eyeliner, and a colored lip gloss.
Also, I’m never without my beloved Henry Tomkins leather satchel, which has a very ‘lived-in’ look at this point and always gets lots of compliments:
How do you decide to present yourself during interviews? Do you fully express your personal style or hold back a bit until you receive the offer?