Job Interview: Cross Dressing

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 - Job Application, Job Interview, Job Interview Techniques

Job Interview: Cross Dressing

successful business woman on a laptop

Claire asks: I’m a cross dresser, and am wondering what to wear for my first job interview? I’ve been cross dressing for a number of years now, making regular trips out for shopping, the cinema, etc. I haven’t confided in my close friends/family about my gender identity issues, but feel like I want take some further step. I recently started submitting my CV to various retail outlets and several hair salons looking for receptionists, never expecting to be asked for an interview, but a couple have responded asking me to attend! I want to be open from the start and explain to them that this is who I want to be, although I don’t pass as femme totally at present. I don’t want to attend looking ridiculous like some drag queen, but rather just an understated femme look, so they realise. The things is I’m really struggling for an outfit. I was thinking on just smart bootleg trousers, a two-in-one shirt with simple ballet flats. I’m just so nervous and desperately want the job, but don’t want to make it all about “Oh look I’m a cross-dresser!” What would you suggest re. an outfit, shoes and what type of make-up?

In answer:
What an interesting question to answer! If only more job interview and job search candidates would be themselves, and listen to learn – they could learn a lot from you.

Receptionists are the friendly welcoming face of the business, so you have to be both friendly, professional and wholly comfortable in yourself. They best easily engage in conversation, can pick up instantly on nuances in tone, are great administrators, and have the energy to do that consistently all day much like the energizer bunny!

Job Interview clothing

The rules of dressing for an interview are:

  1. If in doubt, go more formal over less
  2. Wear “comfortable and known” over new
  3. Think base colours and neutral tones over rainbow colours – unless you are an artiste
  4. If you need to colourise, do it in the accessories!
  5. Layout your proposed clothes at least 2days before the interview
  6. No distinct additional smells – ie: neutral shower gel, deodorant, make-up, etc.
  7. Gentlemen: shave or neatly trim facial hair; No after shave
  8. Ladies: no overt cleavage! No heavy perfume
  9. Polish thoroughly both your shoes and your teeth
  10. Always pack a mint or two: breath is as distinct as clothing

So, and in part accepting you “don’t pass as femme totally at present,” I would aim for something which melds the two parts of your self together in the dress sense, and makes the casual observer conclude:

  1. You are wholly smart and presentable in your style choice – a must for all job interviews!
  2. But the style could be male or female: now which is it?

To answer the second question, the answer will always be concluded in the cut of the cloth. Hence, as for all interviewee’s, go with the smart casual classics in neutral colours over formal lines – the later would define you as male or female. Think white blouse or large shirt, choose slacks over skirts, fitted jacket and a few colours touches in accessories. As for all women interviewee’s, keep the make-up to a minimum and again neutral – if you have to wear a perfume, keep it light.

I think you will find that once you get a job with a hair dressers, they will help you play with your style for the effect that both you and they want. Hair dressing saloons are infamous “dens” of style debate and testing – best place that a job search candidate should go if they don’t know what suits them.

Being yourself should always be your first choice as a job seeker, and I really wish you luck.

Good Luck!


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