For more decades than I can count on both hands, women have struggled in the workforce. From getting ready for a job interview to securing a job, there are a lot of things that a woman has to think about because society has drilled them so far into our heads. There is a special rule book for women who are entering the workforce that is not talked about enough. And as a young woman, fresh out of college, and in the job market, I have some insight on just how many things we have to think about for an interview and a future in a workplace.

Woman searching for jobs on phone
Woman searching for jobs on phone

To start off a good, old fashioned job hunt, you have to make sure that you are qualified. And I mean extremely qualified. Back in 2014, Harvard Business Review wrote an article titled “Why Women Don’t Apply for Jobs Unless They’re 100% Qualified.” And to sum up the article in my point of view, one of the biggest reasons why women don’t apply to jobs unless they are certain they will thrive is because of gender insecurities.

Now, you might be thinking “Well, that’s not something they have to worry about now because the world is opening up to female empowerment and equality.” And sure, that may be true…now. However, even if the world is constantly changing and more and more employers are opening up to equality in the workforce, there are still occupations that women are severely outnumbered by men. As an example, being a software developer is predominantly a male career. Only 19.1 percent of software developers are women according to an article by Denise Dayton with Chron.com. In career paths that involve law or science, we are still seeing less than 50% of women in the field to this day.

So, when women are looking for jobs, they really tend to focus on making sure they are 100% qualified in that field. If they don’t match one qualification—despite if they are fast learners, they know that it would be useless even going for it. They truly don’t want to waste the time and the energy of themselves and the company they are applying for.

The Interview

Woman looking over resume while preparing for job interview
Woman looking over resume while preparing for job interview

You applied and you got an interview! Now what? Well, a big thing that women have to think about when it comes to a job is her appearance. Depending on the job, clothing can vary. However, most of the time, women are meant to look as professional and formal as can be. That means slacks, button-down shirts or a very nice blouse, heels, a blazer, a business appropriate dress, etc…

Colors to wear

The latest article on Indeed.com gives you all the details on what you should and shouldn’t wear for a job interview as a woman. They say that not only should you take into consideration the type of clothing you are wearing, but the colors as well. They say that women should think about wearing darker colors because it will help you blend in. Darker colors are also seen as professional, which is true. It’s almost like this unspoken rule that you shouldn’t put on your bright pink power suit as much as you might want to.

Dresses

Another key point that Indeed makes is the rules for wearing a dress. If you do decide to wear a dress for a job interview, make sure that you are covered. The dress needs to have sleeves and it should make a statement, but not in a messy/colorful way. The dress should be darker. You should also look into investing in a couple stockings. There’s no way you could walk into an interview with your bare legs showing. They even request wearing a blazer with your dress for “additional coverage.” Speaking of coverage, make sure that you aren’t wearing anything low-cut or revealing.

Now that the chaos of finding an outfit is sort of worked out, as a woman, you need to think about accessories, makeup, hair, and even your perfume. A huge no, no when going into a job interview is having a bag that takes away from your professional, business look. When you are selecting which purse you should bring, you need to make sure that it is sleek and dark. And you should pay close attention to your bag matching your shoes. It also needs to be big enough to fit a copy of your resume, portfolio and other documents without crinkling the paper.

Accessories

Alongside that, you have to make sure that your scent isn’t overpowering. Indeed recommends keeping your scent to a minimum. And talking about overpowering, make sure that your makeup is neutral. You want to appear clean and professional, so you’ll need to avoid any bright and bold looks. It’s even requested to avoid wearing a heavy coat of foundation because it will take the attention away from the important matters at hand. And just like your perfume and makeup, your accessories should be kept to a minimum as well. Don’t wear anything that will take the attention away from your outfit, especially since you spent all that time trying to put it together.

After doing all of these things, you should be ready to crush your job interview and secure the job you’ve dreamed of. Yes, there are a lot of factors that come into play when a woman is searching for a job. They are constantly thinking, “Am I qualified enough?” “Does my hair look okay?” “Is this outfit too revealing?” And yes, there should be a light shed on these situations that women find themselves in because, truthfully, it isn’t talked about enough.

Times are changing and I am grateful to be in a generation where I get to see those changes happening around me every day. But the painful truth of the matter is that women still have to take so many things into consideration to just get a job interview. One thing that I can say to help the movement toward equality is to continue recognizing the fact that women are facing these issues and voice it. That’s all that we can do for now.

What are your thoughts about the things women have to think about when going into the workforce? Let us know down below!

This article originally published on GREY Journal.