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Jay-Z, Puffy and 50 Cent Fans: Hip-Hop Dress Code a No-No on the Job Hunt

Jay-Z, Lil’ Wayne and 50 Cent fans take note, although there are hip-hop CEOs who have parlayed the rap game into lucrative clothing lines, recording labels, books and corporate sponsorships, that doesn’t mean that you can dress like them when you’re looking for a job.

Hip-hop loyalists should learn the difference between the style of a hip hop CEO, and the traditional interview suit — and fast. When you’re looking for a job, keep your hip-hop fashion sense at home.

Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam, stresses that professionalism, no matter the style trend or the prospective employer’s relaxed office environment, is key to landing that job.

Last year, OfficeTeam, one of the top staffing services for administrative professionals in the nation, commissioned an independent research firm to conduct a survey of interview attire. The researchers interviewed 670 human resources professionals at companies with 20 or more employees in the United States and Canada. The purpose was to uncover the worst interview attire that the HR professionals had witnessed, and researchers found that some job candidates wore “jeans with suspenders,” “bandanna and torn jeans,” “a basketball jersey” and “baseball cap.”

Hosking explains that it’s easy to have a wardrobe malfunction when it’s your first job interview, but, “ultimately, you want to project professionalism and confidence, and ensure your outfit isn’t distracting or causing employers to question your judgment.”

Job candidates should always dress to impress when meeting with employers, but times are tough with 1 out of every 10 men of working age unemployed.

Some men want the job, but can’t afford the suit, and that’s where Project Pinstripe steps in. Project Pinstripe provides gently used designer suits to 400 high school and college-age men. Each year, the organization hosts events to outfit young male adults and teach job interview techniques. Partner organizations select candidates to receive suits, and to be interviewed for their first job or professional internship.

And George Zimmer, founder and CEO of the Men’s Wearhouse held a national suit drive to boost the effort. “The economic downturn has disproportionately hurt the male workforce,” Zimmer states. “By collecting and donating professional clothing, Men’s Wearhouse aims to help men ‘suit up’ for job interviews and offset the ‘mancession.’ ”

Trading khakis and tees for a suit and tie is unfathomable for some young men who desire to keep it real, but know thi s— sometimes, the biggest names in hip-hop don a nice suit. During business transactions or galas, even hip-hop godfather Russell SImmons has been known to relax his signature baseball cap.

In other words, know when to keep it real, and when to dress the part.

Jay-Z, 50 Cent and Puffy will not revoke your hip-hop loyalty cred if you suit up to get your job hustle on.