By Maddy Fudge, Mirce Bucio, Ashley Davis and Joey Nguyen
So you’ve never been to a career fair, your wardrobe has been the same since 10th grade, and you have no idea what to wear for your debut into the business world. If any of this rings true, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ll give you the business attire breakdown and have you looking like a career fair pro in no time.
- No denim.
Denim is appropriate for a night out on the town, but not when you are trying to make an impression on professionals. Nice slacks or a skirt is the right choice.
- Cover those shoulders.
A short-sleeve shirt, or tank top may seem more comfortable in such a high-stress situation, but it is just not appropriate. If layering a blouse with a blazer is too warm, simplify with a nice button up shirt instead.
- No midriffs showing.
This seems like a given, but it still has to be said. Yes, low-rise jeans are still prevalent in most women’s wardrobe, but that’s where they should stay for a career fair! And to address their counterpart- if your belly button shows when you raise your hand, your shirt ain’t cuttin it. Wear a shirt that is long enough, not only to make sure your midriff is protected from hiring eyes, but also to eliminate any worry when bending over.
- Closed-toe, simple, dress shoes.
Nobody wants to see your toes, sorry (even if you just got them done). Your shoes don’t need to be extravagant; plain black flats if you’re unsure. Heels are perfectly acceptable, but you definitely don’t need the heels to stand out. (If your feet won’t survive the day, forego the 6 inches).
- Add a pop of color with a blouse to stand out.
Colors are great, but too much color can be distracting. However, don’t be afraid to show your personality with a pretty yellow top- or a nice aqua button down. Even adding colorful earrings can be a good choice. Modest colors are the best career fair attire, but a little color may make a lasting impression, along with your stellar resume!
- Simple is chic.
You want to make an impression with your resume and skills, not with your clothing choices. Simple is classic and the best way to go. It may seem a little boring, but this is not a fashion show. You want them to remember you for your firm handshake and great communication skills, not your cheetah print blazer or neon yellow heels.
- Skirts below the knee.
To be considered professional, skirts should come past your knees while you are standing, and thighs should be covered while sitting.Do not wear a tight skirt. Choose one that fits your body type and style, but is still easy for moving, walking, or climbing stairs.
- Simple makeup, hairstyles, and accessories.
Hair should be clean and neat. Keep makeup conservative and natural looking. Wearing makeup is not a requirement, but you want to look your best. (Wear what makes you feel most confident). Nails should be clean and well groomed. Avoid excessively long nails and very bright colors. (You want to be remembered for your personality, not your lime green claws). Be modest when selecting your accessories. This isn’t the time to pull out any gold chains or gaudy belts. When in doubt, pearl or diamond studs for the lobes, and a conservative watch on the wrist.
- Beware the v-neck
Remember to keep your choices simple and lean toward conservative because it’s your first impression with prospective employers. Yu don’t need to pull out the turtleneck sweaters, but make sure your neckline is keeping you covered.
For gentlemen, there is only one appropriate attire for a career fair. You want to look your best when making a first impression, and a suit will do the job 100% of the time.* The suit can be navy blue, black or grey, but blue or black is preferable. (*See #1)
- Make sure your suit fits!
While wearing a suit can take your appearance to the next level, it can also do the opposite- if it’s not properly fitted. Your suit should be tailored to your body. An ill-fitting suit can give the appearance that you do not care about your image.
- Find a tie.
A tie is a very necessary part of a suit. It should be simple, and without any crazy designs. The color of the tie can vary, but should blend well with the color of your suit and shirt.
- No denim.
Denim is a casual piece of clothing that should not be worn during an interview or career fair. Denim is saved for the weekend, or for going out with friends.
- Match your shoes to your suit.
You want to be consistent in your professionalism- from head to toe. By having your shoes coordinate to match your suit, your appearance looks well thought out, and you look more stylish
- Don’t have messy or sloppy hair.
Wear an appropriate hairstyle, nothing crazy or obnoxious. When getting a haircut prior to a career fair/professional event/interview, it is best to go with something modest, simple, and definitely out of your face! For the actual styling of the hair, it’s best to have it combed to the side or back.
An employer will not pay attention to you if you’re wearing something else other than a suit so don’t wear anything else. Just keep it simple.
If you’ve made it to this point, then you should be sighing in relief, because “what-to-wear” is one less thing for you to stress about on career fair day. Use these do’s and dont’s to look your best, and in turn, feel your best as you enter the realm of business networking. And of course, don’t forget to wear a smile!
Still feeling unsure? Try out your new wardrobe at the upcoming H/IMA Career Fair, and really put our tips and tricks to the test. For more details and to sign up, CLICK HERE!