Dressing for Success at a Career Fair

How you choose to dress for a professional career fair can have a substantial impact on an employer’s impression of you. Often employers form lasting opinions of candidates within the first 30 seconds of meeting. How you present yourself is as important as how you answer questions.

Put your best foot forward by dressing professionally. Remember that professional attire does not just mean dressed up. Do not wear what you would wear to a club or a formal social event. Different employers have different expectations for professional attire. It is better to dress more professionally than to be too casual.

General Tips

  • When in doubt, dress conservatively
  • Stick with solid colors and tighter-woven fabrics or simple patterns
  • Make sure your outfit is wrinkle-free
  • Check your outfit for missing buttons, lint, or store tags
  • Be sure your hair is neatly trimmed or groomed
  • Avoid too many accessories, visible tattoos, and piercings
  • Avoid overwhelming scents like perfume and cigarette smoke
  • Be prepared with a padfolio, pen, and extra copies of your resume

Tips for Men:

  • Choose a business suit in a conservative color such as navy blue, gray or black
  • If you do not have a suit, wear dark slacks with a light shirt, white undershirt, and a tie
  • Select a tie with a simple pattern
  • Wear socks that cover your leg and are at least as dark as your pants
  • Shine your shoes and wear a matching leather belt

Tips for Women:

  • Avoid short skirts and tight-fitting shirts or pants
  • If you do not have a suit, a dark skirt or slacks paired with a blouse is acceptable
  • A skirt should be no shorter than the tips of your middle fingers or just above the knee
  • Keep it simple: modest jewelry, light make-up, light or no cologne, and basic pumps
  • Wear nice, polished shoes and avoid stilettos

Professional Attire Examples: